Right Here, Right Now: How to Handle Customers’ Changing Perception of Time

February 28, 201910min

“Time heals all wounds,” they say… except for consumers. For them, it seems time actually exacerbates all wounds.

We 21st century customers have become used to having virtually all we want – from online shopping to real-time support – in the blink of an eye and the click of a mouse. Waiting (impatiently), on the other hand, causes us all sorts of brand allergies and long-term intolerance.

This might have to do with consumers’ changing perceptions of time when it comes to customer service and Customer Experience.

Time through time

Time is a slippery concept to grasp and define.

Without looking at the multi-dimensional and distorted scientific context of space-time, and leaving aside the concept of time as ‘the suitable moment/season’, I’ll only focus on present time. That’s right: present (or mostly programmed), because past or future time is just a time to remember or imagine.

We often think of time as seconds, minutes, hours, and days, but these are the units of measure of time, and not time itself.

By definition, time is “the indefinite continued progress of existence and events” (OED), or the interval between beginning and end, and vice versa.

In today’s commercial world, time might be best defined as the passing of each instant between when consumers want something and when they’re going to get it. Between wish and relish – or anger and alleviation. And this time seems to be ticking on a clock of its own.

Tech revolution & CX

The technological revolution has certainly contributed to create a widespread sense of urgency, as Dr Anastasia Dedyukhina argues, but what impact did it specifically have on customer expectations?

Recent research from Salesforce shows that, on average, 64 percent of consumers (out of a sample of 6,700 people worldwide) expect immediate replies from the companies they do business with. This percentage rises to 66 percent when it comes to millennial customers. What’s more, as many as 80 percent of customers agree that real-time responses positively influence brand loyalty.

This might explain why live support is no longer just optional, but an essential component of companies’ customer service tools. Because compared to the average response times of emails or social media (12-10 hours), web chat customers can have their questions answered in a matter of minutes.

At the same time, as Dan Gingiss suggests, social media has “changed the game” in customer service, giving customers more control, and forcing companies – now more than ever in the limelight – to pay more attention.

Clearly customers are gaining the upper hand in this digital reality we live in, and with their higher expectations, average response times are shrinking.

Does this mean that quantity (quick reaction) is set to triumph over quality (outstanding customer service)? Or are they both necessary to blow customers away? Of course they are, it’s 2019! So how can businesses reply to customers in a tick and nurture the company–customer relationship in 280 characters, or just a few lines?


It’s not surprising that responsiveness is increasingly emerging as the key to excellent customer service. Already, for over two decades, it’s been one of the five dimensions known as SERVQUAL, which customers use to evaluate the quality of the service they receive. The immediacy of a real-time response gives customers the reassurance they’re being listened to. It’s also a promising sign of a speedy resolution.

But along with responsiveness come other priorities, which can be easily remembered as the ABC of digital customer communication.

A – Attitude:

Virtually all companies nowadays want to be caring, empathetic, friendly and the like – or at least this is what most brand guidelines preach. So why shouldn’t customers expect just that?

There’s a plethora of strategies that front-line staff can use to come across as expected: from embracing an emotive language, to preferring warm over cold words, to controlling their tone through active verb voice. Any comeback – even the fastest one – that reveals indifference would only remind customers that their money can be better spent elsewhere.

B – Brand vs platform balance

Social media and web chat communication present a unique challenge: they require fine tuning the brand tone of voice to the platform where it’s being applied. It would be oxymoronic to sound too formal or artificial. Like travelling to Italy and not eating pizza – it’s just wrong!

On the contrary, vibrant yet professional language, a concise style, and a just touch of emojis whenever appropriate are all good rules of thumb.

C – Correct English, grammar & punctuation

It must not be easy for web chat and social media customer service advisors to be constantly fighting against time, or to be feeling the trepidation of being exposed to a global stage. Yet their writing must be 100 percent error free. There are no excuses.

Perhaps my latest web chat experience would have had a happier ending if Gyles Brandreth’s Have you Eaten Grandma? were part of companies’ compulsive readings. ‘Should of’ would have been written correctly, and ‘story’ might not have been confused with ‘storey’. Instead, was the online support faster and easier than speaking over the phone? Yes.

Did it leave a mark? Yes, but for all the wrong reasons.

