When you’re suffering through the third or fourth loop of that dreaded on-hold elevator music, endlessly waiting for a human being to pick up the phone, you might start to wonder just how important your call really is to a company. And according to a recent survey, you’d be totally right: Your call isn’t nearly as important as the others.

A consumer report released in May by If By Phone, a voice-based marketing automation platform, surveyed 531 prospects and consumers and found that sales-related calls put into businesses were handled more quickly (51.1 percent handled within a minute) than existing customer calls were (21.5 percent handled within a minute). Basically, the report says that companies value the prospect’s call over the existing customer’s.

The reasons for this are clear: sales calls represent new deals (and new money), while existing customers are already under contract. But it brings into question companies’ values when it comes to customers. A customer was promised a certain level of service when buying into a contract and expects that same level throughout the life of that contract. Referrals make up a massive portion of a company’s clientele (and they’re insanely cost-effective), but that requires having happy, satisfied customers. Who’s going to refer a company that neglects the service calls of its own customers?

Said Irv Shapiro, CEO of If By Phone, in a press release, “If you aren’t perceived as a customer-facing organization, you run the risk of customers abandoning the brand when their contracts expire — and an even greater risk is that existing customers will advise their friends to steer clear of the brand. Forward thinking organizations get the buyer to the right person faster.”

More: Some Go the Extra Mile (or 3,000) for Elite Field Service.

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