It is not rude service by customer service representatives. Nor, is it a language barrier. It is not even being forced to repeat the same information over and over again. No, according to research the #1 thing that customers dislike — and many of them outright hate being put on hold.
The good news is that there is a smart and affordable way that significantly reduces — and during some periods eliminates — the need to place customers on hold: switch to a VoIP phone system.
Below, we highlight the 5 ways that a VoIP phone system reduces or eliminates putting customers on hold:
1. Give Everyone a Unique Phone Number (Even the Interns!)
You can easily and affordably give everyone in your business — including temporary/seasonal staff, part-time staff, and interns — their own unique phone number, so that (as per your policies) customers can contact them directly.
2. Use Auto-Attendant to Answer Calls on the First Ring and Direct Them Accordingly
You can use the incredible Auto-Attendant feature to professionally answer all calls on the first ring, and help callers self-direct their call to the appropriate employee, team, or department. For customers who hate being put on hold, auto-attendant is a welcome relief.
3. Use Routing to Answer More Customer Inquiries and Dramatically Elevate Your Level of Customer Service
You can configure time-of-day or day-of-week routing to shift incoming calls to a call center, mobile device, or any other number — which means more coverage by real people, and fewer instances of putting customers on hold.
4. Use Presence to Know — not Guess! — if Colleagues Are Available to Take a Call
Your employees can use the fantastic Presence feature to see in real-time if colleagues are available before transferring a customer call — even if colleagues are working remotely.
And even if colleagues are unavailable, asking customers for permission to place them on hold can go a long way towards keeping them calm vs. frustrated.
5. Help Customer Service Representatives be More Prepared
You can seamlessly integrate a cloud-based phone system with other platforms in your ecosystem to improve customer service and make life easier for customers who hate being put on hold. Here is an example:
Meet Tom. He is a Customer Service Agent and receives a call from the number 336-555-1212. The VoIP phone system automatically and instantly links into the Customer Relationship Manager (CRM) software, and identifies that this phone number is associated with a customer named Mary Smith. When Tom answers the phone, a pop-up window opens on his screen that contains a wealth of important and valuable information about Mary’s customer history: what/when she has purchased, notes entered by other colleagues, and so on. As a result, Tom can provide Mary with a much more customer-centric experience. Instead of putting her on hold and trying to dig up information, it is right in front of him!
Music On Hold – A Brief History
The history of music on hold is a relatively short one, but it is an interesting one. The first known instance of music on hold occurred in 1962 when a business owner named Albert Levy accidentally discovered that a loose wire in his factory’s phone system was picking up the signal from a local radio station. Levy was initially concerned that the music would be a nuisance to his callers, but to his surprise, they seemed to enjoy it.
Levy soon realized that music on hold could be a valuable business tool. He patented his idea and began developing a system for delivering music to callers on hold. In 1966, Levy launched his company, Muzak, which became the leading provider of music-on-hold services for many years.
Music on hold has evolved significantly since Levy’s early days. Today, there is a wide variety of music-on-hold services available, including the ability to add custom music, jingles, or even commercial messages. Music on hold can be used to achieve a variety of goals, such as:
- Reducing customer frustration with waiting on hold
- Creating a positive and professional image for the business
- Promoting the business’s products or services
- Providing entertainment for callers
How to Make the Best of Music On Hold
Despite your best efforts to control the period of time a customer is on hold, there are times when we cannot avoid it. However, there are tools to make even a brief sentence of “on hold” hell more beneficial, if not altogether enjoyable.
With a cloud-based Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) system like Carolina Digital Phone, you have the option of adding custom messages or seasonal music that plays during those brief on-hold periods. Carolina Digital phone even offers professional voice recordings for an additional fee. Your on-hold message could include information on shipping, hours, or other frequently asked questions.
Just remember that you must own the rights to any music you choose for on-hold. There are, however, many selections of music that are considered royalty-free. Be sure to ask your phone provider.
The Bottom Line
In a perfect world, there would be no need to put any customers on hold for any period of time. However, we all know this simply isn’t possible. Even large call centers with an abundance of agents will, on occasion, need to put potential customers and current customers on hold.
However, a VoIP phone system significantly reduces both the frequency and duration of this “necessary evil.” That means far fewer unhappy (or outraged!) customers and much more excellent customer service that is driven by the all-important human touch!
Contact Carolina Digital Phone and schedule your free, no-obligation demo of our advanced and affordable all-in-one VoIP phone system. Call us at (336) 544–4000.