UK consumers are at the tipping point of tolerance when it comes to being kept on hold, even more on social media channels than on the phone, according to new research.
While many retailers have introduced more channels for customers to engage with their support teams in an effort to improve customer service, the OpenText research shows that consumers’ levels of tolerance are even lower on social channels than on the phone.
Nearly a third (31%) of people would give up after a minute when waiting for their query to be acknowledged or resolved on a website live chat – highlighting how businesses need to address communication expectations when making these alternative channels available to customers.
The study reveals that ‘Baby’ by Justin Bieber is the song UK consumers dislike most whilst being kept on hold, waiting for customer service. In the survey of 2,000 UK consumers, the top five least popular songs companies play whilst keeping customers on hold vary in genre but with Justin Bieber taking the top spot:
1. Baby – Justin Bieber
2. Agadoo – Black Lace
3. Lady in Red – Chris du Burgh
4. Hanging on the Telephone – Blondie
The research found that UK consumers aren’t willing to wait and listen to these songs for long. Six out of 10 people (62%) admit they would hang up the phone after five minutes of waiting whilst over one in five (22%) said they would give up after less than a minute. The older generation were revealed as the most impatient, with 68% giving up after five minutes of waiting in comparison to 51% of 18-24 year olds. Just 13% of people would wait for however long it takes for their query to be resolved.
“Customers today don’t hope for exceptional customer experience, they expect it. Positive customer experience is all about removing any friction from the process and companies need to set themselves up to avoid dragging their customers into ‘Hold Hell’”, said Mark Bridger, vice president, Northern Europe at OpenText.
“Businesses, then, need to be built on an ‘information-driven’ design; streamlining internal digital processes and breaking down information siloes,” Bridger continued. “With a robust multi-channel analytics platform in place, connecting and gathering information beyond the traditional data repositories in the contact centre, companies can use the insight to better understand their customers’ needs, behaviours and issues, and ultimately resolve issues faster.”
In efforts to improve customer service, businesses have introduced more channels for customers to engage with their support teams. Live chat support on websites and posting to a company’s social media account are now ways in which customers can raise queries with a business.
However, the OpenText research shows that consumers’ levels of tolerance are even lower on these channels. Nearly a third (31%) of people would give up after a minute when waiting for their query to be acknowledged or resolved on a website live chat, whilst seven in 10 (71%) said they would give up after five minutes. After posting an inquiry or complaint on social media, less than half of UK consumers (47%) would wait up to an hour before giving up. Just one in ten (10%) would be patient enough to wait up to a week.
“If businesses make these alternative channels available to their customers, they have to address the communication expectations,” said Mark Bridger. “Consumers who take advantage of the self-service channels want to know that their query has been received, that someone is handling it and when they can expect a response.
“Today, the difference between a good experience and a great experience is often the micro-interactions. With more consumers at the tipping point of tolerance, it’s the little things that matter – the way a company handles their inquiry, the speed in which it is resolved and the personality of the content. These communications, the data that feeds them, and the exchanges between a customer and a company are critical assets for strengthening customer relationships and fuelling sales.”
About the research
OpenText surveyed 2,000 respondents in the UK about their tolerance to be kept on hold using Google Consumer Surveys. To find the worst hold music, OpenText worked with Censuswide to survey 2,000 UK based respondents.