“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