If a customer has to wait on hold while “We are experiencing an unusually high call volume”, here is a spectrum of wait experiences for them, from worst to best:
Wait experiences for customers
- Worst: Dead space. A customer hearing nothing wonders whether they are even still connected!
- OK: Messages repeating every now and then. For example, “We appreciate your business,” or “Your call is important to us,” usually followed by, “Please hold for the next available agent.” Just the fact that the customer is hearing a message means they are still connected. However, hearing the same cliches over and over again is a bit annoying.
- Better: Music playing between the messages. Hopefully, calming music.
- Even better: An estimate of wait time. This helps set the customer’s expectations so they know whether they have time right now to wait or whether they should call back later.
- Best: Estimate given and a choice to wait or have a call-back. The customer can choose to wait now or have a customer service rep call them back. See my last post of 2006, New Year’s Musings, for a real-life example of this with a utility company.
Of course, the best wait experience is no wait experience at all!