Voice, Chat and Email Wait Times June 2016
The answer to the wait time questions really is from the business itself. Because there will be different targets and goals within the business the wait times will vary. Let’s take for example a call center that sells consumer products. A buyer is calling, sends a chat or an email for a product they wish to purchase. The business would like that contact to be replied to as quickly as possible or the potential customer will go somewhere else. Wait times for any customer contact method should be very short. According to Spectrum customers ten to thirty second wait times for voice, chat and email would be ok for most businesses.
If this customer wants to return something they have purchased does the business have the same urgency? Of course not, the wait times can be considerably longer and it would not change the customer business decision. However, an argument can be made that if the business reacts quickly regardless of the transaction that business will earn a very highly positive reputation that can build their business.
Spectrum works with many contact centers around the world that have voice, email, chat and social media as ways of contacting an agent. We have seen wait time thresholds set at many different levels for each of these contact channels. There is not an entire industry by industry set level. However, there are some good parameters that businesses use.
Voice: On average the old 80 / 20 and 70 / 30 rule still seems to apply for most businesses. Please note this is not true for incoming new business where the 90 / 10 rule is demanded by the managers. I recall a meeting that I had with the head of a large contact center at a mutual fund company. We were talking about the wait times for incoming new customer calls. The IT manager has suggested and hoped that a 10 second wait time was ok for incoming calls. The contact center managers reply “To our business ten seconds is historical not real time. The lost revenue from potential customers in one day would be enough to pay for this phone system.” Now I know this was somewhat of an exaggeration but the point was well made.
Chat: As stated above the wait times can, will and should vary by industry. Yet there is a trend that occurs depending on the age of the customer; the younger the customer the shorter the expected wait time. Of course that is not always the rule but it does tend to happen. An overall call center wait time for chat has been set at two minutes. This is not the time that the chat reply begins it is the time the chat is sent to the customer.
VP Sales and Marketing
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