Don’t use the hold button to explode an obnoxious, annoying, or irritating caller into the never-never land of hold. In fact, if you can avoid putting people on hold, that’s even better. Do you like being put on hold? How long are you willing to wait? What does it feel like to be on hold? Most likely, very unpleasant and unproductive. No one likes to be kept waiting on hold. Many businesses try to soften the experience of being on hold. The most popular device has been music. Some companies tune into a local radio station. Have you called an airline or a movie theater lately? They play commercials for their products or services. One company uses Jokes on Hold. Great idea? Wrong. People would pick up the phone before the punch line and upset the holding caller.
An intriguing idea was suggested by a well-meaning but overworked receptionist with as many as 10 callers on hold who said, “While you’re waiting, would you care to speak with someone else who’s on hold?”
There is a better way! When you put people on hold:
- Tell them that you’re going to put them on hold.
- Tell them why.
- Estimate the time they’ll be on hold.
- Offer them the option of calling back.
- Thank them before you place them on hold.
When you return to holding callers:
- Thank them for waiting.
- If the person they want to speak to still isn’t available, and you have to put them on hold for a little while longer, say that you know how difficult it is to be on hold.