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On-Hold Messages Ease the Pain of Waiting

Some of the same psychological principles about waiting in lines can be applied to waiting on hold.

No one likes to wait. Sure, most folks can be patient, and sometimes even pleasant, while they have to wait. But I don’t know of anyone who wakes up in the morning excited about standing in a line; except maybe a few friends who take Black Friday way too seriously.

Here’s how standing in line unfolds for many people. When they first encounter the line, they groan. But as they watch the line progress, they see hope that their turn is coming. Or, if they are at the grocery store for example, a person might choose to get out of one line that appears to be moving slowly to get into a faster-moving line. Unfortunately, that new line often only looks like it was moving faster.

Some businesses have found ways to distract people while they wait. Disney is the champion at this, keep guests entertained with visits from all their favorite Disney characters. Another trick is lines that snake back and forth, making each leg of the wait appear shorter and disguising where the end of the line really is.

For many people, the only thing worse than waiting in a physical line is waiting in a virtual line on hold. With a physical line, at least people can see the end and gauge how quickly the line is moving. But when you put a caller on hold, you run the risk of them feeling like they have been set adrift, likely to be forgotten. They have no idea when they will be rescued.

In a physical line, hope often starts low and builds as a person moves through the line. But in a virtual line on hold, hope often fades and stress rises the longer a person is kept waiting. If left unchecked, that can lead to a high rate of abandoned calls.

That’s when your on-hold message can save the day. A custom on-hold message will keep that caller connected and engaged until you can take the call.

It’s bound to happen, too. In a recent survey, businesses that use on-hold messaging said an average of 57 percent of calls get placed on hold. Look at the time callers have to hold as your opportunity to speak directly to them and capture their undivided attention.

Placing a caller on hold is the perfect time to assert the value of doing business with you and inform callers of all that you can do for them, reassuring them they made the right choice to do business with you.

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