"Please hold the line." For how long?
24th July 2017
Average wait time: 90 seconds. Longest 5 minutes. Good or bad?
I obsess over customer service – how do we give our customers wonderful service, whilst at the same time keep prices low?
In an ideal world, every time someone calls they’d get answered without waiting, and would get wonderful service. This is totally possible. But it’s not cheap – there are times of the day when no-one is calling, and times of the day when dozens of people are calling. To have zero wait time, we might need dozens of team members on standby, ready to answer each call immediately – but to do this would be expensive, and most of the time the team would be doing nothing.
Trying to get the balance right is a critical part of our job – keeping waiting times as close to zero as possible, but accept that at peak times some customers may wait. And sometimes, some customers might wait longer than we’d like.
We also want to make sure that when we do speak to you we do a great job – not following scripts or passing you from one department to another where you waste your time on hold or repeating your request to each person you speak to.
So our team are all super-bright, and usually one person can solve the whole of any issue.
Did you know we don’t have call centres?
Most companies have a call centre where a bank of people take calls. We don’t. If you call Octopus, you get straight through to an energy specialist – someone who can deal with any issue and usually solve it straight away. Our team are not measured on “call length” or “cost per call”, but on whether we solve your problems and make you happy.
And we know that speaking to an energy company is no-one’s idea of fun. Indeed, you should never have to do it.
Our website and app are pretty good – we obsess over making them easy to use. For example, you can give meter readings online without even logging in. No need to remember a password – just click on the link in our email and you’re straight in. It’s so much faster than phoning.
If you do need to get in touch, email is the best way. We usually answer within a few hours, during the week and at weekends, and doing it all in writing means there’s no risk of misunderstanding, or of waiting ages on hold. Customers who use email to deal with us consistently are happiest.
But if you really do want to phone, we’re delighted that you’ll be talking to a real specialist, who actually cares. And if it takes a while for us to answer, please do remember good things are worth waiting for 😊
Anyway, I wanted to give you the facts. Here’s a handy table to help you decide when to call:
Average call waiting times:
And, really, you should try email. It’s so liberating being able to fire off your question on your way to work, and find the answer waiting for you before you come home – or that we’ve sorted it and you can just get on with your day.
Finally, I love hearing from customers – if you have any thoughts on this topic, just drop me an email (firstname.lastname@example.org – I read them all and usually respond same day).
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