When You Make Me Wait Don’t Waste My Time

When You Make Me Wait Don't Waste My Time

There are lots of great suggestions about how to keep customers from zeroing out. But sometimes zeroing out is exactly what you want them to do.

When? Whenever they want. If your customer wants to talk to an agent, make it happen. If he hits zero, send him on to a live agent, no questions asked, no obstacles placed and no holds barred.

And by “no holds barred” I mean the hold time spent until the call can be routed to an available agent.

Now, people don’t mind waiting for something if the wait isn’t overly long or if it isn’t boring or annoying and they have some idea of what the hold time will be. (At least I don’t.)

And there’s your opportunity.


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OK. Customer on hold.

Now what? Spin the promotions loop? Cue the music?

Please no!

Cue the information instead.

Just because the caller wants to talk to an agent—for whatever reason—doesn’t mean she doesn’t want to hear current and relevant information. It just means she doesn’t want to interact with the telephone. There’s nothing stopping you from using that hold time to tell her just that kind of useful information.

What kind of information do I mean, exactly?

What have you got?

It doesn’t matter what you tell them as long as you’re talking about them: as long as they’re the subject of the conversation. Tell them their balance. Tell them their next payment date. Tell them the amount of their payoff. Share some of your basic analyses: average daily spend and Interest YTD for instance. It really doesn’t matter—if it’s customer information, and it’s in your database, then your customers want to hear it whether they ask for it or not.

Here are some of the advantages to doing this:

  1. It’s a customer experience win. If you don’t play an endless loop of “My Funny Valentine” on the zither, and instead deliver relevant information, you are seen as a higher-satisfaction company.
  2. It’s a selling win. But don’t just throw things in from the Promotion Pile. Make it relevant. Use your data technology to focus selling events on items relevant to demographic, purchase history, credit score and more.
  3. It’s a teaching win. Absolutely, some people never want to interact with an IVR. But many simply don’t understand what they can find there. You don’t do that by keeping them from reaching an agent; you do that by simply showing them what kind of information they can get without the agent. That won’t contain this call (as soon as the customer zeroes out you’ve lost the containment battle) but it might make them try the IVR the next time.

Don’t waste my precious hold time playing music and trying to sell me things I don’t care about.

Make my wait interesting to me.

And what’s interesting to me?