Putting Customers on Hold, The Right Way

No one likes being put on hold, but sometimes it’s unavoidable. Especially when you’re working with reduced staff. Keep these tips in mind for a smooth transition to hold.

Tip #1. Offer a reason
Explain why you need to put the customer on hold. For example, “I need to call the shipping department” or “I’d like to confirm this with my supervisor.”

The reason must make sense to the customer and must sound like it is contributing to resolving the customer’s issue.

Tip #2. Don’t just do it
Ask the customer if you may put them on hold, wait a moment to give them the opportunity to respond, and then put the customer on hold.

Tip #3. Give a timeframe
Tell the customer how long to expect to be on hold. With this information, customers are less likely to get restless and angry. If you expect the customer to be on hold longer than about 30 seconds, offer an alternative such as a call-back or an email.

Tip #4. Check-In
If the customer is on hold longer than anticipated, go back on the line, explain the reason for the delay, apologize, and give the customer the option of staying on the line or of some other follow-up.

More practical service tips appear in the April issue of Customer Communicator newsletter.

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