Not enough being done to reduce call waiting times ‘due to Covid’ finds survey

UK businesses that attribute long call waiting times to ‘unprecedented demand because of Covid’ are leaving customers unimpressed, in accordance with new research.

The survey of 1000 people by outsourced comms company Moneypenny reveals that 85 % of individuals believe UK companies are blaming long call and live chat wait times on Covid, almost per year in to the pandemic despite being.

The survey indicates the common amount of time customers have to await calls and live chat requests to be answered – 18 % said they need to wait 1-5 minutes and 23 % need to wait 5-10 minutes, while 6 % need to wait 45-60 minutes and 19 % typically quit waiting altogether.

While 55 % of individuals believe some phone delays are acceptable because of Covid – there have been some notable sector, age and regional differences.

  • Utility companies were most regularly mentioned being the worst at answering calls (33 %) – followed by doctors (27 %), banks (25 %) and phone companies (21 %).  Those mentioned least were legal firms (6 %) and estate and letting agents (5 %).
  • year olds said phone answering delays are acceptable

  • 73 % of 16-24, year olds weighed against 45 % of over 55.
  • 61 per cent of these in Greater London said phone answering delays are acceptable, weighed against 42 % in the North East and 48 % in the South East.
  • Welsh customers are likely to give up looking forward to their call to be answered (22 %), weighed against those least more likely to in Yorkshire (12 %) and the South East (14 %).

Group CEO of Moneypenny, Joanna Swash, believes companies aren’t doing to solve waiting times enough.  She said: “Saying that unprecedented demand because of Covid  ‘s the reason for long wait times is equivalent to telling customers they’re not important – and our data demonstrates customers recognise this too.  Meeting demand is vital to business survival, more than ever now.

“It’s interesting that legal and property companies were least apt to be mentioned for poor answering times and we realize from our clients in these sectors they prioritise good customer support. However, the survey implies that the pandemic has been used as a scapegoat for poor customer support.”

She added: “Despite having reduced staff through redundancies and furloughing, you can find so many affordable solutions open to ensure customer calls and live chat can continue, it’s inadequate for companies to lessen service levels an expect customers to be happy.  As businesses start there’s a real danger that customers will vote making use of their feet and proceed to a competitor if poor service levels continue.”