We’ve devoted numerous blogs to the concept of hold time. And, in case, you’re wondering why, please know that hold time is no minor facet of your customer service practices. A 2015 Consumer Reports study found that 66 percent of the 1,016 adults surveyed found long waits on hold to be highly annoying.
The way we see it, putting people on hold is inevitable. But the customer experience doesn’t have to be poor because of it. In fact, at MeloTel, we believe that placing customers on hold provides opportunities to better customer relationships. As mentioned, hold time is bound to happen. It’s all about how you place a customer on hold than can make or break the customer experience.
Are you asking for permission?
Making the simple request is the first to initiating a hold time that won’t frustrate your caller. All too often, a customer service representative will spurt out a “hold please” or a “give me a moment” without actually waiting for an acknowledgement from the person on the other line. And, arguably, the worst form of hold time is the type that comes at the very beginning of the call.
Have you ever called up a company to hear, “Hello, hold please.”? The word “annoying” doesn’t even cut it. The appropriate way to place a caller on hold is to simply ask if it’s okay. “May I place you on hold for a minute or two while I check into that for you?” Await a response. Chances are you’re never going to be refused your request. Your request shows respect. It also includes another important facet of excellent customer service.
Are you providing a timeline?
You’ll notice the request example included a timeline of one to two minutes. This is integral to a pleasant holding experience as it doesn’t keep the caller sitting and wondering when the phone agent will be back on the line. Be sure to stick to the timeline given and don’t forget to come back to the line if you need more time.
The entire process may actually take longer because of your coming back to the line to ask for more time, but it will ensure that the mood of your customer remains pleasant. People appreciate being informed. They also appreciate knowing that you’re actually working for them, haven’t forgotten them and are trying to locate appropriate solutions.
Are you thanking your callers?
When you come back to the line, it’s important to show your appreciation for the caller’s patience. Even if it took you no more than ten seconds, it certainly doesn’t hurt to say, “Thanks for holding, I apologize for keeping you waiting.” You’ll notice that the show of gratitude also comes with an apology. There’s nothing like saying sorry to maintain a strong relationship. It’s a simple acknowledgment that your caller may have been inconvenienced.
Yes, hold time is a bigger deal than you may think. How you handle it will make all the difference in your customer service levels. Of course, it also pays to use a VoIP-based phone system that offers Custom Hold Music! For information about MeloTel’s cloud-hosted Commercial Phone Services, please don’t hesitate to contact us at 1-888-MELOTEL or use the Live Chat feature on our website!