What Is Average Resolution Time?

Curious about average time to resolution (ATR)? Here's everything you need to know about this crucial metric, plus tips on improving it.
Published on: Oct 27, 2022
Last updated: Aug 22, 2023

TL: DR

  • Excellent customer support relies on tracking important metrics like Average Resolution Time (ART), which measures how long it takes to resolve a support ticket.
  • ART is a valuable indicator of customer support efficiency and can highlight potential issues like understaffing or ineffective processes.
  • To calculate ART, divide the total time spent on resolved conversations by the total number of conversations.
  • A good ART is around 5 minutes, but the ideal time can vary based on the industry and company size.
  • It is essential to continually track ART to ensure timely responses to customer inquiries and improve customer satisfaction.
  • While ART is crucial, it should be considered alongside other customer support metrics to gain a comprehensive understanding of team performance.
  • ART is distinct from First Response Time (FRT), which measures how quickly a support team responds to incoming tickets.
  • By investing in technology, minimizing response time, creating self-service options, prioritizing tickets, training agents, and utilizing automation, teams can improve ART and provide faster resolutions to customers.

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Excellent customer support is critical for any business, but knowing how to measure it can be tricky. One important metric to track is average resolution time, which is the amount of time it takes for a support agent to resolve a support ticket. Tracking average resolution time is a helpful way to gauge the effectiveness of your customer support team and identify areas where they could improve.

In this blog post, we'll explore: 

  • What average resolution time is
  • How to calculate it
  • A free Excel template you can use to make the calculation easy
  • Why ART is important and
  • Ways to improve average ticket resolution time

Average ticket resolution time (ART)

Average resolution time (ART) is the average amount of time it takes for customer support to resolve a ticket. This metric is important because it shows you how efficiently your team resolves customer issues. A high ART can indicate several problems, such as understaffing, lack of training, or ineffective processes. Conversely, a low ART can mean that your team is highly effective and efficient.

While this metric is often applied to phone calls, it can also be applied to other support channels, such as live chat. With more than 41% of consumers preferring live chat support, knowing your team's ART is more crucial than ever.

How is average resolution time measured?

You can calculate average resolution time manually with a simple formula, which we'll go into more detail above below. Conversely, helpdesk software like Zendesk, Intercom, etc. track this metric by default, making it easy for you to keep an eye on how you're doing.

How to calculate average resolution time?

formula to calculate average resolution time

To calculate your team's average resolution time, you'll want to use the following formula:

Average Resolution Time (ART) = Total resolution time/ total number of customer conversations

To break it down further, in order to calculate your average resolution time, you'll need to take the amount of time spent on all resolved customer conversations and divide it by the total number of customer conversations. This will give you your team's average resolution time.

For example, if you chatted with a total of 10 customers and solved all tickets in 17 minutes (in total), the average resolution time across all tickets would be 17 divided by 10, so 7 minutes.

It's important to note that this metric should only be calculated for resolved conversations. In other words, if a conversation is still ongoing, it shouldn't be included in the calculation. This ensures that the metric is accurate and reflective of your team's performance. Once you have your team's average resolution time, you can start to look at ways to improve it.

Calculate average ticket resolution time in Excel (free template)

average resolution time template

Want an easier way to calculate it? We've prepared an excel sheet for you to make the process simpler. 

What is a good average resolution time?

What constitutes a good average resolution time will, of course, be affected by what industry you operate in, the complexity of your product and how big you company is. In general though, a good average resolution time is around 5 minutes and that's what companies should be aiming to achieve.

Here is a breakdown of median average resolution times by industry: 

  • Delivery: 4.45 minutes AHT
  • Marketplace: 7.5 minutes AHT
  • Retail: 6.25 minutes AHT
  • Services: 8.7 minutes AHT

How often should you measure average resolution time?

You should track average resolution time continually to make sure you're answering customer inquires in a timely manner. There are also many different ways you can track average resolution time: 

  • You can track ART by agent
  • You can track ART by support channel
  • You can track ART by support level
  • You can track ART by geographic region
  • You can track ART by product

This isn't an exhaustive list. If there are

Why is average resolution time an important metric?

Average resolution time is an important metric to measure and improve upon, especially as it can impact CSAT scores. ART is a good indicator of customer satisfaction. If customers have to wait a long time for their issue to be resolved, they're likely to be unhappy with the experience and churn. On the other hand, if issues are resolved quickly, customers are more likely to be satisfied.

The limits of average resolution time

While average resolution time is an excellent metric to track the efficiency of your customer support team, it's essential to keep in mind that it has its limitations. One of the main limitations of this metric is that it only takes into account the time it takes to resolve a customer support ticket, not how satisfied the customer was with the support or the number of resources that went into solving the issue. Plus, it's only one of several important customer support metrics that your team should be regularly tracking.

