APRIL 29, 2015

People in the West unhappy with the way businesses answer the phone

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Less than a third of people in America's West are satisfied with the way businesses handle their phone calls, new research has revealed.

The countrywide study of 2,234 consumers, conducted by audio branding specialist PH Media Group, discovered just 31 percent of respondents are pleased with companies' phone manner.

This compares to the U.S. average of 32 percent and means people in the West are the least satisfied in the nation. The Northeast and South are the happiest, each with a satisfaction rate of 33 percent, closely followed by the Midwest (32 percent).

"Poor call handling is a common complaint for American consumers but this research suggests businesses are still not doing enough to improve standards and delight customers," said Mark Williamson, Sales and Marketing Director, PH Media Group.

"There is perhaps a tendency among companies to focus their attention and budgets on visual marketing and Internet presence but the telephone remains a crucial aspect of branding, marketing and sales.

"Regardless of where callers live, they have sent a clear message to American businesses that overall call handling standards must improve."

The study, which is the largest of its kind conducted in America, also found women are more unhappy than men. Only 31 percent are happy with the way their calls are handled, compared to 34 percent of men.

Older people were found to be particularly dissatisfied, with only 28 percent of 45 to 64-year-olds claiming to be happy with how their calls are handled, compared to 37 percent of 18 to 34-year-olds.

"Businesses seem to have lost touch with older customers, which should provide cause for concern given this generation are less inclined to seek information online than their younger counterparts," added Williamson.

"If companies want to have a wide appeal, it is essential to maintain high service standards across all customer touchpoints.

"Responding to calls quicker or establishing a set practice for answering the phone both represent a good start but true best practice can be achieved by implementing tools such as on-hold marketing - bespoke voice and music messages that are played on hold - in order to establish top-class service and a congruent brand across all touchpoints with customers."