Sound Communication: The Holdcom Blog

Waiting Room On Hold - Part 1

HospitalThis week’s Holdcom Content Meeting is dedicated to “friendly competition” (check the March Newsletter to see why) within context of the healthcare industry. We are endlessly discussing ways to improve customer service, and since many of our clients are hospitals, healthcare facilities, and pharmacies, we thought that a good way to brainstorm would be to share personal hospital experiences – in other words, injury stories!

One of my most favorite stories (in hindsight, of course) is when I was diagnosed with appendicitis. Several months prior I went to my University’s Medical Center complaining of severe pain in my lower abdomen. My female friends joked that the nurses would say I’m pregnant and leave it at that – the notorious University default diagnoses for any abdominal pain. After saying it was gas, I was told to get some rest.

Eventually, the pain dispersed. However, this specific night I had a pain so intense that I couldn’t sleep. At six in the morning I limped to the Medical Center to find it closed – I had to wait until 9 am to see a nurse. The waiting room was empty. There were educational pamphlets about STDs on the wall, as well as a television that softly spoke the morning news.

When I was finally called in (after half an hour) the nurses, after looking me over for a while, told me that it was probably gas pain. After insisting that it wasn’t, they made an appointment at the local hospital – Strong Memorial. The nurses here were attentive; I was given blankets, medication, and water – I felt like I was being taken care of, and not just left to fight the pain on my own. After some tests, turns out I was right – my appendix was swollen.

Before surgery, I asked the doctor in my medicated state if he could let me keep my appendix. He chuckled no, but to my surprise, I found a picture of my appendix waiting for me post-surgery!

When reflecting on this experience, and my position at Holdcom, I see parallels between the “waiting room” and the on hold virtual space. At the University, the nurses were inattentive, the waiting room was bland, and I became impatient; while at the Hospital, the nurses made sure I was comfortable and part of the process.

The on hold space is like a “virtual waiting room.” Just like a good Hospital, the on hold space should actively engage your callers – not have them just waiting in line. You should approach your on hold space with a “waiting room strategy” to optimize your patients time – get them in and out efficiently, educate your callers, and keep expended resources as minimal as possible.

As an aside - I told all my friends about the appendix picture. Going above and beyond, just a small customer service flourish – can turn a regular customer into a loyal fan.

What's your "waiting room strategy" for your callers waiting on hold?  What small things are you doing to create raving fans?  We welcome your comments and feedback.

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Tags: Message On hold, healthcare, audio marketing, on hold communication