customer service wait times

Do Customer Service Wait Time Expectations Vary by Channel? [Infographic]

Daniel WeissLast updated on January 2, 2024
2 min

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You’ve reached out to the customer service team at an eCommerce company and are eager to resolve your issue. So, would you rather wait one minute or wait two minutes for a response?

Yeah, you’re right. That one’s a bit obvious.

But, just curious here, would your willingness to wait ever vary depending on the channel you’re using?

That second, more subtle question was one of many that inspired our 2019 eCommerce Customer Service Experience Study. And, for similarly curious customer service professionals, here are a few key findings from our survey of 750 online shoppers.

Quick Links

  1. Email: Reply Time Expectations

  2. Chat: Wait Time Expectations

  3. Phone: Wait Time Expectations

  4. Shareable Infographic

  5. Full Report

Email: Patient (Up to a Point)

When our surveyed shoppers were asked how soon they expect a reply to email inquiries, the vast majority (94%) reported that they want a response within 24 hours.

More specifically, nearly half (48%) expect their responses within 6 hours while 15% are looking for an answer in their inbox within 60 minutes.

So while it seems customers appreciate prompt email replies, they are willing to go about their business while your business works toward a productive resolution.

Chat: Please Answer ASAP

Website chat tools — and the support reps behind the controls — are under a lot of pressure from modern shoppers.

An overwhelming 96% of those surveyed expect a response within five minutes of initiating a chat conversation.

Within that group, 80% actually want their answer within two minutes. And even more immediately, almost half (49%) of shoppers would be navigating away from your website if they didn’t see anyone typing within one minute.

So what’s the takeaway message for this medium? Acknowledge shoppers ASAP before they abandon your queue.

Phone: Resolutions On Call

No channel matches the speed requirements of website chat, but our surveyed shoppers still insisted on relatively fast responses over the phone.

After calling an eCommerce customer support team, nine in 10 customers confirmed that they’ll wait no more than 5 minutes to speak with a live agent.

Sixty percent of participants held their criteria at two minutes or less while 29% could only stomach one minute of queue time.

So while the phone channel does carry an expectation of urgency, the relative patience compared to chat suggests that callers may tolerate more wait time in exchange for a final word of resolution from a fellow human.

Sharing The Results

If this data confirms or challenges what you currently think about customer service expectations, we’d encourage you to share the infographic below along with your commentary.

Customer Service Wait Time Expectations - Aircall Infographic

Get The Full Report

Our complete report contains dozens of other interesting findings and suggestions around topics like:

  • Which channels are considered easy to use?

  • How do customers define “good” service?

  • What are the consequences of “bad” service?

See for yourself by downloading our 2019 eCommerce Customer Service Experience Survey!

Published on April 17, 2019.

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