Customer Preferences for Callback vs. Waiting on Hold

Do Customers Prefer a Call Back? This Study Says YES

“I’m busy right now. Let me call you back.”

This is a statement that one can be very forgiving of when it comes from a long-time friend but not so forgiving of when it comes from a company. But is that changing?

According to this recent survey by Software Advice, customers are starting to appreciate this same response from companies they do business with.

The Callback option, also know as Virtual Hold, allows a customer to leave her number when agents are busy and receive a return call when an agent is available — freeing up the customer’s time for other things.

Below are three statistics from 1,100 respondents on how customers feel about waiting on hold and their views on the callback alternative.

63% of respondents prefer a call back option instead of waiting on hold.

Customer Preferences for Callback vs. Waiting on Hold

Respondents were asked which they would prefer when all agents were busy, to hold or to get a callback the response was clear. Two-thirds chose the callback option.

Time Customers Will Hold Before Preferring a Callback

Time Customers Will Hold Before Preferring Callback

Over 50% of respondents said they would wait between one and five minutes before choosing the callback option. That illustrates to us that indeed customers want to resolve the issue at the time of the original call, but sometimes circumstances don’t make that possible.  A callback option may alleviate some frustration and provide a smoother customer experience.

The interesting statistic is that over 25% prefer the callback option over ANY waiting.

Related article: 5 Tips for Decreasing Customer Wait Time That Really Work

Time Customers Expect to Wait for a Return Call

Time Customers Expect to Wait for Return CallThe final piece of the callback puzzle is actually returning the call. And how long is too long? The majority of respondents expect a call returned within 30 minutes. The surprising result was that almost 25% said they didn’t care when the call came back. Meaning, they would rather postpone the resolution of their issue than sit on hold.

One of the interesting things about this study is the strong preference for callback that was found. However, one ingredient missing from the study is the impact that waiting and having to be called back at all has on the customer experience. In other words, it is important to remember that…

The callback option is preferred to waiting on hold; but many still prefer no waiting at all!

That being said, every company will have times when it has to put its customers on hold. Is your company using a callback option for your customers? If no, are these stats strong enough to make you rethink it?

Photo credit: Software Advice


By Adam Toporek. Adam Toporek is an internationally recognized customer service expert, keynote speaker, and workshop leader. He is the author of Be Your Customer's Hero: Real-World Tips & Techniques for the Service Front Lines (2015), as well as the founder of the popular Customers That Stick® blog and co-host of the Crack the Customer Code podcast.

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