It’s unavoidable. Despite your desire to answer every call in a timely manner, some clients will be placed on hold. Though it is inconvenient, clients and customers can have a positive experience while waiting to speak with your team.

Have you really thought about how to leverage your captive audience’s time to your benefit?

First and foremost, your message on hold program is a great way to highlight your customer service skills. Beyond customer service, on-hold time can also educate clients about your business and services offered.

Yet despite all the positives, one small error can create an obstacle to meeting a customer’s need.

To help you satisfy clients and make the most of on-hold time, we offer guidance on avoiding the five common pitfalls:

1. Silence is Not Golden….

Perception is reality. Silence on hold is the absolute worst way to manage a call because silence makes the wait seem longer than it actually is. Callers become annoyed, and may even wonder if they were hung-up on. Providing your callers with entertaining, listening material is a key way to ensure that they will remain on the line awaiting your return. According to a CNN study, 70% of callers will hang up and 35% of those callers will not call back when silence is involved. In fact, callers who are met with silence abandon the call in less than one minute, with 90% hanging up within 40 seconds. While callers who are listening to information will wait for up to three minutes longer.

2. Tune Out Tokyo….

Having callers listen to the radio seems simple and innocuous. However when you utilize the radio to manage your on-hold time, you are susceptible to a myriad of uncontrollable factors which hurt your business. Image is important, on-air personalities, programming, and even music may incorporate inappropriate language, jokes, or songs which could be offensive to a caller. And offensive, is not the image you want to portray to your client. But an even more dangerous threat is your competitor. When your callers are placed on hold, listening to the radio, there is a very distinct possibility that a competing transportation provider will run an ad and this works against you loud and clear.

3. The Hills are Alive with the Missed Opportunities of Music…

Having callers listen to just music is not just a risk, it’s a missed opportunity. Callers on-hold are THE most captive audience your business will ever have. Message on-hold is a perfect way for a friendly, welcoming voice to introduce important information to your callers. The fact is, callers enjoy hearing about the services you offer, special promos you are running, safety information, and more. These on-hold messages can loop in background music, but with the addition of company-specific information, a clients on-hold time is now educational and entertaining.

4. Are They Ever Coming Back?

Waiting…and waiting…and waiting. Lengthy on-hold times are a barrier to client communication, and should be avoided when possible. Waiting tests a callers patience, and makes your office staff appear to lack knowledge and organization – two killers in any industry. The average person spends 60 hours per year on hold, everyone’s time is valuable, and most callers are looking for a quick answer or resolution. Keeping an eye on the calls in the ques and examining the matrices associated with your call times can help you understand how best to target and retain this group.

5. Ask Permission vs Beg Forgiveness = No Brainer…

Perhaps the mostly costly customer service error your team can make is placing a call on hold without first asking permission. And asking to place a caller on hold demonstrates that customer service is your primary concern. Customers appreciate this simple courtesy and find themselves more likely to remain on the line.



About the Author:

Rebecca Kauffman specializes in building campaigns and companies. Her background includes experience in transportation, technology, and service industries both in sales/marketing, project management, and operations. Ms. Kauffman also consults on transportation special projects in addition to marketing. She has crafted and consulted on numerous marketing messages for e-blasts, blogs, employee updates, brochures, websites and more. Ms. Kauffman consults closely with our transportation, healthcare, and hospitality clients to ensure that the right message is conveyed and captured by the audience.