Twitter provides an informal dashboard on hold times

Companies never publish their hold times. So how can you know how your company is doing relative to your peers in the industry? Until recently, your only option was to do your own study — making calls at different times to different companies and compiling the results.

Twitter is (inadvertently) shining a light on hold times

Now anyone can go to http://search.twitter.com and type “on hold with”. The results that you will see aren’t exactly “hard data” but you can quickly get a sense of which companies are doing well by their customers and which are not. This is a real-time always-on scoreboard for your company’s efforts.

Here’s snapshot from when I did this back in January. It’s really quite illuminating.

Twittering while on hold

Who else is going to see that?

For someone running a call center, the fact that this data is available to everyone, means that a formerly internal metric is now an external one. Most concretely, it means that the impact of hold times on customer satisfaction is going to be much faster, since prospective customers can see that information as well.

Nearly half of consumers report always or often using an online posting or blog to get others’ opinions about a company’s customer service reputation. But when consumers go online they’re looking for “watch outs,” saying they put greater credence in negative reviews on blogs and social networking sites than on positive ones (57% and 48%, respectively).

– American Express study called the Global Customer Service Barometer

Fonolo can fix it

If you don’t have a big budget for new agents (and not many people do these days) then virtual queuing is the answer. There are a few solutions out there today to choose from, but if you are looking for something that is inexpensive and requires no changes to your call center infrastructure, our recently unveiled service Hold-For-Me is ideal.