On-Hold Messaging Can Improve a Strong Customer Service Channel


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In today’s increasingly competitive economy, good customer service is a critical part of customer satisfaction and retention. A bad customer-service experience could mean more than a single lost sale. It could cost you many potential customers. Americans say they tell an average of nine people about good experiences, and nearly twice as many (16 people) about poor ones, according to an American Express survey.

Other industry surveys support those findings. A recent survey by Genesys looked at the impact of the customer experience and engagement in 16 countries. Nearly 70 percent of consumers who responded to the survey said they had ended a relationship with a company based on poor customer service. The survey showed that business defections and abandoned purchased because of poor service cost companies in those countries $338.5 billion a year.

The telephone is still the preferred communication channel for most customers, according to the survey. Email is closing the gap, followed distantly by online self-service options. And customers overwhelmingly indicated greater satisfaction with telephone interactions. More than 60 percent of respondents said they had a positive experience with the telephone, compared to less than 20 percent that reported a negative experience over the telephone.

A strategic on-hold marketing campaign can further satisfy and engage those callers when you cannot answer the call. An effective on-hold message helps customers in a variety of ways:

  • Answer FAQs: Many callers are seeking answers to their questions. You can be proactive by answering commonly asked questions in your on-hold message. An FAQ page on your website is a great place to start. And rotating the answers throughout the year keeps your on-hold message fresh and your customers happy.
  • Provide the latest company/brand/industry news: News travels fast in today’s culture. If you have heard news that affects your business — a recall, a new product line, updated technology — chances are your customers have, too. Including the latest news in your on-hold message tells callers you are on top of your game, and you’re looking out for their interests.
  • Promote sales and seasonal products or services: If you own a tire store in Denver, your on-hold message is the perfect place to remind people about snow tires for the winter. But don’t forget to remind them when it’s time to take the snow tires off, either. The same holds true if you sell leaf blowers, patio furniture or baseball mitts.
  • Let your on-hold message be a positive extension of your customer service by anticipating callers’ needs. A proactive approach to your on-hold marketing tells your customers that serving their needs is just as important as making the sale. According to American Express (no slouches in the customer service area), a good customer experience can turn one loyal customer into ten.


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