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Turning Hold Times into Positive Customer Experiences

By Erik Linask November 13, 2019

Waiting on hold can be one of the most frustrating experiences for customers.  Not only are they not getting answers to their questions, but they are kept from doing other things while they wait for their calls to be answered.  It’s an unproductive period of inactivity for everyone that could easily become more than just unproductive – it could turn into a destructive engagement that permanently damages relationships.  Even if issues are ultimately resolved, it can leave a negative perception of an inefficient customer service organization.

The good news is it doesn’t have to be that way.  There’s no reason to lose touch with customers just because they are calling after business hours, or because nobody is available to answer their calls immediately.  It’s also not just about the phone.  We know customers use multiple channels to engage with businesses, and they expect consistent experiences across all channels.

The simple truth is, you can’t afford to give customers a poor experience.  They are much more apt to move on to competitors than ever if they don’t get what they expect – a consistent, high-quality experience across engagement channels.  What’s more, they are keenly aware that switching brands is a simple adjustment with today’s technology.

A PwC study recently showed that a third of customers will leave a brand they love after a single bad experience – and another 50% would abandon a brand after 2 or 3 negative interactions.  That’s more than 90% of customers with a very low tolerance for poor service.

That said, it’s not all gloom and doom.  While customers have high expectations for customer service, customers value it – even more than price or product – and making purchasing decisions based on their experiences.  They are also willing to pay for excellent experiences. 

So, while many businesses have work to do to build excellence and consistency across engagement channels – and to eliminate wasted time customers spend on hold – the tools and technology are readily available.  When businesses understand the connection between technology and service quality and able to deliver excellent omnichannel engagement, customers recognize it and are willing to pay for it.

I just moderated a webinar featuring a fireside chat-style presentation between author and customer experience thought leader Brian Solis and RingCentral’s Alain Mowad.  The two of them discussed many of the variables in customer service strategies that can make the difference between excellent and poor experiences.  Ultimately, voice is not going away and will remain a key element of customer service, so whether it’s employing modern IVRs and callbacks, or simply adding Swedish metal to your hold music, understanding what your customers want and how to meet those expectations goes a long way towards ensuring positive experiences.

If you missed our webinar, How to Make Hold Times a Thing of the Past with Digital Customer Engagement, take some time to listen to what Brian and Alain had to say and learn how to turn your customers into brand advocates.




Edited by Erik Linask

Group Editorial Director

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