on hold marketing


Five Things That Turn Off Callers to Your Business

The insistence by so many businesses to push inquisitive or needy clients to self-help, menu-driven systems is at times, mind-boggling. However, when technology is deployed with the caller’s best interests in mind, it’s a wonderful thing. But when technology is deployed to simply benefit the business deploying the technology, bad things can happen, and those negative experiences may even be difficult to manage or track.

Five pet peeves callers have, and ways to mitigate and reduce caller frustration

1. Long opening Automated Attendant greetings.

  • Businesses often use ‘internal-techie’ language within their menu options that new callers don’t understand. Write it to be as concise and understandable as possible.
  • Menus with more than 5 options should be re-written, even if ‘second level menus’ need to be introduced.
  • The days of “it’s a great day here at our Smith and Jones real estate” as an open greeting are over. Be brief, with economy of word so the caller can quickly route themselves. Oh, and just how long ago did “the menu options change”? Cut out obsolete language when possible.
  • Don’t complicate an options menu with distracting music or other audio. Audio beyond the instructions can distort or distract a caller from hearing their best option, especially to callers with right brain tendencies. Save the music or production for the On Hold Messaging.

2. Long queue or HOLD times.

  • Healthcare offices often have longer HOLD/QUEUE times on Monday morning. Knowing that, staff for it.
  • If your system allows for telling patients their positions in queue (“you are caller 12”), that’s great, but in some businesses ‘caller 2’ can be waiting for quite a while if only 2 agents/support reps are taking calls. It is better to use “approximate expected wait time”, but only if it has proven to be somewhat accurate.

3. Getting forwarded to ‘mystery’ voice mail boxes

  • Establish policy that ALL EMPLOYEES record a personal greeting in lieu of the voice mail system providing a default extension based greeting “you have reached the voice mailbox of…extension 134…” Callers don’t ‘trust’ their message will be heard by the intended recipient, and basically, it may be perceived as lazy to NOT record a personal greeting.
  • Establish policy that ALL EMPLOYEES record vacation/travel greetings if away for a while. If Joe doesn’t tell me he is on vacation until April 5th, and I don’t hear back from him within 24-48 hours, I may move on.

4. Bad ‘On Hold’ or ‘In Queue’ experience

  • Know how long your callers are On Hold or In Queue. Most phone systems will provide a report on QUEUE times, but not necessarily HOLD times.
  • Don’t record annoying short loops that repeat multiple times during a HOLD session. It is no longer trendy to say “your call is important to us”. You are asking for an unkind rebuttal.
  • Don’t settle for bad music because it’s free. You wouldn’t put dead flowers in your lobby, would you?
  • Maximize that captured audience time On Hold or In Queue. This takes a bit of analysis in terms of knowing who is on hold, why they may be calling, and their demographic. (this is our primary business focus here at On Hold Marketing). Educate your clients professionally and eloquently about your attributes and how you can help them.
  • If you have On Hold Messaging, be sure to properly mix any music in such a way that it supports the spoken word and doesn’t distract from it.
  • Select music that does NOT perform poorly over the internet. It is important to remember that internet phone calls were designed to carry a human voice, and not necessarily music. A problem can surface with music, in that some music requires much more bandwidth to carry than an Internet phone system is prepared to handle, especially if the music is heavy on pianos/strings or instruments that are out of the ‘range’ of the human voice (low or high).

5. Unprepared employees

  • There is a reason callers call instead of search online. They often could not find an answer online or through another source. Be sure your employees can answer questions or get an answer quickly to a question. Never tell a caller to ‘call back another time’. Yes, it happens.

We hope these five tips will help create a positive customer experience. If you need help with messaging via auto attendant or on hold, please feel free to contact us.

Publish Date: April 3, 2024