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Surprising Find: Which US States Are The Most Gabby?

by Colin Shaw on March 3, 2016

For years, I have talked about the emotional context of your experience both from the emotional state your customers bring to it and the cues your experience provides to them. New research reveals other important factors affect people’s emotional perception of your experience as well: where they live.

The Marchex Institute released a study that measured the speech patterns of the 50 states. They analyzed four million phone calls from 2013 to 2015. Their technology examined conversation and silence, ringtones and hold times. The results show many sets of data, including which state’s residents talked the fastest and the most, as well as those that were most likely to hang up when put on hold.  The report reveals a few remarkable facts, including:

  • All consumers are less patient than in the past, making it imperative that businesses adapt their experience to accommodate them.
  • The average U.S. consumer speaks between 110 and 150 words , faster than in the past.
  • Slowest talkers tend to be from the South, and the fastest from the Pacific Northwest.
  • New York and California residents talk the most; Oklahoma and Kansas residents talk the least.
  • The most impatient callers were in Kentucky and Ohio, being the most likely to hang up on hold; callers in Louisiana and Colorado were the most patient.

To get a full copy of the Marchex Institute study, please click here to register.

The implications the Marchex research reveals for your Customer experience are thought-provoking, to say the least. It also demonstrates an important principle of taking your Customer Experience to the next level: the more you know about your Customers, the more you can adapt your experience to appeal to them.

Take for instance the likelihood that your caller will feel frustrated when on hold for your call center and hang up on you. Chances are, the call center experience you provide for the residents of Kentucky and Ohio is the same as you provide for the inhabitants of Louisiana and Colorado. But the perception of residents in Kentucky is that they aren’t being cared for properly, and you aren’t worth the wait. So they hang up and likely feel disappointed with your experience.  In Louisiana, however, residents perceive that you are worth the wait, although the research doesn’t indicate whether they will be happy about it once you do pick up the call. The perception is different because the expectation is different.

When we consult our clients about how to improve their Customer Experience, we always talk about the expectations of Customers. These expectations are based on a number of factors, not the least of which is the personality of the person who has them. Taking into account these personality-driven expectations is one of the more advanced concepts we cover in our Advanced Customer Experience Management training.

Every organization has customer groups. These groups called Customer Personashave shared characteristics that help define what they value in a Customer Experience. Once you identify and set these values, you can then adapt your experience to appeal to the the types of customer you have.

When you put this concept into context with what the Marchex report reveals, you change the experience you provide to meet their expectations. For example:

When talking to a customer from California, expect to chat a little.

Taking a call from a customer from Oregon? Then, listen closely because the information is coming at you fast.

Also, if you do happen to get to a person in the queue from Ohio before they hang up on you, be prepared to take a conciliatory stance; these customers are likely to be hacked off for waiting on hold!

Customer Experience improvement is always a moving target. This latest research shows how regions affect a Customer’s emotional perception of your experience. There are many factors we discover all the time that influence the overall Customer Experience people have with you. It is important to learn as much as you can about your customers so you can appeal to what they value most.

What do you think? Are regions a big factor in how you manage your Customer Experience? I’d love to hear your added insight in the comments below.

Colin ShawSurprising Find: Which US States Are The Most Gabby?