____Posted Tuesday January 31, 2017 ____


On Hold

Canadian companies risk losing business by submitting callers to 30 seconds of ‘irritation’

Manchester, UK – Canadian companies risk losing business by making customers wait on hold for almost half a minute, new research has revealed.

The large-scale study, conducted by audio branding specialist PHMG, found 69 per cent of calls to businesses are put on hold, with those callers being forced to wait for 26.26 seconds on average.

To make matters worse, they are left listening to inappropriate audio, which could increase the risk of caller-hang-ups.

The research discovered 35 per cent of businesses leave customers listening to generic music, 25 per cent subject them to beeps, a further 23 per cent leave them in silence, while 12 per cent use ringing. Only four per cent employ brand-consistent voice and music messaging, which is viewed as the best practice approach to handling calls.

Mark Williamson, CEO at PHMG, said: “Call handling remains a critically undervalued element of customer service and marketing and businesses. Waiting on hold can be a major irritation for customers, especially if they are left in silence or listening to poor quality audio, and there is a serious risk they will simply hang up.

“A previous study of 2,234 North American consumers found 59 per cent will not do business with a company again if their first call isn’t handled to satisfaction. Therefore, it is important companies do everything they can to improve the experience.

“The same consumer study also revealed 65 per cent of customers feel more valued if they hear customized voice and music messages on hold. By ensuring all audio is professional and brand congruent, companies can drastically improve customer experience and begin shaping behaviour by tapping into the psychological power of sound.”

This latest study also found eight per cent of businesses do not even have a voicemail service for when they are unable to answer calls, while only 14 per cent use an auto-attendant service to greet callers outside of normal business hours.

Thirty-one per cent of companies use an interactive voice response (IVR) system to automatically filter calls.

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