Digital Consumers Want a Response in 10 Minutes, Not 10 Days, Finds KANA Research

Those 65-plus will become prolific and demanding within five years

Research commissioned by KANA Software has found that mobile devices are making consumers increasingly impatient when waiting for responses from companies via social media, email or other communication channels.

Five per cent of 18 to 24s now check their phone every minute, the Omnibus survey found, with men looking at their phone on average every 22 minutes and 30 seconds, slightly more than women, and digital pensioners even getting in on the act. Those aged 65-plus are now checking digital devices more frequently than the 45-64 year old group, identified in the report as becoming prolific and demanding complainants within five years.

The survey of more than 2,000 people in the UK found that email on smartphones was the most frequently checked channel, followed by Twitter and then text messages. The average UK consumer has used 7.4 different methods for electronic communication in the past six months.

“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,” said David Moody, head of worldwide product strategy at KANA. “This no longer applies.

“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. With smartphones acting as digital umbilical cords, the modern consumer is always connected. Unfortunately for service desks, ‘working days’ are an outdated concept.”

The average UK adult spends a fraughtnight — or nearly two weeks — every year waiting for companies to deal with a complaint or query and are increasingly taking to social media to complain about slow service.