I will admit, I can get easily frustrated, and recently when I was put on hold by a rather large company my patience was put to the test.
It is important to note, that before I was even put on hold, I was put through a good two minutes of trying to yell into the phone to a recorded message trying to let them know I wanted to speak to a customer service operator.
Anyway, back to the story at hand, when I was put on hold in the first instance, I heard a click and then … nothing. I didn’t know what to do. Had they put me on hold or hung up on me? I was starting to get a little irate, because seriously, I didn’t have time to go through the whole process again. Then all of a suddenly, a recorded female voice came on the line and said “We appreciate your call, but “Business” was experiencing a large number of calls and on hold times are longer than expected.” She then gave me the choice to hold on or call back later.
As I really needed to speak to a customer representative at this company I stayed on hold, but I was then placed back on hold to silence. Again I wasn’t sure if they had actually placed me on hold, or if I had been disconnected. I waited for what felt like a good 10 minutes (in real time it would have only been 20-30 seconds – but silence can drag), the female voiceover came back on the line with the same message. Again I waited – and repeated this process another three times.
By the time I actually reached a customer representative, I was pretty annoyed, and my perception of the company wasn’t a positive one. I felt like I had been on hold for ages (and I had), and most of the time I was second-guessing whether I was really on hold or if they had disconnected.
As an employee of a message on-hold company I can see many faults with the way this company conducted their telephone on hold communications. This business could have used this on hold time much more wisely. I had been on hold for a good 5-mintues, but because I had been on hold to silence, I thought it was longer than that – so I was pretty annoyed by the time I got to where I needed to be. Furthermore, this company could have promoted their other products and services to me during that time, and used a professional audio production to distract me from the fact that I was waiting.
Silence on hold is not good for any business, let alone a business that does put their callers on hold for long periods at a time. Imagine listening to a radio station playing dead-silence – they’d go broke. Shouldn’t businesses think the same about their phone lines? Telephone on hold time is valuable airtime to promote their products and services to core customers.