Dealers Risk Losing Business by Submitting Callers to 35 Seconds of “Irritation”

A study of 2,234 U.S. consumers found 59% will not do business with a company again if their first call isn’t handled to their satisfaction

April 26, 2017 — Automotive dealerships in the U.S. risk losing business by making customers wait on hold for more than half a minute, new research has revealed.

Every call made to companies in the sector as part of the large-scale study, conducted by audio branding specialist PHMG, was put on hold, compared to a national average of 70%. Those callers are being forced to wait for 34.78 seconds on average, which also compares unfavorably to the national average of 29.83 seconds.

To make matters worse, they are left listening to inappropriate audio, which could increase the risk of caller hang-ups. The research discovered 45% of automotive dealers leave customers waiting in silence, while 29% use generic music and 10% subject callers to beeps.

Mark Williamson, CEO at PHMG, said,: “The research results do not reflect particularly well on the dealership sector, as few firms appear to be employing a best practice approach to call handling. It’s worrying that customers are being left on hold for over 35 seconds as this can be a major irritation for customers, but what makes matters worse is that they are left in silence or listening to poor-quality music, which increases the risk of hang-ups.

“A previous study of 2,234 U.S. consumers found 59% will not do business with a company again if their first call isn’t handled to satisfaction. Therefore, it is important companies do everything they can to improve the experience.

“The same consumer study also revealed 65% of customers feel more valued if they hear customized voice and music messages on hold. By ensuring all audio is professional and brand congruent, companies can drastically improve customer experience and begin shaping behavior by tapping into the psychological power of sound.”

This latest study also found legal firms answer the phone within an average of three rings, but only 1% use an auto-attendant service to greet callers outside of normal business hours.

About PHMG

PHMG is the world’s largest audio branding agency, with offices in Manchester, London, and Chicago, and more than 22,000 clients in 39 countries worldwide. PHMG’s core audio products include Audio Branding, On-Hold Marketing, Out-of-Hours Messaging, and Auto Attendant Voicing. These services involve the creation of targeted marketing messages for businesses to play whenever telephone callers are put on hold or transferred, designed to reinforce brand values and increase sales.

For further information about PHMG, please call 1-800-673-3405 or visit their website at:

Media Contacts

Connor Murphy or Jennifer Lever, Cameron Wells Communications, +44 161 973 4158, or email

Press Release


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