On Hold Messages Reduce Perceived Hold Times and Prevent A Poor Customer Service Experience

On Hold Messages Reduce Perceived Hold Times and Prevent A Poor Customer Service Experience

It’s no secret that customers hate to wait. Whether we’re staring at our watches in a checkout line or tapping our fingers on hold, the time we spend waiting for service diminishes our customer experience. Long wait and hold times also mean lost sales, bigger service issues when they do come up, and customers who are ready to jump to another provider at a moment’s notice.

Already well documented across the web for having poor customer service, recently Comcast hit a new low, when played out on national media was an embarrassing display of customer service, or should I say lack thereof, when a customer wanted to cancel their service. And while not all business may be as bad as Comcast’s recent blunder, they’re also not alone when it comes to companies lacking when it comes to providing an enhanced customer service experience. In fact, according to a study by ACSI (the American Customer Satisfaction Index) showed that last year, 51% of US consumers switched service providers as a result of poor customer service experiences, and 90% complained about being put on hold for a long time.

The good news is companies can influence customers’ perceptions of on-hold wait times, even when they can’t decrease the actual time spent waiting. Beating wait time expectations bouys our mood. Look at Disney for example,they are the master of this science in their theme parks of applied reduced wait time psychology, so that its guests are pleasantly surprised when they ascend a ride ahead of schedule. Why? It’s simple. People who wait less than they anticipated leave happier than those who wait longer than expected. That’s why!

Does the amount of time you think you have been on hold affect how long you stay on hold? A CNN survey found that that 70 percent of callers in the United States who hold the line in silence hang up within 40 seconds. So, how can you reduce perceived on hold waiting time? The answer is simple.  Music On Hold and Messages! According to a study about telephone waiting times by Journal Of Consumer Psychology, music and on hold messages had a significant positive effect on perceived wait times. Additionally, research by North American Telecom found callers hearing music on hold will stay on the line 3 times longer when listening to on hold messaging, than callers who experience silence or canned music.

What is also notable is the fact that customer satisfaction isn’t just influenced by the actual amount of time spent waiting, but how customers spend that time is also important. Message On Hold not only helps to reduce the tension of waiting and the likelihood of hang-ups as well as lost customers and revenue, but it’s also an extremely affordable way to engage and market without upsetting them while they are waiting.

Music On Hold has garnered a lot of attention lately, everyone form Marissa Mayer, CEO of Yahoo to Apple’s CEO Tim Cook has been in the news concerning their company’s hold music, and these are obviously 2 very big companies who understand the art of creating great customer service, versus the high costs associated with a bad customer experience.

Waiting — even the perception of wait time can drain revenues and resources, and ultimately lose callers to the competition. Improving the caller on hold experience, and reducing perceived wait times with the use of telephone on hold messages can easily become a source of competitive advantage for your brand.

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