Research published in the Retail Times shows that British adults can expect to spend 31 hours of their life on hold with a call centre. This isn’t an attractive prospect for anyone based on the headline, but what’s important to note is that the research explores how the wait time can affect the quality of the call.
You know the situation personally. Calling up a company for information, help, or to make a complaint, and the wait time then creates a barrier. What you do to fill that time can then influence how the call goes.
One per cent of the people in the research claim that they have fallen asleep while on hold. That would have quite a dramatic effect on the call, especially if the company hangs up because they couldn’t hear anyone on the call when it was answered!
28 per cent of callers will use the Internet while waiting for a call to be answered, but 34 per cent say that they do nothing at all – the time is entirely wasted.
The real problem with putting people on hold is that they are getting used to other channels such as email, IM, and social media where there is no concept of being in hold. People do need to wait for a response if they ask a question on Twitter, but there is an expectation already built-in to the use of that channel.
If the industry is going to get customer service right then the expectations of one channel need to transfer to all. There is a lot I could be doing with a reclaimed 31 hours.
Photo by Plenty R licensed under Creative Commons