New data suggests that more than 15 million UK adults rank being stuck on hold with a telephone operator as their top annoyance of 2015.
Commissioned independently by Lithium Technologies, a survey of 2,000 UK consumers revealed that almost one in three (29.1%) respondents considered being stuck on telephone-hold their biggest annoyance of 2015, above poor customer service (25.80%), having no Internet (20.10%) and being stuck in traffic (19.80%), among other annoyances.
The same survey found that almost one in five (18.8%) UK adults would rather give up sexual relations for a week than be on hold to a call centre for an extended time-period; a further one in six (16.50%) respondents admitted they’d rather see an ex-partner, while nearly one in seven (13.6%) said they’d prefer to be stuck in traffic.
The survey results highlight the significant amount of time that consumers across the UK are spending on the phone to call centres, and the growing need for a new way to engage customers. Respondents spoke to call centres, on average, 3.87 times between June and September 2015, with an average call-length of 11.82 minutes. Taking UK life expectancy figures into account, these findings suggest that the average UK adult will spend more than 246 hours in a lifetime on the phone to call centres – equal to more than 10 days or a month of recommended nightly sleep for adults.
The findings come amidst fresh evidence that customer service expectations are continuing to rise in the UK. A recent survey of 250 UK customer care managers, conducted on behalf of Lithium Technologies, showed that four in five (82.40%) customer care managers believe customers have become more demanding over the past three years. A further half of respondents considered customers to be much more demanding than three years ago.
"These statistics paint an alarming picture for UK brands that rely heavily on call centres for customer relationship management (CRM)," said Katy Keim, Chief Marketing Officer of Lithium Technologies.
"Today’s call centres are simply not equipped to deliver positive customer experiences, potentially doing brands more harm than good. With customer expectations on the increase, UK businesses that rely solely on traditional customer service methods will likely fall behind their competitors. The brands that will succeed in the future are those willing to embrace a digital-first approach to customer service."
Consumer survey - The research was conducted online by Censuswide between 11 September and 14 September, among 2,000 respondents aged 16 or older. The survey was conducted from a random sample of UK adults. Censuswide abide by and employ members of the Market Research Society, which is based on the ESOMAR principles.
B2B Survey - The research was conducted online by Censuswide between 07 September and 10 September, among 250 respondents. The survey was conducted from a random sample of UK customer care managers. Censuswide abide by and employ members of the Market Research Society, which is based on the ESOMAR principles.
 The latest Office for National Statistics (ONS) figures show that there are 52,046,965 million people aged 16 and older in the UK. The survey showed that 29.10 per cent of respondents ranked being stuck on hold to a telephone operator their biggest annoyance of 2015 so far, which equates to 15,145,588
 According to the most recent statistics from the World Health Organisation (WHO), average life expectancy in the UK is 81 years.
 3.87 (average amount of times respondents spoke to call centres in three-month period) x 11.82 mins (average call length) = 45.74 mins x 4 (4 x 3 month periods) = 182.96 mins (annual amount of time) x 81 (average life expectancy of UK adult) = 14,819 mins / 60 (mins per hour) = 246 hours.
 246 hours / 24 (hours per day) = 10.25 days
 The National Sleep Foundation (US) recommends between 7 and 9 hours of sleep per night for adults. The average amount of days per month is 30.4. Therefore, 246 hours / 8 (median recommended amount of nightly sleep) = 30.75 (amount of days of recommended nightly sleep).
Published: Monday, October 12, 2015
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