Proper On-Hold Procedures Spare Customers From Wasted Time

Smiling businessman put on hold in his office

People hate waiting. It’s just one of those facts of life. With the holiday shopping season now upon us, you’ll begin to notice this a lot more. Frustration will build as shoppers look for unavailable parking spots. Agitation will climb as those same shoppers wait in line to pay for their purchases after finally making their way to the items they were looking for. And let’s not forget the massive increase in customer service requirements that will come with the upcoming holiday shopping rush.

As an owner or manager of a business that employs customer service representatives, it’s pretty important to impart on your team of phone agents that people hate waiting. As a result, your employees should endeavour to service their callers as expeditiously as possible. Now, by no means does this mean that calls should be rushed. It means that as little of your callers’ time should be wasted as possible.

How can you ensure that your callers don’t feel that their time is being wasted? A huge part of that will involve your on-hold methods. There’s bound to be numerous occasions when your phone agents will have to place their callers on hold while they complete important tasks. And, for many people, being put on hold is a waste of time. Making callers feel as if their time is not being wasted will have a lot to do with how they’re placed on hold.

What is the proper way to place someone on hold? Firstly, it’s all about asking. Instead of informing a caller that a hold is necessary, be sure to ask if it’s okay. “May I place you on hold for a minute or two while I locate that information for you?” is an ideal approach. You’ll notice that this approach also includes a time frame. This is of vital importance. Letting your caller know how long he/she will be on hold will help to stave off impatience.

If your time frame is being approached and you’ve not yet completed your task, it’s best to go back on the line to ensure that the caller is aware that you’re still working on his/her request. Offer a new time frame – keeping it short – to put the caller’s mind at ease about how long of a wait will have to be endured. It’s also a good idea to provide a quick explanation of why more time is needed.

When returning from the hold, it’s also important to thank the caller for his/her patience. An apology can also go a long way. “Thank you so much for holding for me, I’m sorry to have kept you waiting” is an excellent approach to re-starting your conversation. A key to not letting a person think that his/her time was wasted is to declare how valuable the time spent on hold was. But it’s also wise to acknowledge that it may have been an inconvenience.

What are some on-hold no-no’s? Beware of interrupting. No matter how pressing an issue is, you don’t want to annoy or anger your caller. Be sure to wait for a break in the conversation before you initiate the on-hold process. As well, there may be instances when placing a customer on hold won’t allow you the time necessary to complete a task. Instead, a call back may be necessary. Be sure to call your customer back as soon as possible. Don’t expect him/her to call you back.

At SIClytics, we offer Live Call Monitoring services so that you can hear for yourself just how well your phone agents are doing at putting their customers on hold. The service enables you to both listen to calls live and jump in on the calls, if necessary. For more information, please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-877-374-6003 or email us at sales@SIClytics.com.

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