Average Resolution Time: All You Have to Know

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There are many call center metrics to track if you want to boost your call center performance and provide more qualitative, customer service, and customer experiences. Some of such metrics are related to the performance of one single agent while others are more general, and show the performance of the entire department.

We have already talked about many call-center metrics that are vital for improving your call center efficiency. Still, the metric we will discuss now is one of the most important ones, and ignoring it may cause only negative consequences. This metric is called average resolution time and now we are going to explain why focusing on this metric can be a game changer for your business.

What is the average resolution time rate?

First of all, let’s agree that the name of this metric Ideally explains its nature and meaning. As you could already guess, average resolution time is the time spent on resolving customer issues. The important thing is that you must understand from which exact moment we start measuring average resolution time. This moment is the moment of the registration of the support ticket in your customer support department, and the end of the average resolution time is the moment When this support ticket is marked as resolved.

Thus, the average resolution time rate doesn’t cover the moment when the issue was noticed by the customer, as well as it doesn’t cover the period of time when the customer was trying to reach your customer service department.

Like any other call center metric, the average resolution time rate has its own formula. It works in the following way:

Average Resolution Time Rate = (Overall time spent on resolving customer issues per specific period of time/overall number of customer issues for a specific period of time)

Is there any industry standard for average resolution time?

As it is with most metrics, there are no industry standards that will suit every single business. Each business has its specifics and some niches face more complex issues to resolve from their customers, we can’t say that X minutes is a great average resolution time for any industry, or for any business. The generally accepted approach is to state that six minutes is a good average resolution time for most industries, including e-commerce, financial services, delivery services, and so on.

Average Resolution Time rate vs First Response Time rate

It is a very popular problem with most call center metrics - some inexperienced call center managers just confuse different customer service metrics with each other. This problem relates to the average resolution time rate too - some confuse it with the first response time rate.

As you already know that average resolution time rate shows how much time to resolve a customer issue you need, first response time rate shows how much time is spent answering the first message received from the customer.

For the First Response Time rate, its formula is:

First Response Time rate = (Total duration of first response time per selected period of time/Total number of resolved customer support tickets per selected period of time)

If we talk about the first response time rate industry standard, it is around 15 seconds for live chats or messengers and around 2 hours for emails. For phone calls, it is also around 15-20 seconds.

Both of these metrics measure the effectiveness of your call center agents, but the average resolution time rate is more about the overall performance of your customer support department and it points to the work of all departments and specialists involved in customer service issue resolution - from call center agents to your IT or technical support department.

First response time rate points to the quality of optimization of your inbound call center work, and it can show problems with call queue management, scheduling, a lack of staff, wrong approach to dealing with peak hours.

Average Resolution Time rate vs First Call Resolution rate

Another metric to confuse with the average resolution time rate is the first call resolution rate, sometimes called the first contact resolution rate.

The first call resolution rate doesn’t directly point to the “time to resolution”, but indirectly it also indicates the time spent on issue resolution. This metric shows how many customer support requests are solved during first contact with your customer service representatives, no matter is it a phone call or chat conversation. There is a generally accepted industry standard for first call resolution rate - at least 75% for industries that face more complex issues, especially B2B and financial services or real estate businesses, and up to 85% for e-commerce and other B2C businesses.

First call resolution rate has its own formula:

First call resolution rate (FCR) = (Overall number of customer issues resolved during first contact per selected period of time/ Total number of customer issues per selected period of time)

This metric is one of the most important metrics in customer service because it is one of four significant components of customer experience, where three other ones are customer satisfaction, net promoter score, and customer effort. Nonetheless, this is also why the average resolution time rate is also an irreplaceable customer service metric - it is great to resolve each issue during one customer interaction with the company, but what if it still takes too much customer time? No one would like to be put on hold for half an hour - even if this guarantees that the issue is resolved.

Average Resolution Time rate vs Mean Ticket Resolution Time (MTTR)

Surprisingly, there is also another metric that is less often used, but still popular among some experts. You can easily find mentions of this metric - it is called Mean Ticket Resolution Time (MTTR), and here a question appears - is this metric different from Average Resolution Time Rate? A short answer: no, it isn’t. This is just another name for average resolution time, and it is truly difficult to find the roots of this term. Nonetheless, it doesn’t matter what kind of name you use for this metric - the goal is to measure and improve it, not to find better namings.

How to improve your average resolution time score?

Now when we are already done with definitions, it is time to answer the most important question - how to improve your average resolution times and boost the quality of your customer service?

First of all, you have to understand one important thing - there were people who focused hard on decreasing their average resolution times, and this caused unexpected consequences (to be honest, they were obvious to predict) - the quality of customer service and the level of customer satisfaction fell down dramatically. Why? Well, when managers said to agents “Do your best to close the support ticket as fast as possible”, agents lost their attention to details in hurry. What can be worse for a customer - noticing an issue with the product, or asking for support and getting poor service? When you push people to do things faster but not better, people start to do things worse than they were before. This is why your main goal in improving issue resolution time is not to reduce it to as low as possible - your goal is to find a balance, where customers will get quality service quicker.

