Keep Your On-Hold Current and Fresh

In a study released in January 2010, Consumer Reports revealed that waiting to talk to a live human when calling a company ranked as the second most annoying thing you and I deal with daily. (The first? Hidden fees.)

There’s no doubt why. We’re all busy. We want to accomplish our goals while taking the least amount of time possible. And waiting while listening to silence is more annoying than being stuck in a traffic jam! (Only #14 on the list.)

In fact, respondents said they would rather scoop dog poop than wait On-Hold! (Don’t believe me? Check out the results at Consumer Reports)

As a business, what can you do about this situation? There’s always the first thing that comes to mind…Hire more people!

That’s what most people suggest. And mostly that suggestion probably comes from someone who has never owned his own business. There can never be a 1-1 ratio of employees to customers. It simply is not feasible.

But most helpful folk don’t stop to consider that. They just want you to handle their issue right now.

Take your On-Hold time seriously. As seriously as a customer walking in your front door. What are the things you do to make your customer’s first impression a great one? Do you hire an interior decorator? Do you keep the customer-visible areas neat and clean? Do you have information for customers to take with them when they walk out the door?

You can do the same thing for customers who call your business.

Make a great first impression by having more than silence On-Hold. An On-Hold message will grab your caller’s ear when he first hears it.

You’ve got my ear…now what?

Now you’ve got a few short seconds to convince the caller to keep listening. Is it going to be interesting? Or is it going to be about how long you’ve been in business?

Are you going to tell the caller a story…and make him the star? Or are you going to keep all the stardom to yourself and try to make your business the most important thing in the message. (Hint: customers like to imagine themselves using your product or service to make their lives better. They don’t really care that you’ve been in business since 1942.)

If you want an On-Hold message that will turn angry customers into laughing ones, tell callers about products or services they didn’t know you offered, or flat-out sell more products, you better be paying attention to the phone. After you resolve that situation, then let’s work on a solution for tailgaters…that’s the next most annoying thing on Consumer Report’s list!

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