Impact Learning Systems


Hold, please! Humor imitating life. Peggy Carlaw

Auto Shop Hold, please! Humor imitating life.Humor: A worker at a car deal­er­ship was jug­gling 12 dif­fer­ent tasks when a cus­tomer phoned. "Parts depart­ment. Can you hold please?" he said. The per­son on the other end obvi­ously couldn't, because the next thing heard was, "Then could you call back when you can hold?" Reader's Digest

Life: Prad­han Bal­ter, an attendee at a train-the-trainer ses­sion for our cus­tomer ser­vice train­ing pro­gram,  had a prob­lem with his car and took it to a garage a few blocks away to have repairs made. Dur­ing the lunch break, he called to inquire about the progress of the repairs and was asked to hold. After being on hold for an annoy­ingly long period of time, he decided to walk over to the garage to see what was tak­ing so long. Cell phone to ear, he approached the counter where the mechanic had just fin­ished up with a cus­tomer. "You know that guy you have on hold?" Prad­han said. "That's me." Prad­han hung up; the mechanic didn't blink.

Have you called your own cus­tomer ser­vice line? If not, call and find out what's hap­pen­ing. Do your cus­tomer ser­vice reps give you a curt, "Hold, please," put you on hold, and leave you there while they research a prob­lem? Mon­i­tor some calls. Do cus­tomers get annoyed with long hold times?

A quick fix is to train your cus­tomer ser­vice reps to use this four-step approach:

  1. Explain why they need to put the caller on hold.
  2. Ask per­mis­sion.
  3. Check back every 30–45 seconds.
  4. Thank the caller for hold­ing when they return to the call.

A longer-term, yet impor­tant fix is to find out why cus­tomer ser­vice reps need to place callers on hold in the first place, and then rem­edy those sit­u­a­tions. Do your reps need more train­ing? Do they need bet­ter resources? Do you need to improve processes or pro­ce­dures? Ask your cus­tomer ser­vice reps what they think, watch them do their job, then make the changes nec­es­sary for them to be able to quickly resolve the caller's issue.  Mom was right. Actions do speak louder than words. So if you want high cus­tomer sat­is­fac­tion, you need to treat your cus­tomers like their call is impor­tant to you, not just tell them that it is.

Peggy Car­law is the founder of Impact Learn­ing Sys­tems, a lead­ing train­ing com­pany spe­cial­iz­ing in improv­ing com­mu­ni­ca­tions between front-line employ­ees and cus­tomers. Peggy is co-author of sev­eral books pub­lished by McGraw-Hill, includ­ing Man­ag­ing and Moti­vat­ing Con­tact Cen­ter Employ­ees and The Big Book of Cus­tomer Ser­vice Train­ing Games.
3 Hold, please! Humor imitating life.
Peggy Carlaw
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