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What industry standards exist for time (minutes or days) to contact a client after they have identified a problem and initiated an electronic communication with a service provider. I understand that in many cases these times are defined by SLA or are addressed in an OLA. SLAs often include criteria based on priority/urgency assigned by customer, I would expect also to be addressed in industry standards.

In the absence (or conflict) of an SLA(s) are there standard response times that are recognized as best practice?

In particular I am looking for IT industry standards, but any standards would be helpful.

Google searches for 'first contact' even after I removed 'star' did not get me what I was looking for.

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If a client has contacted you because there's an issue with your product, I think it's best practice to at least make initial contact with them within the first 48 hours, even if it's just to say "We've received a email/call report on x,y,z problem" and ask for more information on the problem or just to tell them you're working on it.

This should be practiced with clients with or without contracts simply because you don't want your client to feel that they are being ignored or to give negative connotation that you don't care about their business. Even if you know you won't be able to work on it for weeks down the road, making that initial contact within the first 48 hours tells them you know that they're there and you're attentive to their needs.

Unless their service contract grants them any special prioritization, the above should be followed for quality of service.

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This is good answer but I am looking for published standards. –  James Jenkins Nov 14 '13 at 20:13
    
If the standards told you 2 weeks would you follow that advice? –  Mechaflash Nov 14 '13 at 21:18
    
Service standards are not something that's global simply because there are too many factors that can affect it. If you asked a group of clients if 48 hours were a good timeframe to get back in touch, you'd probably get some variations of answers from "Yes that's pretty fast" to "Why can't you take care of it now?". It's a mix of resource allocation, client urgency/need, and personality types. Heck if you have the resources and ability to, call them back in 5-10 minutes from initial contact. But that requires a dedicated customer service staff in order to get any work done. –  Mechaflash Nov 14 '13 at 21:29
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