This wouldn’t be our first blog on the concept of placing customers on hold. And the reason we’re returning to this topic is because it’s a business facet that often goes overlooked. Consider the entire “putting a customer on hold” process one that generally goes into the “take it for granted” category. And, by that, we mean that far too many businesses seem to take it for granted that they can place their customers on hold without going through the proper procedures.
We know this because we are customers too. And, like you, we have experience calling companies for customer service only to be met with such phrases as “hold on a second” or “I’m going to place you hold while I look into that for you”. These statements may not seem all that bad at first listen. But they are harder on the ear than you may assume.
Allow us to present you with five important steps to properly placing customers on hold:
1. Ask permission.
It’s the simple difference between “I’m going to place you on hold” and “Is it okay if I place you on hold?” Yes, the difference may seem small, but it’s very significant. When you ask the caller for permission, you are showing respect. You are acknowledging that the caller is a valued customer and you wish to demonstrate that he/she is actually in control of the call.
2. Provide a time frame.
Let’s take step number one just one step further, shall we? The full question should go something like this: “May I place you on hold for a about a minute or two while I take a look into that for you?” Not only are you showing respect through asking permission, but you are offering a time frame within which you expect to get the work done in order to get back to the call. This shows that you respect the caller’s time.
3. Return to the call in the time frame given.
What’s the point of step number two if you don’t actually follow through? Of course, there will be times when you’ll need additional time to complete your tasks. Be sure to return to the call in order to both inform the caller that you’ll need additional time and to provide a new time frame within which you expect to be finished. Again, this demonstrates your respect for the caller’s time.
4. Thank the customer.
When you do return from your hold, be sure to say “thank you”. It’s another simple gesture that often gets ignored. But your customers notice. “Thank you for holding” is an easy way to keep your customer in a good mood when he/she may otherwise have been annoyed at the very idea of being kept on hold. Most customers know that hold time is necessary. But it’s certainly nice to acknowledge that someone has been waiting for you.
5. Apologize for the wait.
Once again, to further the fourth point, complete your return-to-the-call statement by saying, “thank you for holding, I’m sorry to have kept you waiting”. This demonstrates your acknowledgement that the caller may have been inconvenienced by having to wait on hold. Your courtesies will go a long way in showcasing the excellence of your customer service regimen!
At MeloTel, we believe that hold time can actually provide great opportunities for your business. Contact us today to learn how the Custom Hold Music that comes with our cloud-hosted Commercial Phone Services can be uniquely created to advertise your brand. Please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-888-MELOTEL or use the Live Chat feature on our website!