Hold music not working: The reasons why

September 30th, 2011 by Peter Gallacher

Hold music, no thanks!

Not really the kind of title you would expect from a company that sells hold music and messages is it?

Well, there’s a twist in my tail as it was recently reported in the daily mail that waiting in a call centre phone queue for more than five minutes is bad for your health.  Experts found callers’ stress levels and blood pressure rise dangerously high as they become frustrated with the delay in being put through to the right person.

Of those surveyed, 64 per cent said their grievance is even more inflamed by annoying music, which is supposedly played to calm them down.  Panpipes are considered the most annoying hold music, followed by classical music and sounds from nature, such as crashing waves. The result is that people become so frustrated they hang up.

Hold music

So, what’s the answer – don’t keep your caller waiting for too long. The average hold time is actually 30 seconds so to keep somebody holding for up to five minutes is pretty poor service.

If you have a hold music CD playing to a caller when they’re placed on hold then make sure that they’re kept holding for the shortest period possible.

Although most businesses who use on hold audio don’t abuse the feature many employees will almost assume it’s a licence to keep people waiting. It’s not, in fact we don’t even encourage you to place callers on hold – but that fact is callers are placed on hold. If this feature is abused the result is not a desired outcome. The caller will complain (and not always about holding the line) but often about what they’ve been listening to.

However, with that said – the story in the daily mail was about somebody holding the line in a call centre queue. This is entirely different than being asked to be placed on hold, as many people in call centre queues are automatically placed in a queue. Without being asked.

To sum up, just remember that the procedure of placing people on hold is supposed to be a brief, happy encounter not a long frustrating one.

For more details and advice about on hold services feel free to check out our on hold messaging page on our website.

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