Don’t Remind Them They Are On-Hold!

Adam Alter has written an interesting article about the quirks in time perception that we all share. Why does the first hour of a long flight seem sooo long, while the last several hours all cram together in your mind?

I’ll bet you’ve had a similar experience in micro…the last time you called a company and were put On-Hold. With so many things that need to be done in our busy lives, no one wants to wait, and who can blame us?

Have you been in Best Buy and had to wait in line to check out? What do you do while you wait? You probably skim the end caps, but I’ll bet you spend most of the wait watching the Best Buy TV program on one of the many screens the store has positioned in site. Why do they put those there?

Because when your mind is engaged, it doesn’t think about the amount of time you’ve been waiting. It feels like only a few seconds, when really the store has been able to play four one-minute promos for you!

Now back to the On-Hold. If your business is putting people On-Hold and just having them listen to silence, you’re actually extending the perceived wait time. How would you like it if Best Buy required you to put on a blindfold while you stood in line? Every second would feel like an hour until you could take that blindfold off!

But if you choose to engage your callers during those inevitable times they have to wait On-Hold, then the amount of time they perceive they are waiting will be quite a bit less. Custom On-Hold messaging that is engaging and relevant is just like hanging those screens near the checkout line of Best Buy.

In his article on time perception, Adam Alter explains:


There’s still plenty we don’t understand about how humans perceive time, but one fact is clear: we don’t perceive time the way clocks portray time, one second at a time, with each second passing just as quickly as its earlier and later counterparts.


Sure, nobody likes to wait, but what kind of experience is your company providing for those customers who call in? Is your Caller Experience a good one? Are you speeding up your customer’s clock, or slowing it down?

Leave a Reply

Subscribe to the comments for this post with RSS: RSS2 RSS 2.0