Customer retention through world-class call response times

There’s very little arguing about the fact that the UK is experiencing a customer service crisis. Among the many complaints customers have are unacceptably long call response times when trying to get through to customer support over the phone – but it doesn’t have to be that way.

So how long is too long? There are probably almost as many answers to that question as there are customers, but that hasn’t stopped industry people from trying to establish a magic formula for customer satisfaction. Some say that anything under a minute is great, while others say that call response times greater than 30 seconds are unacceptable. In our experience, it’s far more complex than that – and in reality, it varies a lot between different industries.

What we do know is that a huge amount of businesses in the UK are falling short, often by a lot – and the average customer service wait times are going up. UK energy customers had to wait on average 6.5 minutes over the past year, with broadband customers waiting an average of 4.5 minutes and those calling the HMRC almost three times that. Many are left waiting significantly longer. Yet studies repeatedly show customers to be impatient, with as many as 25% ready to walk away within two minutes. In some industries, a good chunk of them give up much sooner than that.

Learning from mistakes – and standing out from the crowd

So what’s the lesson – and who’s the winner here? The answer is simple, if you ask us. One company’s loss is another company’s gain. In other words, customers who give up and walk away don’t stop needing products and services – they’ll just look for them elsewhere. If you’re prepared to look after them, and answer the phone promptly and efficiently, you can enjoy a whole hoard of new, loyal customers.

At 3C Online, we monitor our average response times daily, and our customers choose from different maximum response times depending on their needs. For most, knowing that we’ll always answer within a minute is enough. Some choose to pay a little bit extra to guarantee that customers can always get help within 30 seconds – because they know that they’ll get the money back in customer retention and loyalty.

In addition to that, we measure the proportion of calls we actually do answer, which is another good indication of the number of customers whose questions are answered and problems solved. Again, there are different opinions about reasonable targets here, but we set the bar high, relatively speaking, promising to answer at least 90% of calls. Naturally, our attention to quantity doesn’t mean that we compromise on quality, which is also continually monitored.

We’ve said it before and we’ll gladly say it again: You can make this customer service crisis into an opportunity for your business. Don’t keep your customers waiting. Don’t risk losing them over a lack of reliable customer service systems. By choosing to invest and showing that you care, you can stand out from the crowd and reap the benefits.

Want to know more about how we can help? Read more about our customer service options and get in touch! We’d love to hear from you.