In the over-the-phone customer service game, there is bound to be hold time. It’s inevitable. Anyone who has ever called any business (isn’t that all of us?) has been put on hold at some point or another. So, is hold time really a big deal? For many people, it is. Let’s be honest – we all know that no one really likes to sit on hold. So, as a customer service provider, it’s integral that you come up with ways to provide the most pleasant hold times possible.
People think they’re waiting longer than they are.
On his website, customer service expert, Shep Hyken explains that sitting and waiting while nothing is happening makes time feel like it has been elongated. We all know the saying that “time flies when you’re having fun”. Well, naturally, the opposite is also true. Time feels like it’s standing still when you’re bored, right?
Hyken explains that he once tried an experiment where he introduced a marketing expert at a seminar. The individual entered the stage to an expected round of applause from the audience and then just stood there for 90 seconds. He then exited the stage, leaving the audience very puzzled. Hyken asked his audience how long they felt they had been waiting. Most guessed three to four minutes!
60 percent of customers feel that waiting on hold for just one minute is too long.
Hyken also reveals the findings of a survey, noting that the majority of customers simply feel they are waiting on hold for too long. Included in the results was the fact that 63 percent of consumers would prefer call backs rather than being on hold. However, this isn’t always practical. In many cases, hold times are no more than a minute. It would actually take more time to hang up and dial again to provide the information retrieved during the hold.
How can you make your hold times more pleasant?
To begin, it has everything to do with the impressions you give when you begin your hold times. Considering that most people feel like they are waiting for longer times than they actually are, it’s important to provide the amount of time your caller will be holding. Always let your customers know how long the hold times will be and be sure to stick to those times. If you end up taking longer, come back to the line to inform your callers that more time will be needed.
“Can I ask you to please hold for a minute or two while I look into that for you?”
This is a great example of how to place a person on hold. Notice that it is a question and not a demand. It also contains the ever-important “please” that is necessary to connote politeness. Of course, this is only the beginning of hold time. Once it’s over, be sure to come back on the line and offer your thanks and apologies.
“Thank you for holding, I apologize for the delay.”
This shows respect and courtesy. And it won’t go unnoticed! You know what else won’t go unnoticed? Hold music! It ensures your customers that they haven’t been disconnected. Custom hold music comes with MeloTel’s cloud-hosted Commercial Phone Services. For more information, please don’t hesitate to contact us at 1-888-MELOTEL or use the Live Chat feature on our website!