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Do Not Hang Up! How to Improve the Call Waiting Experience

Customer on hold. It is not merely frustrating for your customer, long hold times can turn even the most polite person into a difficult customer, or cause them to simply hang up. Long wait times can transform a potential customer into a brand demoter, and hangups can mean a lost sale for your business!

But things do not have to be that way. At times, placing customers on hold may be a necessity, however if handled properly, the time on hold can be an opportunity for you to engage with customers in positive ways. With the right call waiting strategy, you can transform a boring or irritating wait into an unexpectedly pleasant experience.

A Better On-Hold Experience

Here are some ways you can turn the call waiting experience into a positive brand interaction:

    • Tell them what to expect. Waiting on hold is especially annoying when the customer has no idea how long the wait will be. Consider investing in technology that can inform them where they are in line or give them an estimated wait time.
    • Offer a Call back. If queues tend to be long, offer the option of a call back without losing their place. Many of your customers have been presented this option by other companies and you will be pleasantly surprised at the large percentage of customers that will take you up on that option.
    • Offer self-help. Many consumers today prefer to assist themselves whenever possible. Prompts that guide them to your business hours and location, answers to frequently asked questions, or to an appointment scheduler allow callers to get what they want quickly and conveniently. Self-help moves your queue forward faster, which benefits both customers and customer service reps. And you can always direct them to your website for more complex self-help services.
    • Enlighten them. Have a new product or service, or an upcoming in-store special event? Tell callers about it. Offer tips on how to use or care for your products. Suggest accessories or complementary products or services the customer may not have considered.
    • Promote your current specials. Are you offering a special discount this month? Do you offer a free service? Tell callers about that, too. Offer an exclusive incentive just for callers to thank them for waiting on hold. Invite customers to sign up for your blog feed or newsletter to receive ongoing tips and discounts, or to become a member of your rewards club.
    • Keep thanking them. Interesting, useful messaging will help keep customers engaged until their turn arrives. But remember to show customers you value their time by periodically including a thank-you for their patience as they continue to hold.
    • On Hold Music.  You may eventually need to provide on-hold music, but if you have engaged and informed the customer of everything that is timely and reasonable, music is better than silence.

Customer Experience is King

The last thing you want is for customers to hang up before they get the answers they need or their order placed! Those kinds of negative customer service interactions can have a detrimental effect on their overall relationship with your company. By providing a positive on-hold experience, you can keep your customers on the line and ensure they are better-informed than before the call.  Your customers will have a better customer service experience, will be more satisfied, and you might even increase sales in the process.

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