It’s no secret that consumers don’t like to be kept on hold when calling a brand, and data from a May 2012 Ifbyphone survey [pdf] confirms that they have their limits. In fact, roughly 4 in 5 respondents indicated they had either abandoned a brand due to poor response time to their questions, or would have walked away if not for restrictions such as contractual obligations. Overall, almost half reported having waited for at least one minute on their most recent sales call, rising to 78.5% who waited that amount of time as an existing customer.
Response Time Affects Conversion Rates
Data from Ifbyphone’s survey reveals that speed is a key factor in the sales situation. 84% of respondents reported being either likely or very likely to do business with a brand if they respond in less than a minute. By contrast, just 53% indicated that likelihood if they have to wait for longer than a minute, meaning that prospects are 58% more likely to do business with companies that respond in the shorter timeframe.
The same pattern is apparent when it comes to recommendations: 85% of prospects are likely or very likely to recommend a brand if they wait for less than a minute on a sales call. This drops to 49% among those who wait for longer than a minute.
Existing Customers Share These Sentiments
Although many existing customers are bound by contracts and therefore less free to switch brand preferences, these customers display the same attitudes as prospects, suggesting that brands should not take their existing customers for granted. For example, customers are 21% more likely to do business again with a brand that keeps them waiting for less than a minute, and 69% more likely to refer a brand when it takes their call in less than a minute.
According to a May 2012 survey from American Express, the average American is willing to wait 13 minutes on hold for customer service. Willingness and satisfaction may not equate in this situation, though: more than 4 in 10 Ifbyphone survey respondents said they would be unlikely to do further business with a company if it kept them on hold for more than 10 minutes, and more than three-quarters said they would be unlikely to recommend a brand that made them wait that long.
About the Data: The Ifbyphone data is based on a survey of 531 US prospects and customers whose responses were based on their most recent experiences calling a brand under 2 circumstances: calling to make a new purchase, or calling as an existing customer.