Customers perennially on hold

Almost 70 per cent of callers to UK businesses are put on hold for longer than one minute, research finds.

A study carried out by the Institute of Commercial Management also reveals that 70 per cent of customers are put on hold during more than half their calls to businesses.

Mark Williamson, marketing and sales director of PH Media, which commissioned the report, says, ‘Ever-increasing pressure on business resource means it is inevitable customers will be put on hold but this only emphasises the pressing need to handle calls in the most appropriate manner.

‘Lost calls can have a significant impact on a company’s bottom line but the risk can be mitigated by ensuring customers remain engaged and informed even while on hold.’

Some 73 per cent of the 2,000 consumers surveyed reveal they want to hear something more than beeps or silence when placed on hold.

Furthermore, 72 per cent of personal calls to businesses are made at home on a landline and 60 per cent of consumers are sat in front of a computer while on the phone.

Williamson adds that the results offer vital considerations for any business looking to employ best practice in the handling of customer calls. ‘If 60 per cent of callers are sat in front of a computer, a simple message directing enquiries towards a company’s website could prove particularly effective,’ he says.

‘Not only would it allow customers to be directed to a resource where their query may be answered more quickly and efficiently but it could also deliver a significant uplift to website traffic.’

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