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July 29, 2016

The Importance Of Practicing Excellent Hold Time Etiquette

Most often, the impression that one has of a business is determined by his/her interactions with its customer service department. It doesn’t matter how great a company’s products and services are, if its customer service representatives don’t treat their customers right, the image of that brand will be severely tarnished. For smart business owners, who care a great deal about their companies’ reputations, customer service is a top priority.

Even the smallest things can have the biggest impacts. Take, for example, the way your customer service reps put people on hold. Do they simply say “hold on please” or do they ask their customers “Can I place you on a brief hold while I look into that for you?” You may think the end result is the same – but the impressions are not. As always, people like being treated with respect. And how you place customers on hold says a lot about how much you respect them.

What is the most respectful way to put a customer on hold? Well, let’s start by saying that no one likes waiting. So having to be put on hold isn’t exactly everyone’s favourite activity. Keep this in mind when you begin the hold. Sometimes, acknowledging the taking up of the caller’s time as an inconvenience helps for hold times to go a lot smoother. “I’m sorry this may take a few minutes to complete. Can I place you on hold for a minute or two while I work on it?”

This apology makes clear that you’re aware that hold time isn’t all that fun. It’s a show of respect that will keep a customer waiting…and not angrily. As well, it’s hugely important to ask a customer if he/she can be placed on hold instead of just telling a customer that hold time is necessary. In the couple of examples given in today’s blog, you’ll notice that the customer is asked if the hold can be performed.

Now, the vast majority of the time, you’ll receive a positive response. But for that once-in-a-blue-moon moment when you get a customer who insists that he/she not be placed on hold, you’ll be glad you asked the question. The level of customer satisfaction is always determined by the customer. And if he/she is given the option and chooses not to be placed on hold, you’ll have done your entire company a favour by having met that specific request.

In what other ways can you ensure customer satisfaction when hold time is necessary? Be sure to check back on your customer. It’s wise to always give an approximate hold time when asking for permission to place your caller on hold. If your work is taking longer than the time you estimated, simply go back to the line to explain that your work will take a few more minutes. Your caller will appreciate the check-in.

Again, let’s think of this from the worst-case scenario perspective. Let’s suppose your customer-on-hold says that he/she can’t wait any longer. This gives you the opportunity to suggest a call back so that you can complete your work without necessarily rushing. It also ensures that the customer is no longer inconvenienced and will be spoken to at a time when it is convenient for him/her.

At MeloTel, we offer VoIP-based Commercial Phone Services that have custom hold music as an available feature. Believe it or not, hold music is vitally important. It does a great job of keeping customers waiting on the line instead of hanging up because they assumed their calls were disconnected. For more information, please don’t hesitate to contact us at 1-888-MELOTEL or use the “Live Chat Support” feature on our website!

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