The subject of placing callers on hold came up at a client’s managers meeting yesterday. It always amazes me when companies have no clue what their customers experience while on hold. Most managers and CSRs go about their business without giving it a thought. It might be worthwhile for you to take a look at the total amount of time your customers sit on hold on a given day, week, month or year. I’ll bet you’d be amazed.
So what is the ideal hold experience you can provide when your customer is sitting on hold?
- Brand the hold experience. First, you need to think about your business, your brand, and your customer’s situation. What you present to them while they are on hold should be tailored to your particular situation. For example, the large, conservative financial services company we were meeting with would not want to subject their customers to the music of the Sex Pistols.
- Provide options. If possible, you should also give customers some kind of "opt out" option while they are on hold without simply having to hang up. If a customer knows they can press a number to leave a message for the CSR who was helping them or get to an operator they are far less likely to feel they are being held hostage by the hold.
- Avoid music and messages that "loop" over and over. About the sixth time your customer hears that robotic voice on hold telling them "your call is important to us" they begin to think of all sorts of cynical, sarcastic, unprintable thoughts. Likewise, I remember being put on hold at Best Buy once and was surprised to hear the opening strains of a classy Miles Davis’ tune. After a few seconds the song faded out so they could tell me my call was important and then the song started again, and again, and again, and again. About the fifth time I heard the beginning of the song I wanted to retch. The hold experience was making me angrier, not calmer.
What if you did something unexpected and magical for your customers while they were on hold?