First things first: we all know that customers don’t like being placed on hold, and some of them downright hate it. But what you may not know is WHY customers find this experience so dreadful. As with many things in life, this reaction has less to do with reality and more to do with perception.
It’s All in the Mind
Research has revealed that what rankles people so much about waiting on hold isn’t actually waiting: it’s that they have nothing to do, which makes them feel that they’re waiting much longer than they truly are. For example, a customer who is forced to endure 5 minutes of silence while waiting for their call to be answered is likely to perceive the duration as 10 minutes (or even longer).
What makes this particularly problematic for businesses, is that a recent survey found 31% of customers will not wait on hold for more than 5 minutes. But remember that this is PERCEIVED time. In reality, these customers are much more likely to hang up within 2 or 3 minutes (which to them feels much longer).
The Practical Solution: Music-on-Hold
Ideally, customers would never be put on hold. There would always be a trained and friendly employee who would pick up each call on the first ring, and take care of all issues efficiently and effectively. Of course, we all know that in reality this simply isn’t possible and never will be. Putting customers on hold from time to time is unavoidable — especially for smaller businesses with limited staffing rosters. Fortunately, that is where music on hold enters the picture.
Music on hold is a cloud phone system feature that gives customers something agreeable to hear while they’re waiting, such as classical music. Why is this so important? Because research has shown that the presence of hold music leads to an underestimation of time spent. This tracks back to the insight about PERCEPTION. For example:
Scenario A: Without on-hold music, a customer who waits for 5 minutes may feel like they’ve waited for 10 minutes.
Scenario B: With on-hold music, a customer who waits for 5 minutes may feel like they’ve waited for 2.5 minutes.
If this customer has decided that the longest they’ll wait on hold is 10 minutes — or more specifically, for what feels like 10 minutes — then it’s easy to see why music on hold is so important. In scenario A (without music) the business has 5 minutes to pick up the call. In scenario B (with music) the business has 20 minutes to pick up the call.
While the feature is called “music-on-hold”, businesses are not restricted to providing customers (and other callers) with music. Instead, they can broadcast custom messages that feature a product, promotion, company news item, or anything else. Research has found that 16% of callers made purchases based on information they learned through an on-hold message.
Contact us to learn more about music on hold, and discover why it’s one of the most important and profitable features of our cloud phone system. We can connect with you over-the-web at a time/day that is convenient for you and your team.
Call us at (336) 544-4000 or chat with us during business hours by clicking the chat icon on the lower-left of your screen. We are a local Greensboro, North Carolina-based business with over 100 5-star reviews!