29 January 2015
Research suggests that technology is making us more impatient, so how can you make sure your business meets customers’ expectations?
Is technology, particularly the internet, to blame for us becoming more impatient? We live in a culture of instant gratification; if you don’t know the answer to something, you can look it up quickly at the touch of the button or at a voice command. If you want to watch a video, you can download it. If you’ve forgotten to buy a relative’s birthday present, you can search online, buy it and have it delivered on the same or next day.
As timescales have reduced, our expectations have risen. People no longer find it acceptable to wait for a response to a query or for something they’re buying. This post discusses why consumers are now more impatient and how to make sure your business doesn’t lose out by keeping customers waiting.
Interparcel.com, an online parcel broker surveyed 2,000 people and found that patience levels are falling compared to a generation ago. We’re becoming less tolerant, with one third agreeing that they had ‘no patience’ generally and one in two admitting to becoming less patient in the last five years. Three quarters of respondents blamed the internet for making them more demanding.
The study found the following average patience times:
Perhaps unsurprisingly, bosses come in third as being the people most likely to test people’s patience, behind family and partners, while interestingly, more men describe themselves as very patient compared to women.
A spokesman for the firm said “The results provide a revealing insight into how long our patience lasts and when it really gets tested. It’s interesting to see the limits in the various scenarios and how strong British patience really is and we live in an age where things move fast.”
Supporting this study is research by customer service specialists KANA software, which suggests that social media and digital services have transformed consumer tolerance levels. Consumers will no longer wait for several working days for a response, with expectations shrinking to minutes or hours and ‘working days’ becoming an outdated concept.
Many larger businesses have responded to the ‘I want it now’ culture, for example by introducing fast lanes and self-service checkouts to give customers more sense of control. While these solutions may not be relevant or possible for smaller businesses, there’s still plenty you can do to match your customers’ expectations; whether it’s responding to a sales call or ensuring your customer receives their product.