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Is time on hold really annoying?

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Time spent on hold during calls to businesses has been viewed as a consumer bugbear but new research has revealed Brits are more patient than might be expected.

The study of 1,000 consumers, conducted by global research consultancy TNS on behalf of PH Media Group, discovered 45 per cent of British consumers are prepared to wait on hold longer than a minute during calls to business.

Women are more patient than men, however, with 52 per cent prepared to hold for longer than 60 seconds, compared to 38 per cent of men. Older people are less patient, with only 38 per cent of those aged 55 to 64 willing to wait more than a minute, compared to 49 per cent of 35 to 44-year-olds.

In fact only six per cent of all Brits were not prepared to wait on hold at all, with a quarter prepared to wait 31 to 60 seconds and 24 per cent willing to hold between one and 30 seconds.

However patience levels differed throughout Britain. More than half (53 per cent) of Scottish callers are willing to wait longer than a minute, making them most patient, while the figure dips to its lowest in London (37 per cent).

Commenting on the results Mark Williamson, Sales and Marketing Director of the PH Media Group who provide 'hold' solutions said; "Traditionally, waiting on hold is perceived as an annoyance for customers, so these figures might come as a surprise, suggesting British people are willing to wait longer than might be assumed. However the research only further emphasises the need for businesses to handle calls in the best possible manner and ensure customers are kept engaged and entertained when they do have to be placed on hold for any period of time.

"Poor-quality audio messages, beeps or silence will only serve to test their patience. Companies should instead give careful consideration to how they sound over the phone, using voice and music that reflects their brand and informative, useful messaging."

PH Media's core audio products include On-Hold Marketing, Out-of-Hours Messaging and Auto Attendant Voicing. These services involve the creation of targeted marketing messages for businesses to play whenever telephone callers are put on hold or transferred, designed to reinforce brand values and increase sales. For further information about PH Media Group, please call 0800 408 1451 or visit their website at: phmg.com.


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TOM-BROWN

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