Digital consumers expect responses in 10 minutes, not 10 days

Service Management

by Claire Vanner| 29 January 2014

Impatience Index shows 1 in 20 18-24 year olds check smartphones every minute.


The proliferation of digital devices and social networks has transformed British consumers' tolerance of waiting times.

Research commissioned by customer service specialists KANA Software reveals that consumers' patience has, in some cases, truncated from 10 days to 10 minutes in the space of a generation.

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

The following details the frequency by age with which consumers check for responses on any device:
18-24 - Every 9 minutes, 50 seconds
25-34 - Every 9 minutes, 55 seconds
35-44 - Every 21 minutes
45-54 - Every 36 minutes
65+ - Every 47 minutes
55-64 - Every 1 hour, 30 minutes

Moody said: "In the past 10 years, organisations have lost the 'time shield' previously offered by postal services. 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."

The survey also found that one-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.

He added: "Public-facing organisations have to recognise the adoption of social channels is truncating customer service processes. With smartphones acting as digital umbilical cords, the modern consumer is always connected. Unfortunately for service desks, 'working days' are an outdated concept."

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