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Customer patience wears thin after a minute


November 7, 2012
By Canadian Garden Centre & Nursery

Nov. 7, 2012, Chicago – A new survey confirms that keeping customers
from languishing on hold can motivate them to make a purchase and
recommend your store to others.

A new survey by the voice-based marketing automation firm Ifbyphone
shows 81 per cent of local stores answered the phone in less than 60
seconds; one in five took longer – a stretch of time that can feel like
an eternity when a customer needs an answer.

The complimentary
Ifbyphone Consumer Response Survey released in May found consumers were
59 per cent more likely to buy and 73 per cent more likely to recommend a
brand when a call was answered in less than a minute.

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Response
times and rankings were measured by three independent secret shoppers
who clocked the amount of time it took for each brand to start a live
conversation at both local and corporate locations. All brands included
in the surveys were named to the STORES Magazine list of the top 100
retail brands of 2011.

When calling local numbers, fast response
was a common characteristic among nearly all the retail brands contacted
for this study. The average time to reach a real person at all 100
brands with local store phone numbers was just under 36 seconds, though
the majority (55 per cent) answered in less than 20 seconds.

"The
Ifbyphone Responsiveness Index clearly indicates that regardless of
ranking, the top 100 brands demonstrate a commitment to answering
customer calls quickly," said Irv Shapiro, CEO of Ifbyphone. "The
outstanding performance of these brands stands as an example of the
importance brands place on fast customer response as key to their
business model. Clearly, for companies to compete, they need a
combination of technology and staff to optimize responsiveness."

Secret
shoppers also called the most prominently displayed 800-number listed
on each brand's website to follow whichever path they felt was the
fastest, most natural way to start a live conversation.

"The
Ifbyphone Responsiveness Index measured calls to corporations in order
to include the experience of a customer calling a brand at the main
number displayed on its website," added Shapiro. "Most callers to an 800
number expect to quickly reach a live person."

While the top
brands expedited customer calls to local store locations, the study
found that two-thirds are still lacking on response times at the
corporate level. It took between one and eight minutes to reach a real
person in the bottom two-thirds and customers waited an average of two
minutes and 15 seconds to hold a live conversation.

"Since
customers are much more likely to convert or refer when a call is
answered in less than one minute, retail brands, especially at the
corporate level, need to adjust their marketing strategies to make
responsiveness a higher priority," said Shapiro.


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