In the US it’s been reported that customers spend 43 days of their lives on hold waiting for a service agent to answer their call [1]. That equates to between 10 to 20 minutes EACH WEEK they spend listening to a recorded voice telling them that “your call is important to us”. But not so important that the companies appear to be doing anything about it.

Here in the UK, WHICH?’s Call Centre Satisfaction Survey in 2016 identified the broadband and mobile providers to be the worst culprits [2]. BT Openreach last month agreed that their customer service “needed improving” [3].

As a consumer we expect great customer service. There is nothing more infuriating than being told to wait for an untold amount of time for a service you already pay for and being charged for the pleasure of waiting at the rate of 40p a minute, if calling from your mobile. Sitting there being forced to listen to Musak interrupted with placating messages convinces you that the competition must value you more and pick up the phone faster. It might just be rose-tinted optimism but as the frustration rises with every minute you’re still on hold, decisions to switch happen.

It can only benefit businesses to invest in reducing hold times. Automating the daily management tasks which the Real-Time teams heroically battle with everyday is the next step forward for call centres who really want to tackle the problem, leaving me to find use for those 43 days. A much happier task.

How Intraday Automation Can Help Your Call Centre