We analyzed more than 12,000 callers on hold. Here are three things we learned.
When you dial into a contact center and are placed on hold, how long are you willing to wait before you hang up?
Rivet, a company dedicated to changing the way audio is produced and delivered, has teamed up with Humach Labs, an incubator program where you can beta test innovative solutions such as serving up customized news stories to a customer’s personality when they call in. Customers of different personality types will experience a completely reimagined hold experience, and with stories tailored to their interests, they may have a more enjoyable hold time and feel a more personal connection to your brand. By looking for new ways to connect with the caller and keep them engaged, the goal is to enhance a customer’s hold time experience.
As these companies continue to look for ways to innovate in the world of customer experience, we at Mattersight Personality Labs were interested in joining forces to see what we could learn from already available information. We wanted to find how long people are actually willing to wait on hold and if there was any correlation to the four main personality types (Advisor, Connector, Organizer, and Original) leveraged at Mattersight. We also have some ideas on how to tailor the hold experience to each personality style.
Finding 1: People are generally not willing to wait on hold
We sampled more than 12,000 callers across a variety of channels with various reasons for calling, and found that only 25% of callers make it past the 30-second point. A full 60% of callers gave up in 10 seconds or less. By 30 seconds, 75% of people had abandoned the call and by two minutes, 90% of people left.
Looking at that pool of individuals who were willing to wait more than two minutes, we wanted to know more. What type of personalities were willing to wait? And why?
In the two minutes plus category, we grouped the callers by personality type. The results of the median queue time before abandonment were as follows:
Organizer 176 seconds 2.9 minutes
Connector 208 seconds 3.5 minutes
Advisor 255 seconds 4.3 minutes
Original 215 seconds 3.6 minutes
Finding #2: ‘Advisors’ typically wait the longest
Advisors, who are known to be dedicated, observant, and conscientious, waited the longest. On average, they waited 4.3 minutes before hanging up. The reason for staying could be that when Advisors have an issue, they are committed to getting it resolved. This often involves pointing out to the company where they’ve gone wrong and why the customer is right. They may wait on hold not only to get their own issue resolved, but because if it is happening to them, it will happen to others; they must ensure that the company is aware of the misdeed. They seek recognition for their convictions and their work for the greater good; part of this is to ensure that someone is held accountable for the issue at hand. Advisors make up only 10% of the U.S. population and they are often seen as a vocal group who is willing to fight for what is right.
Finding #3: Rarely will you find an ‘Organizer’ waiting beyond two minutes
On the flip side, Organizers didn’t wait much longer than two minutes. On average, they waited 2.9 minutes. Without an approximate wait time, Organizers are more likely to hang up because they need to adjust their schedule. They are logical, linear, and can become frustrated with broken processes and things that don’t make sense; an indeterminate hold time definitely falls into that bucket.
Recommendations: How to make hold time part of a satisfactory caller experience
For the Organizer, news stories or an opportunity to learn something can be a good use of time. It needs to be time-boxed so there is not a sense of getting to the middle of a story and then never learning the ending. Short snippets of news can be productive time. Also of value to the Organizer can be verbal coupons about ways to save money or time.
For people-oriented Connectors, customers telling their own stories or human interest stories with warm, friendly narration, will make them feel good about being on hold. It shows that the company cares about people.
For the Advisor, content that demonstrates respect, loyalty, and customer-centric practices is best. Ideas include: verbal coupons based on loyalty such as customer tenure or spend bracket (but not as a hard sell!); showcasing an employee of the month (which demonstrates commitment to employees); spotlight on awards. Include the “why” in the narrative.
For the Original, music is great if it is the music they like. Stories with animation, surprise endings, and funny content are good for this personality. They live in the moment and if they like it, they stick around. If they don’t like it, they will hang up.
In conclusion, we know that most people aren’t just willing to wait. With so many callers giving up after less than a minute, businesses must do more to make sure that being on hold is no longer an inconvenience for customers.
To best serve your customers, you need to get to know them first. By using Mattersight Personality Labs to learn more about your customers’ personalities, you can be one step closer to ensuring that every aspect of the customer journey is easier.