7-Eleven, RadioShack Lead List of Fastest Phone Responders

By Adam Blair — November 11, 2012

In the long-gone days before electronic voice mail – even before the debut of answering machines using recording tape – "phone etiquette" mandated that callers wait to hear at least eight rings before hanging up, in order to give the person at the other end sufficient time to get to the phone. (Today, when people grow impatient waiting a few extra seconds for a Web page to load, counting eight rings would seem absurd.)

Even in those pre-answering machine days, however, well-run businesses were expected to answer calls more quickly than individuals. Today's retailers still understand that no one wants to wait for someone to pick up the phone. According to the Ifbyphone Responsiveness Index, 81% of local retail stores answer phone calls in less than 60 seconds. A complementary study conducted in May 2012 found that consumers were 59% more likely to buy and 73% more likely to recommend a brand when their call was answered in less than one minute.

Ifbyphone recently used secret shoppers to measure phone responsiveness among the nation's top retailers. There were two three-way ties and one two-way tie among the fastest retail phone responders at the local store level:

1. 7-Eleven (3 seconds)
2. RadioShack (3 seconds)
3. Wegman's (3 seconds)
4. Ace Hardware (3.2 seconds)
5. Tractor Supply Co. (3.4 seconds)
6. Dollar General (4 seconds)
7. Dillard's (4.2 seconds)
8. Supervalu (4.2 seconds)
9. Advance Auto Parts (4.2 seconds)
10. Auto Zone (6.2 seconds)
10. Williams-Sonoma (6.2 seconds)

The study also ranked how different verticals stacked up in average phone response times. While local auto parts/accessories stores answered calls in under 10 seconds, computers/electronics and housewares/home furnishings kept callers waiting around one minute or longer – an eternity in today's fast-paced environment.

Average phone responsiveness by vertical (local store level):
1. Auto parts & accessories (9.3 seconds)
2. Restaurants/fast food (17.6 seconds)
3. Hardware/home improvement (18.4 seconds)
4. Office supplies (19 seconds)
5. Sporting goods (27.1 seconds)
6. Books/music/video (29.3 seconds)
7. Apparel & accessories (34.2 seconds)
8. Drugstore/corner store (36.1 seconds)
9. Specialty/non-apparel (37.1 seconds)
10. Grocery (39.3 seconds)
11. Mass merchant (39.5 seconds)
12. Computers/electronics (58.5 seconds)
13. Housewares/home furnishings (1 minute 10 seconds)


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