Call Center 101: Putting Customers on Hold

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Being placed on-hold is one of the top pet peeves of customers in call center companies.  Customers who call for service or technical support spend more than five minutes of hold-time in one phone call. Call center agents should know when and how to place customers on-hold. When to put your customers on hold? If you are working as a customer service representative (CSR) or, a technical support representative (TSR) there are several instances when you need to put the customer on-hold. Some of these instances include the following:

  • To pull-up a customer’s account details;
  • verify some information from your supervisor;
  • run some web-based troubleshooting steps;
  • to verify information or call someone from another department;

The important thing about placing your customer on-hold is you knowing how to do it the right way. How to properly put your customers on hold?

  • Apologize and inform the customer that you’re going to put him on-hold.
  • Inform the customer the reason why you need to him on-hold.
  • Ask permission from the customer before putting him on-hold.
  • Try to place your customer on-hold for a maximum of two minutes. If you need more time, get back to the customer and inform him that you need to place him on-hold again.
  • When getting back to the customer after the hold, apologize and thank the customer for holding the line.

If processing the customer’s request would take time, schedule a callback if it’s possible. Inform the customers when to expect to callback, the reason for the callback. Don’t forget to verify the name and the contact number of the customer. Call center agents can also ask customers for the best time to callback.

If call backs are not possible, try engaging the customer in small talks while processing a request. Call center agents could engage in small conversations with the customer. While processing a request, or running a technical troubleshooting step, a call center agent can explain to the customer the processes that the agent is taking to solve the customer’s issue. This will not only lessen the instances of placing the customers on hold, but small talks can also help establish rapport with the customer.

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