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No business owner is immune to having to represent his/her company over the phone. Whether it’s for booking appointments, making reservations or simply discovering the hours of operation, consumers call companies all the time.
It’s so vital to remember that when representing your company over the phone, you don’t have the luxury of hand gestures, facial expressions and other types of body language to convey your message. As we’ve pointed out many times in the past, your tone of voice counts for a lot. In fact, how pleasant (or unpleasant) you are over the phone can make or break your customer relationships.
There is most definitely an etiquette that needs to be practiced for the professional handling of business phone calls. And the ways in which customers are place on hold is a big part of it!
There is a right way and a wrong way to place someone on hold.
Placing someone on hold without telling him/her is a big no-no. It’s no different than shutting the door in someone’s face. But that’s obvious, right? What might not be so obvious is that hold time requires permission. To provide the best customer service possible, don’t assume that hold time will automatically be granted to you.
“May I please place you on hold for a minute or two while I look into that for you?” is one of the best examples of how to place someone on hold. The asking-not-telling technique is ideal because it shows respect to your caller – a huge factor in the customer relationship-building game. In addition, it’s important to consider the several things accomplished in that one question.
What important things are accomplished by asking your callers the above question?
It shows your politeness.
P’s and Q’s go a long way. The simple act of saying “please” is often enough to endear yourself to an individual you’ve never met before and have only been speaking to for a couple of minutes.
It provides a timeline.
This is an incredibly important part of hold time – it offers an estimate of just how long the hold time will be. Let’s be honest, no one likes waiting. A minute can seem like an eternity when the person doing the holding is unaware of how long the hold is going to take. For most people, any amount of time spent waiting feels like time wasted.
By indicating that the hold will only take a minute or two, you put the caller’s mind at ease. The timeline helps to ensure that only a short amount of time will be spent waiting. This is generally acceptable for those awaiting answers to important questions.
It communicates what will be done during the hold.
Uttering “Hold please” is impolite, provides no timeline and certainly doesn’t inform the caller of why he/she is being placed on hold. Give your callers your reasons for their hold times. They will appreciate knowing just what it is they’re holding for.
Custom hold music always helps.
A silent hold time is often a good enough reason for a caller to hang up. Hold music guarantees the holder that he/she has not been disconnected from the line. Believe it or not, hold music pays huge dividends for businesses by keeping callers on the line.
Custom hold music is just one of the many features that come with MeloTel’s cloud-hosted Commercial Phone Services. For more information, please don’t hesitate to contact us at 1-888-MELOTEL or use the Live Chat feature on our website!