Publication - Research and analysis

Social Security Experience Panels: communicating by phone

Published: 24 Apr 2019
Directorate:
Social Security Directorate
Part of:
Research
ISBN:
9781787817531

This report considers client’s views on contacting Social Security Scotland by phone.

17 page PDF

323.6 kB

17 page PDF

323.6 kB

Contents
Social Security Experience Panels: communicating by phone
Waiting times

17 page PDF

323.6 kB

Waiting times

When call volumes are high, sometimes callers may have to be placed on hold and wait to speak to an agent. We asked respondents what they would want to happen in these circumstances. Respondents were asked to tick all that would be acceptable to them.

Eight in ten respondents (80 per cent) said they would like to be able to request a call back. Around one in four (26 per cent) said they would like to be able to leave a voicemail message, or to be directed to other ways of contacting the agency.

Table 13: What should happen if phone lines are busy (n=161)

  %
Be able to request a call back 80
Leave a voicemail message 26
Directed to other ways of contacting the agency 26


An association was observed between gender and preference to be directed to other ways of contacting the agency[12].

Female respondents tended to not want to be directed to other ways of contacting Social Security Scotland (67 per cent said 'No') compared to male respondents (23 per cent said 'No').

A further assocation was observed between respondents with a disability or long term health condition[13]. Almost three quarters of disabled respondents (75 per cent) did not want to be directed to other ways of contacting the agency, compared to half of non-disabled participants (50 per cent).

Length of hold time

If respondents chose to wait on hold rather than calling back at another time, we asked them how long they would be willing to wait to speak to an operator.

The most common wait time was between three and five minutes, with just under half (46 per cent) of respondents willing to wait this long. Just over one in ten (12 per cent) would wait longer than ten minutes, and just five per cent would wait longer than fifteen minutes.

Table 14: How long would respondents wait on hold (n=139)

  %
Between 1 and 2 minutes 15
Between 3 and 5 minutes 46
Between 5 and 10 minutes 27
Between 10 and 15 minutes 7
Longer than 15 minutes 5
Total 100


No associations were observed between how long respondents would wait on hold and age, gender or disability status.

Respondents told us that the agency should aim to minimise waiting times and answer the phone to clients as quickly as possible:

'Call waiting times can be frustrating'

'Answer the phone quickly. When a telephone system puts you on hold for an hour and tells you the call is important to them every 30 seconds, it clearly isn't!'

Some respondents said they would appreciate knowing their number in the queue and the expected waiting time when they called:

'No long phone queues. Tell me what number I am in the queue and the expected wait time.'


Contact

Email: James.Miller@gov.Scot