Don’t Do This When You Put a Customer on Hold

6th September 2019

Your customer experience is so important these days. Your clients need to feel like you value them from the point they start dialing your company’s number to the moment they ultimately hung up.

This is why you are discouraged from putting your customers on hold. No one likes being put on hold and it tends to ruin the customer’s experience which, in turn, affects their opinion of your business.

But you don’t always have a choice in the matter. There are two primary reasons that could force you to place a customer on hold:

  1. Our virtual phone systems are designed to optimize communication in a business. But the best virtual landline won’t do you any good if you don’t have enough people to pick the calls that come through on any given day.

Sometimes, there are more calls coming in than your employees can handle. And once that happens, you have no choice but to place the least important customers on hold.

  1. Customer support personnel are supposed to know enough to answer any question that a customer might present over the phone. But customer support personnel don’t know everything.

So if a customer presents a question that a receptionist cannot answer, they have to be placed on hold while the receptionist finds an employee that can satisfactorily resolve their query.

If your business is growing, then you should expect to encounter at least one situation in the near future that will force you to place a customer on hold.

And once that happens, it is imperative that you avoid doing any of these things:

  1. If you have no choice but to place a customer on hold, do it. However, do not interrupt a customer to put them on hold.

Give them a moment to say their piece and then proceed. It is rude to interrupt a customer, especially for the sake of placing them on hold.

  1. This bleeds into the point above. Do not place customers on hold without their permission. Make sure that they are, at the very least, informed before you proceed. Do not leave them in limbo where they have to wonder whether or not you have dropped their call.
  2. While placing a customer on hold is perfectly fine, placing a customer on hold more than once in the same call is unacceptable. It shows a lack of professionalism.

When you place a customer on hold, make sure that you find a way of resolving their issue in its entirety before you resume the conversation.

  1. Do not abandon a customer you have placed on hold. Again, a customer should never have to wonder whether or not you have dropped their call. Check on them.
  2. You should never let a customer you placed on hold call you back at a later date. Even if they made the decision to hang up after you placed them on hold, it is still considered unprofessional for the customer to reach out to your business afterward.

It sends the wrong message. Be the first one to call.

  1. This goes without saying. Do not be rude. Even if the customer loses their temper when they are informed of your intention to place them on hold, you need to stay cool and calm.
  2. Don’t use monotonous music to keep the user distracted. This might come as a surprise to some people. When a customer is placed on hold, you have the option of playing music or a message of some sort to keep them company.

This strategy makes sense but only if you vary the music and the message. Otherwise, you might make their experience feel longer than it actually is.

To be clear, when it comes to placing customers on hold, you shouldn’t just rest on your laurels. Yes, it is inevitable that you will find a situation that will force you to place a customer on hold.

But that shouldn’t stop you from taking steps to ensure that such situations never arise. You should only place customers on hold as the last resort when all other countermeasures have failed.

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