Eight of 10 Americans have little patience for merchants who don’t answer the phone – and for the key demographic for buying most home and professional services (adults 35-44) that figure rises to nearly 88%, according to a study conducted in August for FastCall411 by Synovate.
According to the survey, four out of five Americans (82%) regard “immediate availability” by phone as an “important” or the “most important” consideration in selecting a local service provider (e.g., plumber, locksmith):
- 28% overall described immediate availability as the “most important” factor – 31% of women, 25% of men.
- 54% described immediate availability as “important, but other factors matter almost as much” – men more than women (57% to 51%).
- 13% of the sample said “other factors may be more important” – cited equally by men and women.
Additional key findings from the survey:
- There is a disparity in consumers attitudes, based on age:
- The youngest group is relatively less likely to put a premium on instant response – 65.5% of those 18-24 ranked immediate availability as essential or “important” vs. 87.5 of those 35-44, the group that values it most.
- More than any other age group, those 55 to 64 regard immediate availability as the “most important” consideration (34%).
- Those on the lowest rung of the income ladder – making less than $25,000 annually – regard immediate availability as “the most important” consideration (33%), compared with 26% for those with incomes above $75,000.
- A higher percentage of those who aren’t married ranked immediate availability as “most important” (31% vs. 26% of marrieds)
- The demographic difference on the issue of customer service is most pronounced by race:
- 26% of white Americans described immediate availability of local service providers as “most important.”
- 40% of non-whites described immediate availablity as their top concern.
- While 81% of respondents who own their own homes consider immediate availability of local service providers: (26% “most important” and 55 “important”).
The implications of the study, according to Richard Rosen, founder and CEO of FastCall411, are two:
- “Voice mail, answering machines, unreturned calls, and unanswered ringing will send your customer straight to a competitor.”
- “The message to online local directories is equally clear: clean up your list. Your users have no patience with online searches that turn up six bad, disconnected or wrong numbers out of every 10.”