The endless muzak. The constantly repeated “Your call is important to us. It will be answered in the order it was received.” It’s no wonder that being on hold is a constant source of jokes and annoyance. Add to that, a bad on-hold experience risks losing a valued customer forever.
Look, being on hold is annoying. It just is. While most customers understand that being on hold can be a necessary evil at times, it doesn’t have to be a negative impact on the customer experience. Doing a little more to help improve that experience can make a big difference. In fact, a few minor improvements to the customers’ on-hold time can go miles in setting a business apart from the competition.
Keep the basic information up front
Occasionally, customers are just looking for some basic information. They want to know things like hours of operation or an address or the date of a upcoming special event. These bits of information can be up front, provided as an option before the customer is even put on hold. It can be as simple as “press 1 for store hours and information.” That way, many customers can get what they are looking for right away without jamming up phone lines or customer representatives. In this scenario, improve the on-hold experience by all but eliminating it.
Tell them something good…or at least interesting
When someone is on hold, they are, for all intents and purposes, a captive audience. They don’t want to lose their place in line so they won’t hang up. So, tell them something interesting! Tell them about the latest and greatest new product or service offering. Or how they can get a discount on their next purchase. Have an upcoming special event? Make sure customers know about it. There is ample opportunity to do customers a service here—and with the right tone and script on the announcement, the wait can turn from an annoyance into a valuable experience.
Keep an accurate wait time and keep them updated
One of the worst parts of the on-hold waiting process is not really knowing when it will end. When will the “next available customer representative” actually be available? Is the average wait time 5 minutes or 30 minutes? Keeping customers updated on where they are in the waiting ‘line” can do wonders by simply setting expectations. There’s about a 10-15 minute wait? Okay! Then a customer knows they can grab some coffee and check their email before the customer service rep will get to them.
Keep the on-hold music on brand
Think about the vibe the store has—is music a part of creating that vibe? The answer is likely yes. So, why not meld the vibe that the in-store soundtrack creates with the on-hold music? This allows the customer to feel a sense of consistency of the brand. Not to mention, if they enjoy the store and vibe, they likely enjoy the in-store music. Stands to reason they’d like to have something similar to listen to while on hold.
Call the line and understand the experience
Owners should be as aware as possible of every facet of their businesses. They know how the displays are set, they know how their staff treats customers in the shop, they know—and created—the very vibe of the store. So, call the customer service line. Take note of how long the wait was and how the soundtrack or announcements impacted the overall experience. Take a few minutes to call in and notice how the on-hold experience is and if there are things that need to be updated or changed. Then make those changes!
Regardless of whether a business implements one or most of these improvements, when a customer calls a business, the music and messaging they hear while on-hold should match the vibe that’s been created for inside the space. Customers want a consistent experience no matter how their are interacting with the business. And that includes when they’re on hold. With just a few minor adjustments, businesses can turn what was once a groan-worthy experience into one that isn’t quite so bad. Maybe, just maybe, it can even be a GOOD experience.
Interested in learning more? Request a demo of Vibenomics today and learn how you can start creating on-brand music and messaging for your in-store customers.