According to theWoman’s World Magazine,* the average person will spend 1.2 years on hold. Our world is a busy one and we always have something to do, somewhere to go and people to meet. When someone is on hold, they are not just waiting for you to come back on the line, they are putting their life on hold. They don’t have any clue of when the line will be picked up so they can’t start something for fear they will have to stop in the middle of it. People are rushed and often get frustrated, even after only a minute on hold. They hang up or are very rude to the person that eventually, and with the best intentions, answers their call.
Hold is annoying, you have to sit and listen to elevator music or sometimes silence that makes you think the line went dead. Or worse still is when you get silence with that disquieting beep every minute to assure you are still on the line. Infomax, Inc records that a caller will stay on hold up to 25% longer when provided with on-hold messaging versus "dead air" or "background music."* So, a customer willing to wait a minute on a silent hold may then hold an additional 15 seconds if you play a message while they are on hold, giving you that much longer to respond.
The question then becomes, what message do I play? This is a perfect opportunity to give valuable information or market your services and specials. There is no limit: let callers know that you are hiring, what your hours are, directions, new product releases and more! Giving helpful information has been proven to make a customer want to listen longer since the message is something that is important.
Not only is what you play on hold important, but also the length of the hold time. You want to keep it short. According to The Small Business Chronicle, “after an average of 1 minute and 55 seconds of hold time most callers hang up annoyed - 34% of those callers who hang up will not call back.”* Leaving people on hold for extended periods of time can give the impression that you do not have the time for them, or that they are not important. They are your customer, you want to show them you value their business. They are what makes your company succeed.
There will always be impatient callers who call in and as soon as you put them on hold, they just hang up. That’s where we can help. We can recommend a provider for on-hold messaging to handle your inbound hold needs. Then, those customers may give a little more of their time to you once you are back on the line and they may even ask about one of the messages they heard on hold, which could ultimately mean a boon to your business.
*Sound Results on Hold, http://www.soundresultsonhold.com/on_hold_stats_studies.html