A new survey shows that companies still aren’t answering their phones, messages aren’t being passed on, phone numbers aren’t being listed on websites, and annoying ‘on hold’ music continues to drive people round the bend.
The survey, conducted by global communications company Moneypenny, showed that the top gripe among Londoners trying to call businesses, was complex automated phone messages at 34%, and then phone calls not being answered, annoying hold music, and being told to check the website, all at 27% each.
An additional Moneypenny survey showed that classical music was the most annoying type of music to listen to while on hold.
Further phone annoyances for Londoners revealed by the survey were:
Having to leave a voicemail 18%
Feeling rushed and not listened to 11%
Background call centre noise 11%
Another huge bugbear revealed by the survey is that 89% of Londoners surveyed said they get frustrated when businesses don’t include a phone number on their website.
Across the nation the survey showed the number of calls to companies is declining, with 30% saying they are making fewer calls to businesses than they did three years ago, while only 19% say they are making more calls.
However, London bucks this trend: 34% of Londoners said they are making more calls to businesses than they did three years ago, while only 22% are making fewer calls. And calls from Londoners to businesses are lasting longer (52%) which is more than any other region, eg compared to 37% in Yorkshire and Humberside.
Businesses ignore the importance of good call handling at their peril, and managing calls properly is more important than ever, as the survey suggests Londoners call up when it’s really important:
34% if it was a complicated matter
31% if it was an urgent matter
26% if short on time
18% if it was sensitive
The power of a phone call in delivering excellent customer service is also shown in the fact that 77% of Londoners surveyed said a great call experience is a positive differentiator for a company.
Similarly, a bad call experience could have repercussions on London customer loyalty:
36% would take their business elsewhere
29% would complain to the business
27% would spread the word to friends and family
24% would call again and ask to speak to someone else
20% would write a negative review
Joanna Swash Group CEO of Moneypenny told LondonLovesBusiness.com, “The results of our survey demonstrate the enduring popularity of the phone, despite the plethora of communication channels now available to us.
“Customers use the phone when they have an urgent or sensitive issue to discuss, so companies cannot afford to provide a poor call experience, or business will be taken elsewhere. By mastering the art of call handling, businesses can keep their customers happy and loyal and boost the bottom-line in the process.”
Dr Eliza Filby, Generations Expert and Historian of Contemporary Values, said: “What this report perceptively highlights is that the telephone as a form of customer experience is not going away; customer expectations around call experience are increasing, and what is in decline is tolerance for a bad experience.”
Dr Filby added, “I was really interested to see that the report also illustrates the different generational expectations when it comes to calls – for example Baby Boomers are making half as many calls as they did three years ago, suggesting that they are getting the general knowledge elsewhere probably through websites (as reflecting their increasing digital engagement and skills) and are therefore calling for more specific enquiries.
“This means the call experience itself takes on even greater importance and has to be right and satisfying for the Baby Boomer customer or else! After all, they are the generation who are most likely to complain.”