6 Most used on-hold phrases and their effect on your customers.

By Casey Fisher on 10/30/2015

With how fast paced our society is nowadays, consumers spend an astonishing amount of time waiting on hold. You would think that with all of the research that has been completed over the last ten or so years, companies would take advantage of the better ways to go about improving your customer's experience instead of using overused phrases and outdated philosophies. Many have - and for that, your consumers thank you. However, there are still a number of companies using these methods and phrases, so we've decided to compile a short list of them and give you a run-down of how consumers view them, along with some simple solutions to enhance your customers' experiences.


  1. "Your call is important to us"

This is quite possibly the most overused of all on-hold phrases, and one of the most irritating for your customers. The first thing that comes to their mind is "If my call is so important, why am I on hold?" The average person sits on hold for a minimum of 15 seconds - which, in today's fast-paced society, can feel like much longer than it really is to your customers. Instead of having a robotic voice repeatedly telling them how important their call is to your company, show them that they matter by lowering or completely removing their hold time with a friendly and relatable live agent.


  1. "We're busy helping other callers. Please Hold."

You have to give the companies who use this one a pat on the back for being honest. However, your customers don't care that you're busy. In fact, all your customers hear is that their call is less important than those who are being assisted. Although that probably isn't true, it's a moot point if that's the thought running through their head. Having some outsourced live agentsLink to customer service - even if they're only used as overflow for those unexpected spikes - can easily keep your customers from feeling underappreciated for a fraction of the price of increasing your internal staff.


  1. "An agent will be with you shortly"

This is one of the least hated on-hold phrases on this list. I say that because the customers hear the word "shortly" and they believe that they are close to the top of the queue, whether that's true or not. However, this can cause more of an issue than it solves after leaving them on hold for much longer. Tweaking the verbiage a little bit can give your customers a better sense of their wait time; our scribes have found that the most practical and preferred way to do this is to add an estimated wait time or the number queued ahead of them so they are prepared to wait or call back later before getting upset by the amount of time they spend on hold.


  1. "We apologize for the delay"

Acknowledging that your customers are being inconvenienced and apologizing for it are the first steps in repairing the damage that a negative experience creates. However, it makes much more of an impact when your customers feel that it is personal and directed to them individually. Having a few extra customer service agents to pick up some of the stray calls that your own agents aren't able to take can quickly dissolve a potentially negative experience for your customers. By outsourcing them, you can choose to forward these additional calls only during specific times of the day or above certain volume thresholds, saving your company extra cash.


  1. "Please remain on the line"

This is absolutely my least favorite on the list. I say that because of one experience I had with a company who repeated this phrase every 3 seconds or so during a ~5 minute phone call. Needless to say I hung up before an agent was available to speak with me. I feel like I shouldn't even have to explain why this is bad for your business, but I will anyways. Repeating the same message over and over again - even if it's a long and elaborate one - makes your customer feel as if they've been on hold much longer than in reality. I beg of you - don't do this to your customer.  They will not appreciate it.


  1. "Products/Specials information"

This is also one of the most common types of on-hold phrases, and it is understandable as to why that is. After all, what better way is there to inform your customers of your products than while they're sitting there on hold? We agree that this is a decent form of marketing. However, because the average American has about 4 hours of leisure time per day to allocate between anything besides sleeping and working,  there is a vast majority of these callers who are less than pleased to spend that time listening to pre-recorded product pitches. Instead, invest in some additional sales resourceslink to live agent who can give your customers a personalized pitch, both increasing your customer's experience and generating more sales.


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