Sound Communication: The Holdcom Blog

Embracing on Hold Time

Over the years, there has been an ongoing corporate mentality that openly discussing “on hold time” is taboo. Whenever we ask companies to gauge their average on hold time or rate of caller abandonment, they will dodge the question or mask their answer with terms like “callers in cue” and “delayed calls” – then quickly change the subject.  More often than reality would permit, they'll even indicate, even insist, that they never put anyone on hold.

It’s time to acknowledge the “call center in the room” and embrace on hold time – only then can you transform “waiting” into something proactive, educational, and beneficial for your company.

Because, whether you like it or not, almost every business and call processing system, automated or not, will ultimately have callers on hold.

Some companies go beyond thinking their are no callers on hold to advertise that they don’t have on hold time, and that there will always be a live representative waiting to take your call. Though this is ideal, this promise creates an expectation – and when callers discover that their expectations aren’t met, they are even more frustrated on hold, and caller abandonment increases.

What is the solution?

First, it is important to understand that hold time is not indicative of non-responsiveness – most callers understand that major corporations receive thousands of calls a day, even if they groan and complain. It is the silence, the transfers, the unknowing that makes customers antsy.

Second, it is crucial to be prepared. If you can quantify the average on hold time, you can capitalize on this one-on-one customer engagement. Your hold time can accomplish what a live representative could and more – with the bonus of music and a professional voice talent!

It’s time to welcome the black sheep of “on hold time” back to the family of customer service!

Tags: resources, message on hold, customer experience