According to recent research, those in the US spend an average of 43 days on hold during their lifetime, however UK research shows contrasting data that we Brits spend around 22 days on hold during our lifetime (or 60 hours a year depending on which sources you believe…) and the average wait time is 27 precious minutes.
The issue here isn’t just wasted time, it’s a huge expense! Costing an average of £30,780 – which could be put towards important things, like paying off student loans, putting a deposit on a house or going travelling! The survey found that a mere 7% of callers were actually aware how much being placed on hold was costing them. The only upside to this is that Ofcom took action last Summer to ensure measures were in place to make it clearer to callers how much numbers cost to call, enforcing more prominent advertisement for call pricing.
Combine the time and money that callers are effectively wasting and that equals poor customer service. It’s frustrating for customers, but it’s likely that the call handler you’re waiting to speak to has exactly the same experience when they need to call somewhere too. However it’s still not surprising that call centres have made the Top 100 most annoying things lists and in another survey 47% of people said their biggest pet peeve was being placed on hold and listening to on hold music.
Call us bias but we think if their on hold marketing and music was provided by iNarrator the figures may have been lower…
Now that you’ve got the figures, you need to know what it is that’s causing grumbles amongst callers. Last year Which? conducted a survey that found good knowledge of products, helpful staff and of course speed of service were the factors that gave customer’s a good caller experience. Contrasting this and probably not surprisingly
call centres not based in the UK, automated telephone systems and being passed around lots of different people
were what callers found contributed to poor customer service.
These factors highlight how important it is to ensure your phone system is up to scratch and that you’ve got the right staff in place to deal with your call volume. You can reduce the annoyance of being passed around with a minimal and specific menu, clearly directing callers to the right department first time. Automated systems are necessary but have a look at last week’s blog to find out if you’re making any mistakes and how to improve these!
Callers are much more likely to stay on the line when they have something to entertain them, with 70% of people handing up if they’re placed on hold and have to endure either ominous silence or disconcerting beeps. It’s inevitable that callers will be placed on hold when calling some companies, yet if you’re unable to change your customers’ wait time then you can look into improving their experience.