According to an AT&T study, more than 70% of business phone calls in the US are placed on hold for an average of 45 to 60 seconds each. While organizations try to minimize hold times, sometimes there’s nothing you can do except put the caller on hold while you transfer them to the correct department. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t make this customer experience better. Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) systems make it very easy to do so.
When an operator asks a client for permission to put them on hold, what they’re really saying is “Can you wait a short time not talking to anybody?” It occurs at different times throughout a call, and for varying durations. VoIP phone systems help make this lull period engaging with music, messages, and other information.
A North American Telecom study found that callers who hear music while on hold will stay on the line 30 seconds longer than those who experience silence. While old phone systems also had a music on hold feature, VoIP services enhance this feature and offer more options.
Instead of being limited to legacy tools’ music loops, VoIP systems let you easily upload your audio of choice. Just a tip: use music that suits your brand, and take your clientele’s demographics into account. The upbeat music that a sporting good brand uses might not work for an investment bank.
With VoIP systems, you can customize the frequency and duration of a track and configure whether the music restarts or continues where it left off when a caller is placed back on hold. You can also set the order of different tracks or randomize them for callers.
Customers who are put on hold are captive audiences for your marketing messages. VoIP systems let you record a variety of messages for different numbers according to the purpose of the caller. For example, if the caller wants to get in touch with the sales department, the on-hold message could inform them of current special offers, promotions, or sales.
“Hold message” scripts that utilize your company’s TV and radio ads might elicit an “I think I’ve heard this somewhere” response. Conversely, you could put a totally new spin on the usual tone and style of your marketing messages and really get creative with humorous mini-commercials that make your customers chuckle (and a little bit of levity never hurt nobody!).
For the service department, you can use soothing messages that assure the customer that an agent is taking care of their concerns. Using a service-appropriate message makes them feel like they’re getting personalized care.
New information and intriguing anecdotes will take their minds off of the notion that they aren’t being served (when in fact, you are hard at work addressing their concerns at the other end of the line), so you could also pose a playful trivia or “Did you know?” kind of contest where providing a correct answer once the call resumes wins them a prize.
VoIP systems’ rich on-hold functionality allows you to turn the on hold experience into a positive customer service experience. Make sure this window of opportunity isn’t slammed shut. Get in touch with us today and we’ll help you increase the odds that your clients will hold the line happily.