No one likes being placed on hold. You can practically hear a person’s eyes rolling when he/she is asked to hold the line. And that’s because, generally speaking, waiting is fun for no one. However, when you run a company that conducts a great deal of its business over the phone, a lot of hold time is inevitable. For the most part, customers completely understand that they’ll need to be placed on hold from time to time. But there’s a technique to it that will help for the hold request to not be greeted with rolled eyes.
What is the best way to initiate a hold? It’s all about asking. Chances are that you’re going to have to place your caller on hold at some point, so it’s not like you’re really asking for permission. However, asking a caller if he/she can be placed on a hold plays a big role in improving the customer experience. “Can I ask you to please hold the line for a couple of minutes while I look into that for you?”
Asking instead of telling is a show of respect. It’s as simple as that. And you’ll notice by the example given above what elements should be included in that question. Remember to state an approximate length of time when asking a caller to hold the line. That way, he/she will be prepared to wait for that long. The last thing you want is for a customer to hang up on you. Be sure to stick to the timeframe that you give. If you’re going to take longer than expected, come back on the line to ask the customer for additional time. It’s a courtesy that goes a long way.
As well, it’s wise to communicate to your caller the reason for the hold. Letting customers know that you are reviewing their accounts, speaking with a supervisor or gathering more information is an important step in securing a customer’s satisfaction. No one wants to be made to feel that they are waiting for no good reason.
What is the best way to return from a hold? It’s all about thanking. Thank the caller for holding the line and even go so far as apologizing for the wait. “Thanks so much for holding, I’m sorry to have kept you waiting.” Is making a person hold the line while you conduct work on his/her behalf all that big a deal? For the most part, it isn’t really. But you never know what another person’s day might be like.
A person in a rush or in a bad mood may have his/her day improved – even slightly – by being shown kindness by a representative of your company. This is especially true because the apology portion of your statement takes into consideration the other person’s time. Customers truly appreciate when company representatives show them gratitude and respect. It helps to build long-term loyalty.
So, at the end of the day, the way you place a person on hold and the way you take that person off hold can make a significant impact on your customer base. It may seem like a little thing, but it can make a big difference.
At MeloTel, we offer VoIP-based Commercial Phone Services that have Custom Hold Music available as one of their many great features. Hold music, believe it or not, is an integral part of any hold time, mainly because it assures the caller that he/she has not been disconnected. This works wonders in the world of customer retention.
For more information about our Commercial Phone Services, please don’t hesitate to contact us at 1-888-MELOTEL or use the Live Chat feature on our website!