“Hold Please” — Two of the worst words for a customer

Okay, I’ll look to deliver the best of the two primary blog objectives with this post — to educate and to entertain!

Let’s start with the education. "Hold please" are a couple of annoying words for any caller to hear when calling into a contact center. The way most contact centers attack the "hold" problem is by trying to reduce call times, freeing up agents to handle more calls. IMO, this is a pretty archaic and narrow approach. Instead, use technology to minimize the amount of times your customers have to wait on hold. These technology best practices include:

  • Design straightforward auto-attendant menus, with shallow menu trees to get your callers to the right person as quickly as possible.
  • Utilize skills-based routing to minimize repeated transfers from person to person.
  • Invest in a good workforce management application to help you ensure that you are staffing the contact center appropriately.
  • Implement a solution that ensures that when callers are transferred (either from one person to another, or from an automated attendant to an agent), that any information that has been captured is passed to the next person (no excuse for not doing this).
  • Use screen-pop technology so agents don’t have to put a caller on hold while he or she moves to another application to get additional information.

These are a few of the primary ways that good use of technology can reduce the time that callers sit on hold. Have any others? Please comment.

Now for the promised entertainment….Interactive Intelligence recently held a video contest, soliciting videos of funny or wacky contact center experiences. One of the submissions is all about the dreaded act of being put on hold. I think you’ll like it.
Watch Video

If you like the video, please share it with others — you know that whole social networking stuff that everyone loves :-)

Joe Staples — working to free the world of bad on hold music

Joe Staples

Joe Staples

I was fortunate enough to join Interactive Intelligence in January of 2005, in the role of chief marketing officer. Since that time I've managed our corporate marketing group. I spend the majority of my time in the world of branding, advertising, lead generation, product strategy, and media/analyst relations. I’ve been at this for more than twenty-five years with experience in technology and marketing, including assignments in the areas of Contact Centers, computer telephony, unified messaging, mobile wireless, computer networking, and computer-based education. I'm passionate about great customer experiences and how to help our customers deliver that to their customers.

2 comments to “Hold Please” — Two of the worst words for a customer

  • Most businesses use auto attendant due to the capabilities of the service to forward calls which is very helpful to eliminate the possibility of missing out a single call.
  • Thanks for the suggestions. Being put on hold is one of the chef complaints of customers who call contact centers. I think that when call centers are doing this more frequently than is accepted, there is a need for them to reassess the methods by which they handle calls. Either that or hire more employees to take calls. Thanks for the video too, it made my day!

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