I have read that the average attention span is down from 12 seconds in the year 2000 to eight seconds now, which is less than the nine-second attention span of your average goldfish.
However, according to an article I read on BBC News about experts who study human attention, these experts don’t know where those numbers came from. They believe that the people’s attention spans are not getting shorter.
So perhaps it is not a shorter attention span, as it is that people do not have as much patience as they used to. In the days before telephones, computers, the internet, email, Twitter, Facebook, etc., we actually had to take the time to go see someone about a customer service problem. Sometimes it could take days just to get there as most of the shops closed at 5pm, just as people were getting out of work.
We also could not berate the business or product in question on their lack of service to a large audience because there were no platforms that reached thousands or millions of people in less than 3 seconds. We could tell our neighbors or write a letter to the newspaper, but that was about it.
The nice thing about it taking longer to get a problem solved was that it gave the person with the problem more time to think it through, create some perspective and perhaps get expectations in order.
Nowadays, our ideas of what we can and should expect may sometimes be unrealistic and as much as customer service professionals do their best to meet our every expectation (and will if we give them a little time) we want instant results.
According to information from Forrester research, almost 70% of business leaders want to use the customer service experience as a competitive advantage. Unfortunately, only 37% have a dedicated budget for customer service improvement initiatives.
Most of us, when we have a complaint or problem, are looking for a more personal approach. We want the answer to our question now if we are talking to a person, or the information that could provide the answer we expect it to be if we are online.
So perhaps a little more patience would not go amiss. As patience is something I don’t possess a lot of, I am working on it and have found that slowing down life a little, is not necessarily a bad thing. Life is going fast enough without me hurrying it along.
A tip of the glass from me to you