One of the worst experiences a caller can have is literally dreading the process of being placed on hold! Firstly, remember that your customer’s time has a value. Placing them on hold may send a negative message to them about what their time is worth to you.
What are some things you can do to counteract this “message”? Here’s one idea. Reinforce in your message on hold to your customer that their time is valuable, and let them know that you appreciate their patience. Once you do that, at least you’re communicating something any caller would like you to acknowledge, despite the inconvenience they are facing having to wait to speak to someone.
Stepping that up a notch, why not offer them something in exchange for their waiting to speak with someone? Like a special discount for services or special coupon for savings, that sort of thing. This further acknowledges in a tangible fashion that they are valued by you as your customer. Remember, everyone wants to feel valued and important. It’s a very basic human need in any relationship, be it business, friendship, family, romance, etc.. By imparting this message to your callers upfront, they may be more willing to 1) wait for someone to answer their call 2) take more of an active interest in your products and services.
Can you remember a time you’ve gone into a store, about to purchase something, and the cashier “taking care of you” is ignoring you being there, and just talking to one or more employees during your transaction? Do you remember how that may have made you feel?
Did you think to yourself “Hello?! Over here please!” If you experienced that feeling, you’re not alone…
Or how about going into a place of business and not having your presence acknowledged by a person working in the store who is there to greet customers when they come in? Perhaps they were on the phone with another customer, but in any case, did not make eye contact and acknowledge you at the moment you were near to them, perhaps waiting to ask them a question. You get the point.
How did you feel? Not so great, right?
If you experienced the need to be recognized by that person and paid attention to, this is the core need to feel important that every customer feels.
The best way you can understand this need is to have experienced a less than satisfactory situation such as what was just detailed. This develops a sense of empathy for your customers based on your own life experience. Since life isn’t perfect, we’ve all encountered this type of experience from time to time. Some of us on a regular basis! And of course, it works both ways. Employees can feel VERY devalued by customers, and perhaps not paid enough either. This really robs a person of the acknowledgement they need to feel happy.
So when your customers are on hold, it’s important to remember, that they, like you, need to feel acknowledged and important and that their time is valuable, just like yours. So, let their experience of being on hold reinforce that, while you’re telling them about your products and services. They’re more likely to listen to what you have to say if that basic need to feel important is fed.