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article imageOp-Ed: Americans on average will spend 43 days of their life on hold

By Ken Hanly     Feb 4, 2016 in Business
The mobile advertising analytics company Marchex found through analysis of more than 4 million phone calls from consumers to businesses, that Americans will likely waste more than 900 million hours waiting on hold this year.
Marchex was not the only company to gather statistics about consumers on hold. The text message service Talk To found that more than half of Americans spend 10 to 20 minutes every week on hold. This turns out to be equivalent to 43 days of the average life span.
Another survey lists being placed on hold as one of three pet peeves of consumers when using the phone. A second one was automated answering services. You know, for this press 509 and for that press 510, and please enter date of birth, your SIN number, and your 15 digit account number. Finally, people objected to persons on the other end of the line having a bad attitude or manners. Probably, the people on the other end have the same problem with us when we phone them.
Marketwatch has a map of the US showing which states are most patient and which least patient on hold. Kentuckians are quickest to hang up when on hold, and then people from Ohio, North Carolina, and New York. On the other end of the scale, people from Louisiana were the most patient, then those from Colorado, Florida, Illinois and Minnesota.
One way in which one can avoid long waits on hold is to call in the morning. Customer service software firm ZenDesk found that the fastest response times were between 9 and 11 a.m. If you phone in the afternoon, response time triples. You can also get apps that will alert you when the customer service agent answers the phone. Some companies also tell you how long your wait is likely to be and you can leave your number and they will phone you back. You can contact companies using other methods such as email. You can even go to a company office if you are near to a branch, a way to avoid robot responses.
In 2013 TalkTo commissioned a survey that showed 86 percent of consumers report being put on hold every time they called a business. Almost half, 48 percent said that customer service representatives who answered their calls were not helpful. Previous polls showed that 60 percent of customers who phoned to complain got nothing, and 71 percent report being annoyed when they can't get a live service agent on the phone. One of my pet peeves is that every couple of minutes often there will be a recording that announces how much the company values you and your call. This can continue indefinitely until you hang up in despair.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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