Angry at “Blather-on-Hold?

I recently received a package that I ordered online, and when I opened it, I found that the product inside was defective.  There was a “Customer Service” phone number to call for return authorization and replacement, so I called, expecting to hear a recorded message asking me to select the department I wanted.  But then there I was, placed in “Hell-on-Hold,” listening to the same message about “sale” items, how great the company is, and how much the company appreciates me, while the annoying message repeated itself again and again and again.  I finally hit the button for my speaker phone and turned down the volume to “just loud enough to know when a live person answers the phone” while I sat there “Angry-on-Hold”.

I’m sure you’ve been there too, being “angry-on-hold” and getting angrier while holding the phone, waiting for the person you need to talk to to get on the line.  That annoying music begins to hurt, and the little hairs on your neck stand on end whenever when that cloyingly cheerful recorded voice comes back on the line to thank you for waiting, and then you have to listen to all their commercials again and again.  

If your company has an “on hold” message system, you certainly don’t want your valued customers and prospects to suffer that way, do you?  Better check your message today.

If you have a music / message-on-hold system, enlist a number of volunteers to listen and evaluate it from the perspective of a valued customer or prospect.  Do not have someone from your company do this – you want people who are aware enough of your company to phone you, but who are not intimately involved – you want a naïve opinion, not a preconceived opinion.  Ask if they feel your recording is: Enjoyable? Entertaining? Informative? Acceptable? Annoying?  

It doesn’t take much for a caller to form an opinion of the type of service they can expect to receive from your company by the smallest detail.  A well-designed recorded message can make the caller receptive, and they will wait “on-hold” longer.  An inappropriate, badly spoken, or annoying message can make the caller angry and hang up faster, and then you’ve lost a customer.

The product I was purchasing is pretty much a commodity, so, when “the next available operator” finally came on the line, I asked for a refund instead of a replacement and bought the same item somewhere else.  It was the only way I felt I could register my dissatisfaction for being forced to listen to their “Blather-on-Hold”.

Question or comment to Larry:  larry@larrygaller.com