Mark Williamson, Sales and Marketing Director, PH Media Group

Is time on hold really that annoying?

Time spent on hold during calls to businesses is viewed as a consumer bugbear but new research has revealed Brits are perhaps more patient than might be expected.

The study of 1,000 consumers, conducted on behalf of PH Media Group, discovered 45 per cent of British consumers are prepared to wait on hold longer than a minute during calls to business.

Women are more patient than men, however, with 52 per cent prepared to hold for longer than 60 seconds, compared to 38 per cent of men.

Similarly, older people are less patient, with only 38 per cent of those aged 55 to 64 willing to wait more than a minute, compared to 49 per cent of 35 to 44-year-olds.

“Traditionally, waiting on hold is perceived as an annoyance for customers, so these figures might come as a surprise, suggesting British people are willing to wait longer than might be assumed,” said Mark Williamson, Sales and Marketing Director, PH Media Group.

“This only further emphasises the need for businesses to handle calls in the best possible manner and ensure customers are kept engaged and entertained when they do have to be placed on hold for any period of time.

“Poor-quality audio messages, beeps or silence will only serve to test their patience. Companies should instead give careful consideration to how they sound over the phone, using voice and music that reflects their brand and informative, useful messaging.”

Only six per cent of all Brits were not prepared to wait on hold at all, with a quarter prepared to wait 31 to 60 seconds and 24 per cent willing to hold between one and 30 seconds.

But patience levels differed throughout Britain. More than half (53 per cent) of Scottish callers are willing to wait longer than a minute, making them most patient, while the figure dips to its lowest in London (37 per cent).

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