Customer Experience News & Trends

What’s behind customers’ tolerance to wait?

Customers will wait for help some days longer than other days. Why? It has to do with these seven factors.

This is why some customers are upset when agents finally pick up, and others aren’t, according to The Help Desk Institute (HDI). Use this as a guide when deciding on new ways route calls.

  1. Degree of motivation. A customer with an emergency will be less patient than a customer with a routine question.
  2. Availability of substitutes. Customers who can choose to email, fax or chat online will likely be kinder than those who are forced to hear a busy signal or sit in queue with no other options to get help.
  3. Competition’s service level. If competitors don’t make them wait, your service will appear inferior.
  4. Level of expectations. Customers base their expectations on your reputation, previous experiences and contracted levels of service. If you fail to meet any of those, customers will quickly lose patience with waiting.
  5. Who pays. Customers who pay to call you won’t tolerate waiting. A toll-free number will decrease some wait-time anger for customers.
  6. Time available. Customers who have more time on their hands will be more tolerant of waiting. This is probably and impossible factor for contact centers to control.
  7. Human behavior. Are they having a good day or bad day? This is another factor that is hard to control, but agents can try to make it a better day by conveying an upbeat, happy attitude.

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