Don’t keep customers hanging on the telephone

19th Oct 2016

Being told your call is valued is the most annoying thing that someone waiting on the phone to a company can hear, according to a new Which? survey.

The consumer group surveyed 2,260 of its members during July and found that almost half (47 per cent) found this message the most annoying, followed by being told to go to the company’s website (28 per cent) and apologies for all operators being busy (11 per cent).

Callers would rather be told how long they have to wait, while many also want to know where they were in the queue, and to be given the choice of being called back, found the survey. Nine in 10 of those asked said they’re prepared to wait on the line for no longer than five minutes.

Jo Causon, chief executive of The Institute of Customer Service, said people today are time-poor and less likely to be happy waiting as a result. “It means consumers are less understanding of organisations that do not make it easy to get in touch,” she said. “If businesses want to enjoy ongoing customer loyalty – and attract new business – their focus should be on convenience and efficiency.”

She pointed out that the phone is now customers’ third most popular method for getting in touch with organisations, behind face-to-face contact and online.

Whichever way customers choose to get in touch, responding quickly and appropriately is crucial to delivering great customer service. According to The Institute of Customer Service’s latest UK Customer Satisfaction Index, interactions that are right first time attract much higher levels of customer satisfaction than those that require either the organisation, or the customer, to take follow-up action.

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