Come on! Technology makes us more impatient

Impatient user

A new research study in the UK commissioned by customer service specialists KANA Software shows that consumers are getting more impatient.

Our expectations of getting a response to our communication with businesses have shortened from days to minutes in the space of just one generation.

David Moody, head of worldwide product strategy at KANA says, "Little more than a decade ago, 10 working days was the conventional commitment of businesses and organizations when responding to complaints; and also the span of consumer tolerance. This no longer applies".

The spread of digital devices and social networks means that what KANA calls "the expectation reflex" has become much shorter. The study also shows that men are less patient than women, men check a device for a response on average every 22.5 minutes as opposed to every 26.25 minutes for women.

People in the 18-34 age range are likely to check their devices for a response every 10 minutes or so. 55-64 year-olds, however, only check every 1.5 hours. Interestingly though over 65s check every 47 minutes, perhaps because they have more time on their hands. This suggests that digital pensioners will become much more frequent and demanding complainers in the next few years.

A fifth of all social media users will check for a response at least once an hour, with one in 20 checking every 10 minutes or more.

"In the past 10 years, organizations have lost the 'time shield' previously offered by postal services," says Moody. "The sense that a letter was on a journey and could be anywhere between the sender and the recipient has been lost. Our impression today is that as soon as we press send, 'Mr or Ms Cosgrove in Complaints' should be reading our complaint and working out how to respond. If we don’t hear back quickly, our impatience rises".

Other findings of the survey include that the growth in social media platforms targeted at consumers, and their ease of adoption, is creating headaches for businesses. More consumers are taking to social platforms like Facebook and Twitter, to seek help and raise service issues.

The average UK adult spends a "fraughtnight" -- or nearly two weeks -- each year waiting for service, making complaints and using digital channels to direct their ire at companies providing poor service.

We’re more likely to use new channels for our complaints too. The average UK consumer has used 7.4 channels of electronic communication in the past six months. Amongst 18-to-24 year olds, this figure rises to 8.4 channels. The figure is lowest in the 65+ age bracket, but even this age band uses 6.2 methods of electronic communication.

Moody concludes, "Running a customer service operation is as complex as running air traffic control. Reductions in consumer tolerance can and should be met with a level of service that meets revised expectation. The technology already exists to support organizations that wish to monitor all channels and deal with queries and complaints in a rapid and personal fashion. Companies that don’t adjust their processes in the age of the adept digital consumer will be the losers".

Are we becoming less patient? How often do you check for responses to your electronic communication? Let us know in the comments. Now!

Photo Credit: Ljupco Smokovski / Shutterstock

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