When you use Zendesk to support customers, a question that people commonly ask is “How long does it typically take for one of my agents to respond to a ticket after it’s first created?”
Zendesk Support records the time from when a ticket was created to the first public agent response. Zendesk Explore reads this value and makes it available in a metric named First reply time.
Use this article to understand how first reply time works, and how you can use it in your reports.
This article contains the following sections:
How first reply time is calculated
The Zendesk first reply time metric measures the time between ticket creation and the first public agent comment after that.
After the first public reply, the system calculates the first reply time in calendar hours and business hours. Both metrics are stored with the ticket data, so you can use either (or both) to build reports.
First reply time works essentially the same way regardless of the channel from which the ticket originates. For example:
- A customer email creates a ticket. Timing starts when the ticket is created and ends at the first public agent comment.
- An agent creates a ticket. Timing starts when the ticket is created and ends at the agent's next public comment.
- An agent takes a phone call that creates a ticket and solves the ticket with no new comment. The customer later re-opens the ticket, and the agent then responds with a public comment. First reply time ends when that comment is posted.
- A visitor starts a messaging conversation with a bot and is transferred to an agent. Timing starts when the ticket is created and ends at the first agent response. See Additional details for messaging first reply time below.
When an agent adds a public comment from another account using ticket sharing, this does not count toward your account's first reply time.
Additional details for messaging first reply time
Messaging tickets have slightly different behavior, which is unique to the messaging channel. Like other channels, messaging tickets start first reply time when the ticket is created. However, the timer stops at the first agent message in the conversation.
Most bot-based workflows create the ticket after the conversation is transferred but before the agent joins. This means the metric typically includes time waiting for an agent but not time interacting with the bot. This is not always guaranteed, though, as custom bots might behave differently. The metric is based on events in the ticket, not the bot configuration.
Messaging tickets also have an additional First reply time (sec) metric, available only in calendar hours. This metric is often more accurate for quick conversations, as other standard metrics round to the nearest minute.
Reporting first reply time
Use the following sections to understand how to use the Zendesk reporting tools to read first reply time information.
Reporting using Explore
Explore reads first reply time information from Support. The reports:
Read data from Support using the Zendesk API. They do not calculate calendar hours or business hours.
Display information on pre-built reports in calendar hours. However, metrics for business hours are available and can be used in your own reports.
Reporting using External analytic tools
If you are not using any of the Zendesk reporting methods, you can still read first reply time information using the Zendesk API. The first reply time information in calendar hours is stored together with the first reply time in business hours and clearly labelled. For details, see the API metrics documentation.
Reporting using the Reporting Overview
The Reporting Overview is not available if you have Zendesk Explore. The overview can:
Display the first reply time metric directly from Zendesk Support
Display calendar hours only; business hours are not displayed
Displays average reply time for all tickets
For more information about built-in reports, see Using the Reporting Overview
Zendesk SLAs and first reply time
Zendesk Service Level Agreements, or SLAs, are an agreed-upon measure of the response and resolution times that your support team delivers to your customers. To determine these times, SLAs also use the first reply time. However, there are important differences in the way that these metrics work with SLAs:
- If a ticket is created with a public comment from an agent, the SLA first reply time target is not run.
- If a ticket is created with a private comment, the SLA first reply time target will not start until the ticket gets a first public comment from an end user. An exception to this rule is that if the requester is a light agent, the first reply time SLA target starts at creation even without a public comment.
- SLA first reply time targets are fulfilled when a ticket is solved, even if the ticket never had a public comment from an agent.
- SLA targets can be run in calendar or business hours, but not both.
- Business hour SLA targets pause outside business hours, then restart when business hours begin.
For more information, see Defining and using SLA policies.