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 …
- Complain to the agent. The reality is, they’re using limited tools to do their job, so why shoot the messenger?
- 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.
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: