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Waiting on Hold: 6 Reasons Your Customers Hate It

By July 24, 2019 No Comments
Frustrated woman on hold Featured
Frustrated woman on hold Featured

Waiting is a necessary part of life that starts in childhood and continues to test patience through adulthood. Whether it’s waiting for the first day of summer to arrive, for Christmas morning, to check out at the grocery store, or on hold for customer service, the truth is, nobody enjoys it. In a survey released by Consumer Reports, the biggest complaint customers have is waiting on hold to talk to a live customer agent.

In today’s marketplace, customers expect instant results, and having to wait on hold for service can turn a loyal customer into a lost one. As a business, customer expectations should be at the center of your mission and everyday activities. Creating an enjoyable customer experience starts with understanding what customers hate, why, and how you can fix it. Here six reasons customers hate waiting on hold.

1. Customers Have Other Things To Do
Customers aren’t just customers. They have responsibilities that require their attention, including being parents, working, managing a household, running errands, and being a supportive friend or family member. Waiting on hold takes them away from these responsibilities and makes them feel as if your company doesn’t care about or respect what matters most to them.

2. Perceived Wait Times Feel Longer Than They Are
Even if your average wait time is less than a minute, it feels much longer for the customer waiting on hold. Studies show that customers feel as if they are waiting longer than they actually are, which fuels their frustration, lack of patience, and desire to do business elsewhere.

3. They Feel Unproductive
Waiting on hold often means customers have to remain stationary until they reach a customer service representative or get an answer to their request. Depending on where they are, they may not be able to work on another activity, which makes them feel unproductive with their time. Feeling unproductive doesn’t result in positive feelings about themselves, and they are quick to blame waiting on hold for that.

4. They Already Are Lacking Patience
In many cases, when a customer reaches out to your company is because something didn’t go as planned in their initial interaction. And that means they already lack patience with your company. Having them wait on hold in these instances causes anger and can cost you loyal customers.

5. Customers Feel Like Their Money Is Wasted
Customers pay for the product or service you offer. In return, they expect answers, acknowledgment and superb service in a timely fashion. When expectations aren’t met, they automatically feel as if they wasted their money and less likely to return in the future.

6. High Expectations Aren’t Met
One of the lessons we touch young individuals is good things come to those that wait. When you place a customer on hold, they have high expectations for the end result. Too often, customers are let down by mediocre service after waiting on hold, which increases the chance they will look for a competitor that does it better.

Customer expectations are evolving every day. To avoid anger and frustrations, businesses need to look for ways to minimize or prevent hold times and deliver a positive experience. Some ways businesses can overcome long hold times include:

+ Adding more live agents during peak times.
+ Consistently training agents on the products and services you offer so they are better equipped to answer questions more timely.
+ Implement a scorecard system that generates instant feedback for agents so they can improve on future calls.
+ Make sure customers are connected with the right department on the first try.
+ Make changes to instructions and resources provided to customers, so they have a better understanding of the product or service from day one.

Implementing just one or two of these can help decrease call hold times and improve the customer experience.