After 25 Seconds of ‘Irritation’ Accounting Firm Callers May Hang Up

Accounting firms in North America risk losing business by making customers wait on hold for more than 25 seconds, new research has revealed.

Every call made to companies in the accounting sector, as part of the study conducted by audio branding company PHMG, was put on hold, compared to a North American average of 70%. Those callers are being forced to wait for 25.81 seconds on average, slightly less than the North American average of 28.05 seconds.

In addition, callers are left listening to inappropriate audio, which could increase the risk of caller hangups. The research discovered 51% of accounting firms leave customers waiting in silence, while 31% use generic music and 14% subject callers to beeps.

Mark Williamson, CEO at PHMG, says, “The research results do not reflect particularly well on the accountancy sector, as few firms appear to be employing a best practice approach to call handling. It’s worrying that customers are being left on hold for over 25 seconds as this can be a major irritation for customers, but what makes matters worse is that they are left in silence or listening to poor-quality music, which increases the risk of hang-ups.

He says that a previous study of 2,234 U.S. consumers found 59% will not do business with a company again if their first call isn’t handled to satisfaction. The same consumer study also revealed 65% of customers feel more valued if they hear customized voice and music messages on hold, he says. “By ensuring all audio is professional and brand-congruent, companies can drastically improve customer experience and begin shaping behavior by tapping into the psychological power of sound.”

This latest study also found accountancy firms answer the phone within an average of three rings, but only 2% use an auto-attendant service to greet callers outside of normal business hours.