Sound Communication: The Holdcom Blog

Increasing Customer Satisfaction--Real Life "Hold Time"

For the restaurant and hospitality industries, Messages On Hold can solve the problem of telephone hold time. Message On Hold programs fill dead air and present an opportunity to market to an audience of captive callers. Within this industry, there are tremendous benefits to having on hold marketing, benefits that can also be applied to real life “hold time,” the time spent waiting at a restaurant.

How Restaruants can use messages on hold in real life situations

Waiting really isn’t very fun, and it’s no one’s idea of a great night out. Having a waiting area that looks like a bus stop isn’t ideal for attracting new customers and can be difficult for staff to manage. In the crowded waiting area, every minute feels like an hour. A 45 minute wait on Friday night might as well be the rest of your life.

The old solution for this waiting game was to give your customers a coaster pager and send them off to the bar. It works, a little. Some customers will actually go to the bar and buy a drink. But some don’t want to. They might have children with them, they might not be interested in drinking before dinner, or they might mistrust your pager system. So they hover in your waiting area until their pager buzzes. The pagers, which seem like a great strategy for keeping in touch with roaming customers, actually tether them to your facility. The pager, which is supposed to help you reach them, is a point of isolation. There’s no interaction between the customer and your brand. No incentives, no ability for promotions or marketing. It’s like only having Music On Hold—more appealing than silence, but offering little to no benefits for the business.

So now, consider audio. How can sound help you reach waiting customers with an interactive dialogue? Think about your Message On Hold. On the telephone, you're presenting callers with a message that markets to them by offering information about new menu items, special promotions, or extended holiday hours. While customers are waiting, use their cell phone to reach them the same way. This allows you to do two things:

  1. Eliminate the pagers. Instead of giving your customers a pager and asking them to wait within your facility for a table to be ready, let them move freely and receive a call, branded with your restaurant's "voice" when their table is ready. Let them decide to return right away or delay their table.
  2. Present marketing messages. While customers are waiting, offer them a reduced price on drinks from the bar. Ask them to opt in to your mobile database, so you can continue to send them messages after they leave, like your half priced appetizers on Tuesday nights.

It’s inevitable that, in person or on the phone, people will spend time waiting. The good news is that there are ways to make hold time appealing and beneficial to callers and customers. With a little creativity, custom, professionally produced audio can be incorporated into a mobile wait list program, helping you effectively reach patrons and increase customer satisfaction.

Tags: hospitality, message on hold, customer experience