Omega Blog

Long waits lead to unhappy customers

Posted on 16 July, 2013

Happy customers typically have one thing in common: They were able to reach quick resolutions to their problems. Regardless of their industry, businesses seeking to improve customer retention strategies may want to focus on reducing wait times.

Fast service is the least that organizations can provide in their attempts to win brand loyalty. In some cases, failing to improve services could cost a company its licenses. Crosscut reported that Comcast has been fined more than once by the City of Seattle for its inability to answer the phone. As part of its licensing agreement with the municipality, Comcast agreed to keep customer wait times to less than 30 seconds. However, the firm failed to meet this threshold and has been hit with two fines totaling $48,000.

Comcast is not the only firm to experience problems with customer service. Consumer advocate website Which? reported that utility companies in the United Kingdom have an average hold time of more than two minutes. Customers hate waiting for service, and long wait times quickly diminish a brand's reputation.

Strong leadership sets the tone
Often all that is needed to improve customer satisfaction is the enforcement of standards. All4Service speculated that poor customer service was linked to a lack of company leadership. This is usually the reason for bad service in B2B organizations where customer experience management takes a back seat to other priorities. When managers fail to hold front-line employees accountable, this can contribute to a relaxed culture and a drop in performance. Tough leadership can stress the importance of providing a fast resolution to problems, but employees should also be properly supported. 

All4Service notes that leaders should strive to remove obstacles that may be preventing front-line workers from doing their jobs. Examining protocols and company practices can help managers identify the challenges employees face in providing exceptional service. Taking steps to eliminate these obstacles could boost worker satisfaction and lead to more engaging customer experiences. The process may reveal that call centers and other essential departments don't have adequate resources, or that staff are unable to access information they need to deliver quick and reliable service. Addressing these issues could help any organization boost its reputation as a customer-friendly company.

Businesses that consistently exceed customer expectations for service and support may be eligible to receive Omega Management Group's NorthFace ScoreBoard AwardSM. This industry award establishes recipients as innovative leaders in achieving service excellence based solely on feedback from their own customers.