Should You Play Hold Music, a Promotion, or Silence While Your Customers Wait?

Should You Play Hold Music, a Promotion, or Silence While Your Customers Wait?

Are you trying to decide between putting on hold music vs. leaving it on silent? Perhaps it would be a good space to promote your business? If you take a look at what customers prefer, you’d find that there is certain noise that they will tolerate and certain choices that they will not.

For example, customers won’t wait if it’s a long wait, if there was annoying hold music, nor if there is no apology when they get an agent on the line. People will say something if great hold music was chosen like soft, soothing music or the occasional agent stopping in to keep them informed on the status of the hold.

Here is a look at how to handle your holds, whether you should add a certain type of music, use it as a chance to tell customers about your latest promotion, or if you should go with silence to avoid offending anyone.

How to avoid losing your customers during a hold

Putting customers on hold is already a dangerous idea but sometimes it’s unavoidable. You may need to transfer them to the correct department, check with another staff member on a piece of information, or help multiple customers at once.

Customers aren’t going to be happy about this but sometimes you can avoid an unhappy customer by following a few rules. For example, customers don’t mind waiting on hold if you keep it under 20 seconds or sometimes up to one minute. Anything longer than this will require some extra techniques though.

Managing your hold times

Clients will understand a hold if you are trying to pull up their account or complete a transaction, if you are checking with someone from another department or with your supervisor, or if there is action being taken to identify the cause of a customer issue. They also want to see that you are handling the hold properly, by introducing it, to keeping them entertained, to keeping it minimal.

For starters, you’ll want to make sure you’ve introduced the hold properly to avoid a frustrated customer. When someone is asked for permission for a hold with a reason for doing so and is followed up with reassurance that it will be a reasonable amount of time, your customer should be fine with the hold.

If you keep customers entertained with soft, soothing music, a frustrated customer will feel calmer and not as much annoyed. Letting customers know that you are experiencing a high volume of calls and the approximate wait time, it allows for your customers to relax and feel less anxiety.

Finally, make sure you’ve scheduled callbacks if your wait time would be longer than a minute. Collect contact details and ask your customer when a good time to call back would be.

Music, silence or promotion?

While soothing music is proven to calm down a frustrated caller, what does silence or promotions do? Customers will not tolerate annoying or monotonous hold music, so if you were to choose music, be sure to pick something soothing and popular.

They want an enjoyable experience if they are going to be put on hold. For example, many people enjoy calling Apple or Disney because their hold music is really enjoyable and makes sense to their brand. Make sure the hold music isn’t too loud.

Silence can actually work to your advantage because some customers find music to be annoying. You could go the route of silence or allow your customers to choose their hold music. Typically, people prefer music to silence because the noise of some sort will allow customers to hear that they are still on hold and weren’t accidentally hung up on. Regardless, a long hold time won’t be appreciated even with the best music.

You could benefit from promotions during holds. Your customers will find it annoying if its repetitive or a long wait, but a short hold time with a few promotions may get your customer thinking about the great deal. They may want to ask about it when they are back on the phone with a person because the promotion was something they are interested in.

The goal is to keep your hold times short and keep your customers entertained to avoid irritation at the hold itself. Choose soothing music that fits your brand, a quick promotion, or giving your customers the ability to choose their hold music and you’ll find that holds don’t bother your customers as much as they used to.