The average American spends about 15 minutes every week sitting on hold while trying to touch base with a business.
That might not seem like a very long time in the grand scheme of things. But if you crunch the numbers, you’ll discover that sitting on hold for just 15 minutes each week adds up to about 13 hours over the course of a year.
In a perfect world, your business should steer clear of putting customers on hold at all costs. But if it absolutely needs to be done, your employees should know how to put someone on hold.
By teaching your employees how to put a caller on hold the right way, you can keep your customers happy and make their interactions with your business more positive. Here are the steps your employees should take when putting a person on hold.
Explain Why Customers Are Being Put on Hold
In the event that one of your employees needs to put a customer on hold, they should be prepared to explain why they have to do it. They should say something like, “I’m going to put you on hold for a moment and go speak with my manager.”
This will help customers understand why it’s important for your employees to put them on hold. It’ll also make them feel like they’re waiting around for your employees to come back for a reason.
If your employees don’t offer up any kind of explanation and disappear for several minutes, customers might think that your employees have forgotten about them and hang up. You could have angry customers on your hands in no time.
Let Customers Know How Long They Can Expect to Be on Hold
One of the other things your employees should do when trying to master the art of how to put someone on hold is get into the habit of letting customers know how long they’re going to be gone.
Ideally, your employees should only leave customers on hold for one or two minutes tops. Any longer than that and there’s a good chance customers are going to hang up.
A customer will often hang around, though, when they have some general idea of when your employee is going to return. They won’t be as agitated about being left on hold when your employee lets them know when they’ll be back.
Check in with Customers If They’re Put on Hold for More Than a Minute or Two
There will be times when your employees have to put customers on hold to figure something out and then take longer than they were expecting. This is yet another thing that causes some customers to hang up on businesses.
Talk to your employees about checking in with customers if they’re forced to put them on hold for longer periods of time. Have them come back to let customers know they’re still working through an issue every minute or two.
Customers will appreciate your employees taking this approach. They’ll feel like your employees are going above and beyond for them while also limiting the amount of time they’re being left on hold.
Tell Customers What to Do If They Get Disconnected
There is almost nothing more frustrating for people than calling a business up, getting put on hold for several minutes, and then getting disconnected for one reason or another. It’s enough to make them want to pull their hair out.
Before your employees put people on hold, they should instruct customers on what to do if they happen to get disconnected.
Some businesses take down their customers’ preferred phone numbers and call them back if they’re disconnected. Others have employees provide them with special numbers that they can use to reconnect with the same employees they were speaking to.
Have some kind of system in place to help customers who get disconnected. It’ll prevent customers from getting frustrated when trying to communicate with your company.
Leave Customers With Pleasant Music to Listen to While on Hold
Are you leaving your customers with little more than silence when they’re on hold? That silence is going to have them contemplating whether or not they want to remain on the line before long.
Think about investing in some on hold music for your customers instead. This will keep your customers entertained while they wait, and it could also be beneficial to your business in other ways.
Pick the right on-hold music for your company and you can use it to market your products and services. You’ll be able to provide your customers with useful information about the things that your business has to offer without them even realizing that you’re utilizing a marketing strategy.
Apologize to Customers After Returning to Calls
It doesn’t matter if your employees leave customers on hold for 30 seconds, a minute, or five minutes. They should always apologize to them when they return to a call.
They should also address customers by their first and/or last names to show that they care about them and value their time. This will go a long way towards keeping customers happy when they’re put on hold while contacting a business.
Learn How to Put Someone on Hold the Right Way Every Time
Your business should try to steer clear of placing customers on hold whenever you can. No matter how apologetic your employees might be about putting customers on hold, some customers just aren’t going to be happy when they do it.
But if you have to put customers on hold on a regular basis, make sure your employees are educated as far as how to put someone on hold the right way. It’ll make a big difference when your employees take the correct approach to placing a person on hold.
Interested in learning about some of the other things you and your employees can do to improve customer satisfaction? Read the articles on our blog to get some useful tips on interacting with your customers.