One moment, please. ... Your call is important to us. .... A representative will be with you shortly.
That's just a fraction of the 43 days the average person will spend on hold with automated customer service in one lifetime, according to a survey conducted by data collection provider ResearchNow and commissioned by TalkTo, the developer behind the business-centric texting app of the same name.
After polling 500 consumers, ResearchNow determined that 58 percent get ticked off at waiting, and 48 percent believe calling a business is useless. Overall, 86 percent said they had been put on hold when calling a business.
"This research shows how poorly the phone performs as a customer-service channel," TalkTo CEO Stuart Levinson said in a release.
Granted, Levinson is using this data to hawk TalkTo's texting app. Nevertheless, anyone who has waited to be connected to, say, an airline's customer service department, knows he has a point.
“Being put on hold is a fact of life when you call a customer-service department,” ConsumerWorld.org founder Edgar Dworksy told the Wall Street Journal's MarketWatch blog.
Being on hold nearly became a lifestyle for an Australian man who called Qantas airline to confirm a flight, back in July 2012. Andrew Kahn claimed he waited 15 hours, 40 minutes and 1 second before he hung up. "I had had enough," Kahn told the Telegraph last August.
Callers who ring up Continental Airlines can feel a bit of Kahn's pain, according to a report. In 2011, FastCustomer, a customer service tech provider, found the carrier put customers on hold for an average of 13 minutes, the longest in its study. Time didn't exactly fly with four other airlines that also made the top 10 of FastCustomer's longest-wait list: Air Canada, Delta, Southwest and JetBlue.
So the next time you have to place a call to a customer service department, make sure you have a good book handy. You're going to be on the phone a while.