As a millennial, someone might say I know very well what it means to want it all and want it now. At the same time though, I recognise that ‘fast and furious’ is not always where it’s all at in customer service. Give me a piece of communication that’s so good I wish I had written it – showing you care and using impeccable English – and you’ll make my day. As for you, you’ll make a customer.

Laura Olcelli

Laura Olcelli

Dr Laura Olcelli is a consultant and award-winning author interested in all things language. She works for T2 Linguistics, the leading provider that specialises in the commercial application of psycholinguistics (the psychology of language). She regularly writes about customer communication.

Inform. Inspire. Include.
A free way to improve your business.

Customer Experience Magazine is the online magazine packed full of industry news, blogs, features, reports, case studies, video bites and international stories all focusing on customer experience.



UK Trademark UK00002648900

EUIPO Trademark 018131832

Contact Information

For article submissions:
Paul Ainsworth

For general inquiries, advertising and partnership information:
Tel: 0207 1932 428

For Masterclass enquiries:
Tel: +44 20 86385584

Customer Experience Magazine Limited
Company number: 12450532
International House, 24 Holborn Viaduct,
United Kingdom, London, England, EC1A 2BN


Find a job in customer support with Jobsora


cbd oil: medical cbd oil coi cbd dangers of cbd oil cbd weedmaps cbd xrp oil reddit where to buy cbd oil cbd 350 vv pen broke dick cbd empire extracts cbd cbd nano ultra organic cannabis oil cbd rich cbd oil oral or topical is vaping cbd oil bad for you fda package insert requirements afghani cbd vermont cbd cbd oil bangor maine cbd oil to buy near me best vape for cbd oil reddit cbd oil dose for children motels in melbourne cbd australia amazon green roads cbd oil how to make cbd oil from cannabis does cbd oil interact with levothyroxine cbd affiliate programs 2019 marijuana cures asthma by cbd oil paper mate inkjoy 300rt what is the definition of reduce trump legalizes cbd scare links cbd for joints marajuana oils cbd oil federal employee mama ds cbd oil best price hemp cbd oil concentrate co2 distilled water

weight loss: jorge garcia 2016 weight loss healthiest weight loss shakes ej johnson weight loss fasting weight loss weight loss tablets cheapest weight loss program spin class weight loss pictures weight loss gluten free diet plan itworks weight loss shark tank keto pills reviews cheese and weight loss revitalize weight loss cost ocean springs weight loss dr oz diet pills reviews diet food list for weight loss nursing weight loss weight loss clinic cordova tn melt down diet pills do laxatives cause weight loss weight loss powders for smoothies hytech weight loss vitamin d deficiency and weight loss weight loss before and afters blood pressure weight loss weight loss pills in walgreens healthy sandwiches for weight loss popular diet pills 1990s 30 day weight loss diet diet pills that work in 2 weeks weight loss pills after pregnancy diet pills boost metabolism water fast diet weight loss top 5 diet pills that work fast white magic diet pills leanfire xt side effects omega pills for weight loss

vape: expensive vape pen vaping zone flavors can i put water in my vape spinner ii vape vape app salt vaporizer jewel vape nicotine voopoo drag metal gear theme china vape supplies vape lung how to turn off smok vape uwell whirl 22 shutdown receta de tacos al vapor double barrel vape nike vapor lite running backpack rdta steam crave cosmic vapor lounge vape salt juice biggest ecig battery strawberry cheesecake vape juice ecig mouth piece mod vapes to buy southest ecig vape full kit the vape juice e cigarette smoking machine smok tfv8 stick nautilus aio review best vapor mod kits e square mod smok black friday uwell nunchaku bypass mode uwell caliburn not working tfv12 price case for voopoo drag nano usa smoke shop

male enhancement: estrogen boosting supplements height to penile length chart wellbutrin depression worse 4 inch penis girth alternative to viagra itraconazole generic sex pill that works male sexual supplements off brand names viagra use the best sex pill for man steel libido reviews side effects best big cock exercises to make penis larger permanent male enhancement erection pills that work penis enlargement surgery los angeles lack of erections average penis side how to be better in bed for him mens sexual prime male sex sites viagra commercial actress 2020 viagra commercials lemon drugs super male t reviews panax ginseng reviews definition of desire herbs for blood circulation prostate problems and sex foods good for ed leopard penis drug making games does masturbation increase size girls talk about penis size sperm composition