Average resolution time (ART) vs. first response time (FRT)

Average resolution time and first response time are sometimes mistaken for each other, but they are different metrics. Here's a breakdown of the differences and similarities: 

  • ART and FRT are both essential customer support metrics
  • While ART measures how long it takes your customer support team to resolve a support ticket on average, FRT is a measure of how fast your customer support team responds to tickets when they come in
  • FRT sets customer expectations for responsiveness, while ART evaluates the support team's performance and identifies areas for improvement.
  • While FRT is measured in minutes and hours, ART is measured in hours and days
  • If ART and FRT are high, it indicates that you may need to improve your workflows, hire additional support agents, or invest in better software
  • If ART and FRT are low, it indicates that your support team is efficiently handling customer inquiries, but doesn't tell you much about the quality of support your customers are receiving
  • A high ART or FRT can cause customers to become frustrated and churn

By using both metrics together, you'll have a better picture of how your support team is doing overall because a good first response time does not always equal a good average resolution time and vice versa.

11 ways to improve average time to resolution

Here are 11 ways to decrease average ticket resolution time:

  • Invest in the right technology
  • Minimize response time
  • Create self-service options
  • Prioritize your tickets
  • Efficiently train agents
  • Keep customers engaged
  • Encourage soft skills
  • Regularly monitor calls
  • Review agent performance
  • Use automation to speed up processes
  • Utilize data to find weak spots

Invest in the right technology

One of the best ways to improve your average time to resolution is to invest in the right customer support technology, such as software for ticketing, cobrowsing, and session replays. We've already covered all the different kinds of customer support software and the best examples in each category before, so check those articles out. 

For example, with session replay technology, agents can review a user's latest sessions in their product when a user reaches out with an issue to quickly identify bugs and errors and understand the issue without asking the user to explain, which can sometimes make them even more frustrated. They can even use console log software to discover what went wrong technically on the end-user's side. 

Then, once they have an overview of the problem, they can quickly initiate a call with the user right within their app without having to leave and start a Zoom call, for example. They can gain control of a user's screen to show them how to do something or do it themselves to solve the issue lightning-fast. This truly is one of the most effective ways to reduce average resolution time because it avoids the back-and-forth typically present in customer support interactions. 

Minimize response time

Another key to reducing the average time to resolution is to minimize response time. In other words, you should answer customer queries as quickly as possible. By ensuring you have enough staff to answer customer queries in a timely manner, you can avoid long wait times and keep average time to resolution low.

Create self-service options

A great way to reduce average time to resolution is to allow customers to resolve their own issues without having to contact support. This can be done by providing a robust knowledge base, FAQ section, or community forum on your website or within your product. That way, customers can quickly find answers to their questions without waiting for a support agent to get back to them. Or your support agents can send them help articles immediately after they reach out to help resolve the issue quicker.

Prioritize your tickets

When trying to reduce the average time to resolution, it's crucial to prioritize your tickets. By prioritizing your tickets and addressing the most critical ones first, you can avoid long wait times for customers with more pressing issues. It's also important here to have an effective and sensible ticket escalation strategy in place.

Train agents better

If you want your agents to be able to resolve issues quickly, it's important to train them efficiently. That way, they'll be knowledgeable about your product and the most common issues customers experience.

Keep customers engaged

Ensuring customers are engaged during the customer support process is key to reducing the average time to resolution. After all, if customers are disengaged, they're less likely to cooperate and provide the information needed to resolve their issues quickly.

Encourage soft skills

In addition to product training, it's also important to encourage agents to develop soft skills, such as active listening and empathy. These skills can go a long way in making customers feel heard and understood, which can make them more cooperative and willing to provide the information needed to resolve their issues quickly.

Regularly monitor calls

It's important to regularly monitor calls to ensure agents are following best practices and resolving issues in a timely manner. This can help you identify any areas where agents may need additional training or coaching. With a software like Fullview, you can set agent-customer calls to auto-record for review later.

Review agent performance

Individual agent performance should be reviewed on a regular basis to ensure they are meeting targets and resolving issues in a timely manner. This will help isolate any agents who may be struggling and need additional support.

Use automation to speed up processes

By using automation, you can speed up processes and free up time for agents to focus on more important tasks. This can help reduce the average time to resolution by making it easier for agents to resolve issues quickly. However, remember to only use automation sparingly, as customers prefer speaking to humans

Utilize data to find weak spots

Data can be beneficial in identifying weak spots in your customer support process. By analyzing data, you can identify areas where customers are getting stuck and find ways to improve the process. This can help reduce the average time to resolution by making it easier for customers to get the help they need.

Wrapping things up

Tracking Average Resolution Time (ART) is an essential practice for any business seeking to deliver excellent customer support. This metric provides valuable insights into the efficiency and effectiveness of the support team in resolving customer inquiries and issues. A low ART indicates that the team is responsive and capable of addressing customer concerns promptly, leading to higher customer satisfaction and loyalty.

However, it is crucial to consider ART in conjunction with other customer support metrics to gain a comprehensive view of the team's performance. While ART is a powerful indicator, it should be supplemented with customer feedback and overall satisfaction ratings to ensure a holistic understanding of the support experience.

By implementing the strategies outlined and leveraging the right technology, businesses can optimize their ART, reduce resolution times, and deliver exceptional customer support, fostering stronger relationships with their customer base. Ultimately, providing swift and effective resolutions will enhance customer trust, bolster brand reputation, and drive business growth in today's competitive market landscape.

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