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15 Apr 2009 / Julie

don’t put your customers on hold, call them back!

image of ppl waiting in lineThe average American spends an average of 45 minutes a day waiting [citation needed].

[insert crazy mind bending math here and a few bars from RENT*] = 2.43 years of your life waiting. WAITING. Think of how much you could be accomplishing if you weren’t WAITING all the time!

Usually, i don’t mind waiting. Traffic has become a little zen for me, waiting in a line lets me talk to my fellow line-waiters, or gives me time to read my rss feeds via my phone. But waiting on the phone is one of those things I still haven’t gotten over. It relates to being able to do things online. First i can’t do Thing X online, then i have to be on hold for 42 minutes? No, thanks.

But an amazing thing happened earlier this week. I had to call BGE to work out an issue with my old account (they were still billing me even though the account was to have been closed) and instead of staying on hold (and not knowing how long it might be), the automated BGE system told me they’d call ME back when it was my turn (and i wouldn’t lose my place in line!).  I left my callback #, name, and was told i’d get a call within xx minutes. Sure enough, xx minutes later, BGE was on the line.

Later the same day we had to call our mortgage folks. They had D’s name wrong. Silly apostrophe’s. They’re customer service is open 24 hours a day but even at 7pm, there was a 41-62 minute hold time. But never fear! Call back is here! Again, we left our # and name and within 55 minutes we had our callback.

File under: give your customers options, everyone’s time is precious, and don’t make them wait for you just because you’re busy.

* I used The CIA World Factbook for the avg life expectancy of the avg American (78.11yrs). And did you know that the United States is listed 50th (out of 225)  in life expectancy rankings. Anyone else find that appalling? At least we’re not Swaziland (avg life expectancy = 31.88 years)

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