How Long Are You Keeping Your Customers on Hold?

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Waiting for customer rep

Waiting for customer rep

When your customers call, do they hear, “Thank you for calling ABC Company. Your call is very important to us. Please stay on the line and the next available representative will assist you.” ? While the customer is waiting, the clock is ticking.

Time goes by, and the caller is subjected to the same message over and over, sometimes there is some elevator type music playing in the background. More often than not these days, you take the opportunity to promote your latest products or services while keeping your customers on hold. By the time a representative comes on the line, the customer has your message or messages memorized word for word, and not happily so.

As I write this, I am on one of those interminable holds. By now, my clock tells me that I have been waiting for 15 minutes. What do you want to bet that I can finish this blog before a representative comes on the line?

What am I thinking at this point? Try choosing the answer that you think best matches my thoughts.

  1. My call is definitely not important.
  2. I am not a valued customer as they would have me believe.
  3. My time is of no consequence to them.
  4. This company is not concerned about customer service.
  5. I do not care to do business with these people ever again.

If you chose any or all of these responses, you are correct. This will definitely be the last call I make to this company.

And would you believe that:

  1. I have finished this article?
  2. More than 45 minutes have passed and I am still on hold?
  3. I am getting ready to hang up and never plan to do business with these people again?

Is that how you want your customers to be treated? If you truly value them and their business, you will staff your phone lines with enough trained representatives to keep your callers from holding for more than one minute. If your response to my suggestion is to say, “But that costs money,” then remember the old adage, “You have to spend money to make money.” If you can’t afford to spend money on customer service, you probably can’t afford to be in business.

Additional information on being courteous and respectful of others over the phone and the rules for keeping your customers on hold can be found in my e-book, Business Etiquette 101 – Telephone Courtesy

Photo from Savannah magazine

Photo from Savannah magazine

Hire Lydia to work with your staff to improve customer service and employee relations through the use of those priceless and often over-looked soft skills called manners. Lydia is the “unstuffy” business etiquette expert who helps individuals and organizations add the polish that builds profits. We’re talking about your bottom line here.

Since 1996, countless people have benefited from her wisdom through keynotes, seminars and conference breakout sessions.  Her Southern charm and sense of humor have made her a sought-after speaker and consultant.

Based in Savannah, Georgia, Lydia is available for national, regional and local speaking and training engagements. She has suitcase; will travel.

Contact her via email at or call 912-604-0080. Sign up for her free monthly newsletter and visit her website,

One thought on “How Long Are You Keeping Your Customers on Hold?

  1. Elizabeth Cockerill

    I think that everything posted was very logical. But, what about this? Suppose you were to create a killer title? I am not suggesting your information isn’t good, however suppose you added a headline to possibly grab people’s attention? I mean “How Long Are You Keeping Your Customers on Hold?” is a little vanilla. You might glance at Yahoo’s home page and watch how they create news headlines to get people to click. You might try adding a video or a related pic or two to get people interested about what you’ve written. Just my opinion, it would make your blog a little bit more interesting.

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