SOURCE: TOA Technologies

TOA Technologies

October 05, 2010 03:00 ET

UK Businesses Count Cost of Poor Customer Service as 11 Million Brits Left Waiting Switch Providers or Cancel Orders

TOA Technologies' 2010 Cost of Waiting Survey and Report Uncovers the True Economic Cost of Waiting for Consumers and Businesses; Phone Companies Fare the Worst

LONDON--(Marketwire - October 5, 2010) -  Being forced to wait at home for a service or delivery appointment is a frustrating experience for today's busy consumer and it's also an expensive one. The 2010 Annual Cost of Waiting Survey(1) and Report conducted by TOA Technologies, a software company uniquely focused on putting an end to waiting without knowing, sheds new light on the economic impact of waiting for in-home appointments. The report, published today, found 79% of adult Brits have waited at home for utilities, cable/satellite TV, Internet, retail home deliveries, groceries and other services in the past year. According to the report, the average cost to the consumer for waiting is about £457.20 per person annually (based on consumer reporting). British consumers that have waited-in over the last year have done so more than five times (5.3), for an astonishing average wait of more than four hours per appointment (4.05 hours).

TOA's 2010 Cost of Waiting Survey puts a clearer consumer price tag on waiting at home for an appointment:

  • Over a fifth (21%) of Brits have lost wages waiting for an appointment in the past year.
  • 39% have taken a day's holiday to wait in for a delivery or service call.
  • On average companies make respondents wait over an hour (1.13 hrs) longer than customers expected for an appointment.
  • 57% have cancelled personal plans to wait for an appointment.

Customers aren't the only ones who suffer from waiting at home for an appointment. Businesses are also losing money and damaging their reputations by making people wait. The margin of time companies have to satisfy their customers is slim. The number of customers that would recommend a company sharply declines if an engineer or delivery person is just 15 minutes late. 62% of respondents said they would recommend a company for an on-time arrival, but only 11% of respondents would recommend the same company if it is 15 minutes late.

The Cost of Waiting Survey also found that:

  • 23% of Brits that wait have switched service providers in the past year as a result of wait times.
  • 17% of those asked have cancelled a service or product purchase.
  • £377.90 = average annual business lost when one Brit cancels or switches service provider, according to respondent estimates.
  • 7% of those who have cancelled or moved their business estimate it has cost the company between £1000 and £6500.
  • 56% of respondents have contacted customer service to complain about their waiting experience.
  • 16% posted a complaint online.
  • 53% have complained to friends about a waiting experience.

"The results of this year's survey show that waiting for an in-home service or delivery is a costly proposition for both consumers and businesses. Based on the survey's findings, TOA calculated British adults collectively wasted more than 825 million hours waiting in the past year. Companies that ignore the reality of consumer's time lost and the frustration that comes with waiting do so at their own risk," said Richard Alden, President of TOA Technologies Europe. "There's been a long-standing business assumption that customer service improvements are a non-value expense, but the truth is actually the opposite. Investments in solutions like TOA's ETA direct help reduce wait windows to improve customer service, while lowering operational costs, creating an important competitive edge for service providers."

Additional findings of interest:

  • Internet companies keep customers waiting the longest, averaging 5.9 hours for an appointment.
  • Phone companies have the worst customer satisfaction ranking, scoring just 5.1 out of 10.
  • Supermarkets are leading the way, offering the shortest delivery windows (less than two hours) and gaining the highest customer satisfaction scores, 8.1 out of 10.
  • 34% of Brits who waited gave up waiting for an appointment or delivery and left their home.
  • Low income households (earning less than £20,000/year) have the highest number of appointments averaging 5.7 appointments each year. 
  • Households with a combined income of £60,000 had fewer appointments, waiting in 4.7 times on average.
  • Nearly a quarter, 23% of low-income households who wait reported losing wages (taking time off work) to wait in for a service appointment or delivery, whilst only 13% of the highest wage earners lost earnings.
  • Northerners spend the most time waiting in for appointments/deliveries with an average of 6 in-home appointments in the last 12 months. Midlanders and the Welsh spent the least time waiting averaging 4.6 times per year. 

Consumers top 5 customer service improvements

  • 53% want a choice of time slots for a delivery/service appointment;
  • 52% would like the appointment to take place within the allotted time slot;
  • 50% would like to be contacted on the day of the appointment to confirm the appointment time;
  • 46% would like shorter wait windows;
  • 46% would like refunds or discounts for late arrival, no shows or return visits

Average time businesses make customers wait

Type of business Average wait time (hours)
Internet/broadband 5.9
Telephone 5.5
Water 5.4
Furniture delivery 4.5
Appliance repair 4.2
Cable/Satellite TV 3.8
Electricity 3.6
Gas 3.4
Home healthcare services 2.4
Supermarket (online delivery) 1.8

Customer service satisfaction scores

Type of organisation Customer service satisfaction (rating out of 10)
Supermarket (online delivery service) 8.1
Home healthcare services 7.2
Appliance/electronics repair 6.2
Furniture retailer 6.0
Gas 5.9
Cable/Satellite TV 5.9
Internet/broadband 5.6
Electricity 5.6
Water 5.5
Telephone 5.1

For a full report of the survey results, as well as TOA's 2010 Cost of Waiting media kit, please visit:

About TOA's Annual Cost of Waiting Survey:
On behalf of TOA Technologies, Vision Critical interviewed 1009 US adults, 1008 British adults and 1008 German adults, in detail, who had said they waited for at least one service or delivery appointment in the preceding 12 months. The interviews were conducted August 13th to August 23rd, 2010 online amongst members of the SpringboardAmerica, SpringboardUK and German partner panels, who were actively sampled to be representative of the wider adult population using a quota method. The full dataset for the US and UK (including those who did not qualify) have also been statistically weighted according to the most current Census data for gender, age and region. In the US the data has also been weighted by education, and in the UK social grade to ensure accurate representation of population in those markets. The margin of error is ±3.1%, 19 times out of 20. Discrepancies in or between totals are due to rounding. TOA conducted its first Cost of Waiting Survey in 2009.

About TOA Technologies
TOA Technologies is the leading provider of Cloud-based mobile workforce management applications for large and medium-sized enterprises. TOA's patented platform improves customer service while dramatically reducing operational costs and delivering immediate return on investment. As the industry's only complete on-demand solution using predictive, time-based analytics, TOA reduces customer wait times while increasing field workforce efficiency. TOA's system deploys quickly, is highly configurable and is easily integrated with existing CRM solutions. Named Best of Breed and Visionary solution in Gartner's 2010 Magic Quadrant for Field Service Management, TOA Technologies is headquartered in the United States and has offices in Europe and Latin America. For additional information please visit

(1) The TOA Technologies Cost of Waiting Report was conducted by international research firm Vision Critical in August 2010 and polled over 3000 consumers that had waited in for a delivery in the UK, US and Germany (over 1000 respondents in each country).

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