So, after this short lyrical digression, we can discuss the main tips for improving your average resolution time.

Average resolution time improvement: key tips and tricks

Reduce Average Waiting Time

Even though it doesn’t relate to working with customer issues directly, we are talking about time - and this is why we have mentioned this vital customer service metric. Average Waiting Time is a metric that indicates how much time customers have to wait before connecting with an agent - this time includes interacting with the IVR system and waiting in a call queue. Thus, this metric is sometimes referred to as “Average Time in a Queue”, but this isn’t the most important thing about it.

In short, the less Average Waiting Time you have in your call center, the better it influences customer satisfaction and customer experience as well. Customers don’t want to wait, and even though this time isn’t included in the issue resolution time, it harms the issue resolution from another point of view - customers who wait for too long aren’t engaged enough, or can even become angry and agents will spend a lot of time on dealing with conflicts, not on solving the issues themselves.

Offer self-service options

Some customer issues are too common or even elementary, so they don’t even need agent engagement to be resolved. Nonetheless, without other options to get help, customers will keep calling your contact center to get answers, and this will cause higher call volume as well as lower agent satisfaction and motivation to work better. But what if you have a few customer self-service channels, such as an IVR system or chatbot?

Such simple questions, as “What are the available payment methods?” or “How to complete registration?” can be easily resolved via IVR software or during interaction with a chatbot. Moreover, studies prove that people are more likely to interact with self-service channels than try to reach out to human agents.

Invest in intelligent call routing

The most vital thing about fast issue resolution is your ability to connect a skillful and relevant specialist with a customer, so you can be sure that the issue will be solved without any buts. But how to automate this process and always connect clients to the most appropriate agents? This is the moment when technologies join the chat.

Intelligent call routing is the system that connects inbound callers with agents using different algorithms and methods of routing - it can be either a simple algorithm, like a cycle where all agents are chosen in order or a complex algorithm, called skills-based routing, which chooses agents based on their skills sets and experience. Thus, your customers will always be linked to agents that are experienced and skillful enough to deal with customer problems, and this is maybe the most effective way to improve the average resolution time in your contact center.

Train your agents

Who is the person who is responsible for the quality and the whole process of problem resolution? Surely, call center agents who open a ticket and handle issues on their own or involve responsible departments to solve the problem. Anyhow, all the communication with customers is the main agent’s responsibility. So, agents have to not only know your product, SLA, and industry as well but have strong soft skills, such as active listening, adaptability, stress tolerance, small-talk skills, empathy, and so on. There are a few people who are born with all of these skills, but it is absolutely essential to help agents to gain these skills.

There are numerous training methods that can help agents show better performance, and gain new skills, learn how to deal with difficult situations and difficult customers, and so on. Here is a list of some of them: one-to-one training sessions, stress situation simulation, mentorship by more experienced agents, coaching, and so on. You have to shuffle different training approaches to achieve the best results, but also you have to gather agent feedback and be ready that it can sometimes be negative.

Create a reward system for staff

When you are going to push your agents to perform better, it is important to understand that this is additional pressure. Any additional pressure is a factor that harms motivation, agent satisfaction, and other aspects of work that can cause problems with performance. To keep agents engaged and highly motivated, you can create a reward system that will work in the following way: when agents achieve some pre-set KPIs (Key performance indicators), they achieve a reward, and there are a few levels of rewards and performance indicators. Therefore, agents will understand that if they work a bit harder and focus on some specific areas of work, they will achieve rewards. These rewards may be absolutely different: from classic money rewards to free courses, gym season tickets, coupons and discounts from partners, and so on.


As you can see, average resolution time is one of the most important call center metrics as it directly points to the quality of your customer service, influences customer experience, shows the skills of your staff, and cooperation between your team members. This metric is often confused with First Response Time (FRT), and First Contact Resolution (FCR), and it also has another name, Mean Ticket Resolution Time (MTTR). This metric is calculated by using a specific formula that is described above. If you want to improve your average resolution time rate, you have to train your agents and create a reward system for your agents, but the main thing that will boost your average resolution time is technology, including intelligent call routing and self-service channels.

Such technology that includes these and many more features is called VoIPTime Contact Center. It is the all-in-one solution that gathers features for handling incoming and outgoing calls, optimizing call center operations, providing multichannel communications, integrating third-party software like CRM systems, managing the workforce, and offering many more features.

For your average time resolution improvement, it can offer the following options:

An intelligent call routing system with automatic call distribution (ACD) tool and different call routing modes;

Different self-service options, including advanced IVR system, chatbot, and live chat integrations;

Real-time reporting with deep insights into all call center operations;

Call monitoring in three different modes and call recording;

CRM software integration for gathering and analyzing customer data.

Interested in ultimate call center software?

Contact us to discuss your needs and see Voiptime Contact Center in action!

Eugene Siuch

Content Manager and Copywriter

Focused on customer service measurement and improvement, SaaS marketing and industry insights, and researching different methods of staff motivation and performance management in the field of customer service providing.

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