Recent research by UK broadband provider Talk Talk suggests that we have become so spoilt by our super-fast internet speeds now loading web pages and media almost instantaneously that over 70 percent of us fly into fits of something akin to road-rage if we have to wait for more than a minute. Whilst some of us merely get bored and move on, for others things turn dangerously physical, with 19 percent of 18-44 year olds having admitted to giving into anger by throwing something.
The “point of impatience” (as Talk Talk has called it) is also being reached much quicker nowadays, with over half of those surveyed admitting to “reaching boiling point quicker than ever before”, and is relevant to both online and offline situations. Whether its waiting on hold or hanging around for a kettle to boil or expecting a reply to a text message, the time we are prepared to wait before giving into rage is getting shorter and shorter. Talk Talk’s Mark Schmid said: “The speed of the online world is making us less prepared to wait for things to happen in the offline world.”
Service providers and their customer service representatives often find themselves on the receiving end of frustrated impatience with 27 percent of the two thousand or so people surveyed saying that they have substantially increased the volume of their voice on the way to boiling point. 35 percent have demanded to speak to a manager after actually reaching the point of impatience and 37 percent have gone on to cancel a service after getting no satisfaction.
Although only one percent said that they’d resorted to physical violence against another person (in itself a worrying statistic given that the average time someone is willing to wait for a reply to a text message is just over 13 minutes), the research does highlight a few areas of concern for companies wanting to keep customers happy and loyal.
The older the better
Until customer service representatives are all made up of anger management counselors it may be some small comfort that the survey found those who were not brought up in the internet age – the oldies – to be much better at calmly dealing with modern adversities and being much more willing to wait it out.
Whilst it may be tempting, even amusing, to think that the customary cool of the average Brit is alone in being eroded by the ever-increasing pace of modern life, I’m confident that companies the world over will find the findings of Talk Talk’s survey strangely familiar.
Do you suffer from surf-rage? How long are you prepared to wait for a web page to load?