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What is the psychology behind three rings?

B

biboy2012

#1
I am wondering why such things as "answer the phone before the third ring" must be written down in instructions.
Taken from:
I'm trying to write detailed Customer Service Work Instructions


I've heard technical explanation about 2 to 3 rings a caller hear but the reciever does not. Certain delay before a receiver starts to hear the ringing.

Anyway, I would be interested in seeing the psychology behind three rings. I tried googling the "psychological explanation", but no luck.
 
#2
Taken from:
http://elsmar.com/Forums/showthread.php?t=53094


I've heard technical explanation about 2 to 3 rings a caller hear but the reciever does not. Certain delay before a receiver starts to hear the ringing.

Anyway, I would be interested in seeing the psychology behind three rings. I tried googling the "psychological explanation", but no luck.
First, you can amass empirical evidence about "when" the receiving phone begins to ring versus the number of rings the caller hears before the connection is completed by lifting the receiving phone. Simply dial up the busiess phone with a cell phone while standing next to the receiving phone and note how many rings are heard on the calling phone before the first ring sounds on the receiving phone. I have a hunch this may be different for different phone systems.

The psychology of phone answering within 3 rings

Frankly, although I've seen the same advice about how soon to answer the phone (as described in this generic phone how to list), many times over the years, but never recall seeing a psychological justification.

I've always considered it a matter of creating an impression that the business at the receiving end of the call is alert and organized and adequately staffed, ready to do business with any and every caller. In my own businesses (until my semi-retirement a few months after Sept 11, 2001), we always had humans, not machines, answer the phone during business hours. Our off-hour answering machine messages always offered the option of an emergency number to call if action were required. The duty officer on call was empowered and capable of handling most urgent actions and would. of course, involve more people from our organization or outside experts as required.

From a caller's viewpoint
, I'm more interested in "how" the call is answered rather than how swiftly. I would much rather wait as many as ten rings before hearing a human voice IF the person who answered was able to provide some substantial progress on providing the results I craved than simply being able to "take a message." I would expect that if I called ANY brick and mortar business establishment during normal business hours, I would be able to connect with a human who could understand my request and connect me with an individual who could respond to that request. Ideally, I'd like that connection to happen within one minute, but at the very least, within that minute, I'd expect the name and rank of the person who would provide that response and a firm time window in which I could expect such response.

:topic:
I am aware (having read trade magazines for call center operations) that many incoming call centers have a policy of not answering any call that rings more than ten times before a human can grab it. The reasoning is that it is better to have a doubt whether the caller dialed correctly or there may have been a phone company glitch than the truth that there was inadequate staffing to handle the call. Seemed stupid the first time I read it and still seems stupid now!
 

somashekar

Staff member
Super Moderator
#3
Taken from:
http://elsmar.com/Forums/showthread.php?t=53094


I've heard technical explanation about 2 to 3 rings a caller hear but the reciever does not. Certain delay before a receiver starts to hear the ringing.

Anyway, I would be interested in seeing the psychology behind three rings. I tried googling the "psychological explanation", but no luck.
Not too quickly ( Caller is shocked) ...not too delayed (Caller is annoyed) ... Just right ...ring ~~ ring ~~ ring ~~ Hellooooow
You have heard of the ready >> steady >> go, the red >> amber >> green, the on your mark >> get set >> Go
It is just a convenient and smooth transition time.
 

gpainter

Quite Involved in Discussions
#4
I know from the retail side (service) we were trained to answer 3 or later. Makes the caller think that you are busy and everyone wants your service.
 
#6
Not too quickly ( Caller is shocked) ...not too delayed (Caller is annoyed) ... Just right ...ring ~~ ring ~~ ring ~~ Hellooooow
You have heard of the ready >> steady >> go, the red >> amber >> green, the on your mark >> get set >> Go
It is just a convenient and smooth transition time.
That's more subjective than anything else. If I stated my own, I'd say that the quicker the call is answered, the more happy I am. I would feel no "shock" whatsoever.
 

harry

Super Moderator
#7
That's more subjective than anything else. If I stated my own, I'd say that the quicker the call is answered, the more happy I am. I would feel no "shock" whatsoever.
3 rings is generally considered reasonable in the service industry. The first is to alert the receptionist, the second for them to get ready and the third to pick up the call but that's only possible if a full time receptionist is involved. Many receptionist today have other duties like typing, etc.
 
C

chipwitch

#8
Not too quickly ( Caller is shocked) ...not too delayed (Caller is annoyed) ... Just right ...ring ~~ ring ~~ ring ~~ Hellooooow
You have heard of the ready >> steady >> go, the red >> amber >> green, the on your mark >> get set >> Go
It is just a convenient and smooth transition time.
Just wanted to add "three on a match..." I know the cliche is that it's bad luck, but the "spot the target, aim at the target... fire," concept to which it refers is analogous to "one ring to identify a call is incoming, one ring to stop what you're doing and one ring to pick up and answer..."

Consider a typical human at home. In the days before wireless phones, 3 to 4 rings were normal if you called someone. It may be a little faster today (cell phone proximity), but only because we often have our phone in hand when a call comes in (texting, using aps etc). If we consider that this is the norm for an individual, then it is what we most readily identify with. Anything deviating too far from that with which we most readily identify, tends to arouse suspicion, from a psychology POV.

Of course there are those who will applaud the companies who deviate on either side of three rings, but the more customers that can be pleased by policy the better. I remember in the 80's, Disney World/Land would let the phones ring for an hour if necessary. They didn't have a toll free number to take reservations (presumably to keep ticket prices low...lol) and to keep their customers from having to pay for long distance fees. Still, I remember my mom and her sister being quite annoyed by it listening to endless ringing before speaking to a human.

Personally, if I owned my own call center, I'd want the highest productivity from my employees (answer on the first ring, if available) combined with making as few waves as possible. While some might appreciate an answer on ring one, very few will think three rings unreasonable. If they did, I probably wouldn't want them as a customer anyway.

I assume the OP is referring to automated incoming call monitors that force 3 rings before the call is assigned to an operator? Seems like the perfect marriage of pleasing the most customers and attaining the highest productivity.
 
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