Tired of waiting on hold? Be direct and tell companies how you feel

Who hasn’t been held hostage in the ‘on hold with’ black hole?  We’ve all been stuck in this helpless situation with nothing to do but wait.  Although it’s the most dreaded part of the call center experience, the fact is that consumers prefer the phone as a channel to communicate.

A Forrester report indicated that, even in this multi-channel world, 72% still prefer the phone. We CRAVE human interaction, but LOATH the call center experience.  The 2011 American Express Survey indicated the most cringe-worthy phrases consumers don’t want to hear:

 “We’re sorry, but we’re experiencing unusually heavy call volumes.  You can hold or try back another time.”

“Your call is important to us. Please continue to hold.”

How can we, as consumers, deal with hold-time frustrations?

You could …

  1. Complain to the agent.  The reality is, they’re using limited tools to do their job, so why shoot the messenger?
  2. Write a letter/email to the company.  You might get a response (if at all) that says, “We’re sorry for your inconvenience, here’s a gift card for … ”.  Then what happens when you have to call them again?

The truth is, in this socially connected world there’s a growing army of unhappy and bitter customers venting their frustration on Twitter.  Brand related complaints are permanent and searchable – companies need to pay attention to you, the consumer.

We, the folks at Fonolo, created a way for consumers to productively use their ‘on hold with’ time and let companies know how they feel.  We feel that greater awareness of the waiting-on-hold problem will increase the likelihood of change in the call center world — the power is in the numbers.

About onholdwith.com

This site is a public service that provides consumers with a platform to post and discuss their frustrations.  It catalogs and alerts companies about hold-time complaints, ultimately giving consumers a voice. We’re hoping the pressure will motivate companies to make changes to their call center operations. It’s not fair that you, and millions of other customers, are suffering through a horrible call center experience.  Give it a try – visit the site, search for a company and see all the ‘onholdwith’ tweets for that specific organization – in real time!

Now that Black Friday and Cyber Monday have passed let’s analyze the aftermath with one retailer, Toys R Us:

Everyone complaining on Twitter about Toys R Us will show up on this page.  It’s evident that Toy R Us failed their customers  – but it got progressively worse when a consumer was so frustrated that she blogged about her experience.  Other @onholdwith followers who are using the site today are really seeing the potential:

What’s the alternative to waiting on hold?

There’s an obvious alternative to putting people on hold: Companies should give customers the option to get a callback when an agent is available – it’s called Virtual Queuing.

Today, Virtual Queuing can easily be added to any call center, resulting in happier customers and lower telco costs. The problem is, many companies simply don’t know about it, or assume it’s an expensive option (which, until recently, was true).  Urge offending companies to look into Virtual Queuing.  Write them an email, send a tweet, or search for a company here, and use our automated tweet button.  Other consumers, just like you, have already started to spread the word:

Fonolo Can Help

Fonolo is the most convenient way to connect customers with your call center, regardless of where the conversation begins.  Simply offer a call-back so your customers never wait on hold again.

  • Cloud-Based: Secure and scalable. Nothing to install.
  • Fast and Flexible: Fonolo adapts to your existing call center. Get up and running in days!
  • Affordable: Fits any budget. Flat rate pricing from $99/month.

Our customers love us – and they’re not shy about saying so in public.  Read more about our customer successes.

Webinar on demand: 3 Ways to Reboot Your Call Center

Fonolo’s BEST webinar ever! With a steady stream of questions for Kent McInall, Director Service Activation Assurance at Allstream, he shared how Allstream is winning in the areas of brand perception, customer loyalty & employee productivity.

Here’s a quote from Kent …

“We have deployed this [Fonolo] to our field technicians. We are increasing the number of several field organizations within Allstream. We’ve deployed it [Fonolo] to our largest one [organization], there are several satellite field organizations that we deal with that we’re deploying it [Fonolo] to as well. We’ve got full support from the organization, people want to integrate with our services assurance team based on the ease of doing business with us and this is a critical tool we put in front of our peers within Allstream to say we are easy to do business with, here is how to reach us and here is how to interact with us.”

Curious to find out exactly how Allstream is winning in the areas of brand perception, customer loyalty and employee productivity? Watch the webinar – most of the questions were for Kent who wasted no time in providing in depth answers.

Now available:  3 Ways to Reboot Your Call Center