Do You Really Need an On-Hold Message?

One question I get asked in the On-Hold message consultations my company offers is whether or not a company can benefit from a custom On-Hold message.

So how will you, the busy business owner, know when an investment to reach your callers while On-Hold will return good results?

How many calls do you receive?

Over the course of a day, a week, or even a month…how many calls does your business receive? Have you ever thought about counting them? Have you ever tried?

You could get your receptionist or employees just to make a quick tally whenever they answer the calls. It might not be the most technologically advanced method, but it will give you a better understanding of how many calls you do receive!

How long are callers On-Hold?

I talk with some companies who tell me, “We don’t put people On-Hold,” but willing it not to happen doesn’t mean it never does.

Being On-Hold is a fact of life for most businesses. But On-Hold time really falls into two categories:

1. Long hold times…like call centers, tech support, and customer service. These are hold times counted in tens of minutes. (I know…I was On-Hold with American Express for forty-two minutes!)

2. Short hold times…these are hold times that we often don’t think about. Being transferred to another person, sent to voicemail, or waiting while someone looks up our order. These hold times are usually measured in seconds. You may be On-Hold for ten seconds while going to voicemail, thirty seconds while being transferred to the person with whom you would like to speak, or for a minute or two while someone looks up your order or checks the stock of an item.

These two very different categories require different approaches. But for category #2, which most small businesses fall into, optimizing that On-Hold time can bring great value to the caller.

So how do you measure it?

Spend two days asking your staff to track how many calls go On-Hold or are transferred. Again, a simple tally will work. Monitoring a few of those calls will give you a great idea of how long the average hold time is at your company.

With that information, you can begin to measure the value that a custom On-Hold message can bring to your company.

And if your business really is one of those that doesn’t put people On-Hold, you’ll find that out as well.

Quantifying the Caller Experience will give you a clearer picture of the areas where your Caller Experience can improve to maximize customer service.

Remember, you can’t improve what you don’t measure!

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