BEDFORD, Mass., Nov. 11, 2010 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- A new survey finds the standard 3-5 hour in-home service appointment windows are costing U.S. businesses billions of dollars and causing 51 percent of consumers who have waited for a service provider to feel like prisoners in their own homes. Furthermore, the majority of consumers surveyed — 61 percent — would prefer text message notifications providing one hour's notice to ease the frustrations and inconvenience experienced with home appliance, cable, satellite and broadband service provider appointments.

The 2010 In-Home Service Appointment Survey, conducted by Harris Interactive on behalf of SoundBite Communications, Inc. (Nasdaq:SDBT), comes at a time when many service providers are being criticized for limiting the convenience of how consumers schedule maintenance, repair and installation appointments.  Amid intensifying competition and heightened customer service expectations, the results show how greater consumer flexibility, control and transparency could help build the long-lasting relationships and loyalty that are needed for service provider growth.

Key survey findings include:
  • 72 million Americans feel service providers are making them a prisoner in their own homes: Three-quarters (76 percent) of consumers are inconvenienced by traditional multi-hour service windows.  These experiences have left half of respondents "feeling like a prisoner in their home".  This translates into approximately 72 million Americans.
  • Appointments costing $13.4 billion 1 in lost workplace productivity: Eighty-one percent of consumers report having to take time off from work or adjust their schedules, to ensure they are home during the service appointment window.  This translates into more than $13.4 billion in lost productivity for U.S. businesses.  
  • Consumers report text messaging is the answer: If given the option, the majority of consumers would opt-in for text notifications with more specific technician arrival times.  Specifically:
  • Almost two-thirds (61 percent), equivalent to more than 108 million Americans, would be interested in text messages providing a one-hour notice of the technician's arrival, and over half (56 percent) would provide their mobile number to receive these types of text messages.
  • Sixty percent indicated text messaging would be a more convenient way to interact or reschedule appointments.
  • More than half (54 percent) of survey respondents stated offering a shorter window of time for scheduled service appointments would greatly improve their satisfaction and overall perception of the company.

A desire for text messaging status updates is not limited to Generation Y.  More than two-thirds (68 percent) of respondents aged 18-54 indicated they would be interested in receiving text message alerts providing a one-hour notice of the technician's arrival time.

"This survey shows today's consumer clearly wants in-home service providers to be more respectful of their time, and to use the latest technology to better communicate expected arrivals," said Mark Friedman, chief marketing and business development officer of SoundBite Communications.  "Businesses simply cannot survive under the status quo and should provide new options that give customers greater control over the ultimate touch point: in-home service.   Text messaging is clearly a viable and high-demand solution to build long-term loyalty and customer satisfaction."

2010 In-Home Service Appointment Survey Methodology

This Harris Poll National Quorum® was conducted by telephone within the United States between September 29 and October 4, 2010 among 1,008 adults (aged 18 and over), of whom 662 have waited for a service provider to install, repair or replace a home appliance, television or Internet service in their home.  Figures for age, sex, race/ethnicity, education, region, number of adults in the household, and number of phone lines in the household were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population. Click here to view the full survey findings. 

For More Information

To learn about SoundBite's In-Home Service Appointment Solution, visit http://www.soundbite.com/solutions/industry-solutions/in-home-service-appointments-solution . To view SoundBite's In-Home Service Appointment Solution press release, visit http://www.soundbite.com/about-us/news-events .

About SoundBite Communications

SoundBite Communications is a leading provider of on-demand, multi-channel proactive customer communications solutions designed to transform the way organizations communicate throughout the customer lifecycle to build trusted, lifelong and profitable relationships. Clients can leverage SoundBite's proactive customer communications offering and expertise in designing, executing and optimizing communications strategies to engage in relevant customer interactions that deliver long-term business value. Visit SoundBite.com for more information.

The SoundBite Communications, Inc. logo is available at http://www.globenewswire.com/newsroom/prs/?pkgid=4393

1 This figure is based on 162 million consumers facing an average of 4-hour wait windows and the average hourly wage of Americans provided by the Department of Labor.

SoundBite is a registered service mark of SoundBite Communications, Inc.

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