Smartphone usage leaves Brits with short fuse

Smartphone usage leaves Brits with short fuse

Smartphone usage leaves Brits with short fuse


Digital devices and social media have transformed Great Britain into an impatient nation, according to research released by customer service specialists KANA Software. So much so that consumers' patience in some instances have truncated from 10 days to 10 minutes in the space of a generation. It could also mean the end of queuing in the UK!

Kana have developed something called the Impatience Index, and if you're too impatient to read on, in summary, men are more impatient than women. Nothing new there, but if you do have the patience to expand on this:

  • Men are generally more impatient than women. Men will check a device for responses on average every 22 minutes, 30 seconds. Women will check every 26 minutes, 15 seconds.
  • The 65+ age group checks devices more frequently than the 45-64 year old group, reflecting the time they have available and their newly developed digital capabilities. This suggests digitally enabled pensioners will become the prolific and demanding complainants within five years.
  • One-fifth of all social media users will check for a response at least once an hour, with one in 20 checking every 10 minutes or more.

The most frequently checked devices across all age groups are:

  • Email on smartphone – every 36 minutes
  • Checking Twitter for replies – every 39 minutes
  • Checking phones for texts – every 48 minutes
  • Checking for mixed calls – every 49.25 minutes
  • Checking PC or laptop for email – every 54 minutes
  • Checking Facebook for messages – every 57 minutes
  • Checking voicemail – every 1 hour 5 minutes

The following details the frequency by age with which consumers check for responses on any device:

  • 18-24 check their phone every 9 minutes, 50 seconds
  • 25-34 check their phone every 9 minutes, 55 seconds
  • 35-44 check their phone every 21 minutes            
  • 45-54 check their phone every 36 minutes
  • 65+ check their phone every 47 minutes
  • 55-64  check their phone every 1 hour, 30 minutes

“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. This no longer applies,” says David Moody, head of worldwide product strategy at KANA. “Public-facing organisations have to recognise the adoption of social channels is truncating customer service processes. With smartphones acting as digital umbilical cords, the modern consumer is always connected. Unfortunately for service desks, ‘working days’ are an outdated concept.”

KANA asked a statistically representative sample of UK adults how frequently they checked for communication responses on their devices. The key findings:

Additional Findings

KANA’s polling also found that the average UK consumer has routinely used more than seven digital communication channels in the past year, challenging most customer-facing businesses. The explosion of social media platforms targeted at consumers in the past 10 years and ease of adoption are creating headaches for businesses as more consumers take to social platforms, such as Facebook and Twitter, to seek help and air their grievances about poor service.

The average UK adult spends a “fraughtnight” — or nearly two weeks — each year waiting for service, making complaints and using digital channels to direct their ire at companies that provide poor service.

The average UK consumer has used 7.4 channels of electronic communication in the past six months. Amongst 18-to-24 year olds, this figure rises to 8.4 channels. The figure is lowest in the 65+ age bracket, but even this age band uses 6.2 methods of electronic communication.

The poll found that an astonishing two weeks each year – equivalent to the amount of time typically taken for a summer holiday – are lost by every adult simply trying to get the service they need or expect from private and public sector organisations.

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