Call Answering Etiquette: Putting Callers on Hold

No one wants to be put on hold, not you, not your employees, and certainly not your customers. But sometimes it can’t be helped. Our services are designed to streamline and optimise your communication systems.

Any system that requires a human component can never achieve perfection, and this is true for a business phone system too. A time will come when you either don’t have the time to talk to certain customers or you simply can’t find the person they need to talk to.

Try to realise that, in some cases, customers do not want to talk to receptionists. Sometimes, they have queries that only specialised individuals in your organisation can answer.

And if you can’t find those individuals, your only choice is to put the customer on hold. While such situations are never ideal, there are ways to put customers on hold without eliciting angry reactions or ruining the image of your company.

The suggestions below won’t resolve every single situation amicably because you will encounter customers who simply refuse to see reason. But if you put them into practice, you will find that most scenarios in which you have to put customers on hold end in a calm and professional manner:

  1. There are times when you know that you will put a customer on hold even before you pick their call. In such cases, do not start your conversation by telling the customer they are about to be put on hold.

Follow your script. Mention your name and your company’s name, greet the customer, and then ask them to present their query. Only proceed to tell them that they have to be put on hold once this initial friendly exchange occurs.

  1. Do not inform the customer that you are going to put them on hold. Rather, ask for their permission. Remember, being put on hold isn’t the only option on the table. They could also leave a message with you or a voicemail for the person they wish to engage.

Do not presume that the caller is willing to be put on hold. Give them the options and let them choose to be put on hold.

  1. Tell the customer why you have to put them on hold. Don’t expect them to simply trust that you don’t have the capacity to engage them at that moment. State your case. Help them understand why it is necessary to put them on hold.

Additionally, tell them how long you think they will have to wait until you get back to them. Make the best estimate possible in the moment.

  1. Once the customer has been put on hold, don’t just leave them hanging. Check back with them every thirty seconds or so. Keep them informed of your progress. Let them know that you haven’t simply forgotten about them.

This will allow most customers to hang in there, regardless of how irritating the waiting process might be for them.

  1. Be sure to get the customer’s contact information. If they choose to hang up a few seconds or minutes after you have put them on hold or if the conversation is cut off for any reason, you need to have a way of contacting them.

And you definitely have the responsibility of reaching out to your customers in such situations. You need to determine what they wanted to say. You also need them to understand that you value their calls enough to reach out to them even after they were put on hold.

  1. When you return to a customer who has been put on hold, be sure to apologise for any inconvenience you might have caused. It is also polite to thank them for their patience.

All these seems like a lot of work but we have capable teams who are ready to handle them for you. It is necessary to nurture trust and loyalty in your clients. For further enquires about our services, please call 0800 228 866 to speak with one of our agents.

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