How quickly do you expect a response on email?

Vodafone today released some research that showed that 1/3rd of UK Businesses expect a response to a new business inquiry via email within 2hrs.  Scarily 11% of businesses now expect a response within 30 minutes!

The headline is ‘30 Minutes And Counting…The New Email Time-Bomb For UK Business’

Whilst I can’t question the evidence – I’m really not sure I have ever experienced that speedy a response from a business that I’ve inquired to via email.

Normally if I inquire via email it’s either because I’m doing it at a strange time of day (late at night) or it’s not a priority so I just fire an email off.

If I really need a fast response I would probably pick up the phone and call them.

This research spurred me to check out Xobni on my email and looked at responses both internally and externally.  For internal Microsoft emails the median response was 2hrs.  For external email from customers I get a response with a median of 1d 3h.


The slowest response I had was from a vendor I was buying something from – they took 53d 10h and 45m to respond to my email!  Well at least they responded 🙂

The article seems to imply a need for more mobile email solutions which whilst that will help in certain scenarios it doesn’t address the underlying issue.  If customers do want email responses rapidly then organisations need to look to automated intelligent solutions to deliver that response.   Those systems need to ensure the simple requests are dealt with automatically allowing the ‘skilled’ and ‘knowledgeable’ people to focus on using their skills with those customers that need them.  Not to just drown them in email. 

You can read the rest of the Vodafone release HERE

Comments (6)
  1. tzagotta says:

    >>customers do want email responses rapidly then organisations need to look to automated intelligent solutions to deliver that response.<<

    I totally disagree. As a customer, I want a human response, not just some algorithmic guess at an answer. Is it so unreasonable to expect that staff be available to answer e-mails in a timely manner during business hours? How is that fundamentally any different than staffing a phone line?

    As a business owner, I also hold my company to a higher standard. We try to respond to customer e-mails right away. If we can’t give a quick answer for whatever reason, then we try to write back and let them know that we’ll work on getting an answer and get back with them shortly. That’s the same service they would receive if they called us.

    By the way, I would also like to add that, when calling into a business, the worst thing a business can do from a customer service perspective, is to route a customer into an automated call handling menu/maze. It is so refreshing to call a company and be able to quickly talk with a human being. Unfortunately, crappy customer service seems to be the standard these days.

  2. MSDNArchive says:

    Tzagotta – I couldn’t agree more on throwing customers into a call menu/maze!  My view on the automated response was that there are many simple questions that could be automated – there are some very intelligent systems that have been built to handle these.  It’s very hard to give the level of expertise to a massive influx of communication.  

  3. lovsten says:

    My slowest response was actually from Microsoft.

    1 year, 4 months, 20 days, 1 hour and 10 minutes (!!!)

    Amazing. Guess if I was surprise when I got the response.

  4. MSDNArchive says:

    lovsten – that’s unacceptable but at least you got a response I guess… I hope it answered your question!

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  6. Good find by Jason. In line with my previous post, customers have far greater expectations on how rapidly

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