Virtual Office Featured Article

Make the Most of Your Customers' Time on Hold

August 03, 2016
By Tracey E. Schelmetic - Virtual Office Resource Contributor

No matter how well run your contact center is, the need will eventually arise to put callers on hold. It may be because of an unexpected spike in call volume, or because an agent called out sick. Perhaps the customer’s problem is particularly complex and requires consultation between agents, supervisors and managers. Whatever the reason, many customers will ultimately be asked to wait on hold.

The problem is that Americans are impatient people and don’t much like to wait on hold. It’s estimated that the average American spends about 13 hours on hold each year…this leads to a startling 43 days on hold for an average lifetime. While better scheduling, call management and self-service can help, when customers still need to get put on hold, what’s the best way to keep them engaged?

In a recent blog post for (News - Alert), Kevin Ballentine remarks that we know it’s not using “muzak.”

“The tinkling piano covers of the greatest soft rock hits of the 70s and 80s are sure to drive your customers mad, if not away all together,” he observed.

Consider your customers…are they millennials? Do they tend to be older people? On-hold technologies allow companies to customize their hold music and match their customers’ tastes. This way, you have a fighting chance of actually keeping your customers online while you search for the answer to their questions, or transfer them to an agent who can help them.

Music isn’t all you can offer customers, however. Well-crafted marketing messages can help cross-sell or upsell customers who are waiting for an agent. Here, too, it’s important to think about what message would attract your customers the most. Avoid overly generic or obnoxious marketing messages (“Acme Corporation is the greatest!”). Customization should be your primary goal.

On-hold solutions providers such as offer professional recording services with script consultation, voice talent, licensed music, studio production and ongoing support. These services will give your business a professional voice and create an effective audio brand for your company. Even small companies can customize on-hold messages using male and female voices ranging from young and vibrant to mature and sophisticated in a variety of languages including English, French and Spanish.

“You select a voice, write a script that keeps the callers engaged and informed then pick your background music,” wrote Ballentine. “We record, mix and deliver the final message within three business days in most cases. Voices are also available for website audio, virtual greeting cards, online and recorded presentations, voicemail messages, overhead announcements and more.”

While there are some customers who will refuse to wait under any circumstances, for the ones that stick around, the experience shouldn’t be harrying. While you may not be able to prevent the need to put customers on hold at some point, you can prevent customers from being annoyed by poor quality music or amateurish marketing messages. 

Edited by Alicia Young

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