Tweets reveal customers face half-hour wait to speak to bank

An analysis of social media postings by infuriated customers trying to contact their bank has estimated the average phone wait time is now more than half an hour.

Unsurprisingly, the views expressed in tweets become more angry and agitated as the waits extend, according to the research carried out by Adoreboard.

The analytics firm based at Queen's University in Belfast uses complex mathematical algorithms to detect emotions expressed by people posting online.

It analysed 67,000 tweets by customers with accounts at 22 banks over a six-month period.

The company's data scientists said when the subject of the tweet was to do with call wait times, feelings of disgust increased by 84%, with anger increasing by 74%.

The research found that while delays on the phone caused severe annoyance, technology issues related to mobile banking apps as well as problems with banking websites also generated considerable online frustrations.

The firm claimed its study enabled banks to pinpoint the scale of rage and sadness related to their telephone and technology support services.

The social media audit found the average wait between June and December last year was 35 minutes, with some customers waiting more than an hour for a response.

Adoreboard's chief executive Chris Johnston said: "Understanding what drives customer emotions must be the starting point for all banks. Customer loyalty is key and emotion analysis unlocks the reasons why customers may switch banks.

"Clearly, competition across UK banks is increasing. During the six months of our study, more than 400,000 people decided to move their current accounts elsewhere.

"Banks will increasingly aim to create and compete for customer emotional reactions that inspire loyalty.

"The challenge is to achieve this for those customers who have adapted to digital online advances, and others who continue to rely on the time-tested advantage of one-to-one telephone interactions."

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