If providers of outsourced call center services see their average handle time (AHT) for calls creep up, it may be that “slow talkers” are affecting this key call center metric.

Where could these slow talkers be calling from? New research from the Marchex Institute has identified the states with the slowest talkers (measured by words per minute) in the U.S.

And…they…happen…to…be…from…the…South: residents of Mississippi take the top spot for slow talking, followed by Louisiana, South Carolina, Alabama and North Carolina.

The Marchex Institute is the research arm for Marchex, a provider of mobile advertising analytics. In its report, “America’s Speech Patterns Uncovered,” the researchers analyzed more than four million phone calls from consumers placed to businesses across a broad swath of industries. In addition to identifying states with slow talkers, the study uncovered the country’s Top 5 fastest-talking states: Oregon, Minnesota, Massachusetts, Kansas and Iowa.

The study also revealed the country’s most impatient states, as measured by residents most likely to hang up when put on hold: they are Kentucky, Ohio, North Carolina and New York. Across the array of industries examined by the researchers, the median hold time for callers was over six minutes.

“America has become an ‘I want it now’ culture, said John Busby, Marchex senior VP of Marketing and consumer insights. “Putting customers on hold puts businesses at huge risk. With a smartphone in everybody’s hand, it’s easier than ever for consumers to hang up and call a  competitor.”

Texas, home to DATAMARK, is another Southern state ranking high for slow talkers. Adjacent New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Arkansas also are home people who don’t mind taking their time when having a conversation.

Another factor that can affect AHT is how much a consumer tends to talk. Marchex researchers also examined talkativeness, as measured by “most words in a phone conversation.” The Top 5 most talkative states are New York, California, New Jersey, Nevada and Maryland. Least talkative are residents of Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Kansas and Oklahoma.

The complete report, featuring rankings for all 50 states, can be downloaded at this link.

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