You Spend 20 Weeks of Your Life On Hold. What If We Could Do It Better?

You spend 20 weeks of your life on hold according to HyperTomb.  That's 20 weeks of listening to horrible elevator music!  Interrupted every few minutes by an annoying voice reminding you it's not your turn yet.  Or spewing some ad before continuing to blare that ear-mangling music.  All while your neck is uncomfortably twisted against your shoulder so you can actually DO something other than be on hold...for. 20. weeks.  Meanwhile, sweat starts to drip between your face and the phone that you've cradled there too long.

Is it really any wonder that we perceive customer service to be so appalling after all that?  We're already calling because we have a problem and then companies seem to do an excellent job of putting us in the worst possible mood before handing us over to the poor schmuck to gets to deal with our now simmering rage.

How about something different?

First, ditch the elevator music.  And the ads - if I'm calling with a problem now is NOT the time to pitch me MORE of your products or services.

Instead how about a selection of audio articles for me to listen to while I'm waiting?

This way I could choose something of interest to me and feel like I'm spending my time productively.  Hey, it might even put me in a better mood than when I picked up the phone (hint: choose your articles carefully).  

This will require more effort on the part of companies. You'll need to do some research to find out what your customers are interested in.  You'll need to find quality content and update it regularly (hmmm just like your website right?)

These articles SHOULD aim to inform or entertain.  They should NOT be a sneaky platform for you to advertise.  Think long term.  Think nurturing your customer relationship.  Think customer retention.  Of course, what happens on the phone with your customer service rep after will also be vital to this.

They SHOULD be short.  You'll have to do some testing.  It may depend on what your average wait time is.  But my best outside guess is 3 min.

They SHOULD be read well - narrated.  No monotone voices.  With a variety (male, female, accents, etc.) of voices represented.  This is storytelling - not computer automated menu choices.

But just imagine if people spent their time engaged and interested while on hold and the difference it could make in the interactions with customer service afterward.  The ripple effect that could have on your business.

When you have customers on hold you have a naturally attentive audience and you squander it by playing music when you could be building your customer relationship.

We all know creating a pleasurable customer experience and over-delivering on expectations leads to brand loyalty.  Here's one more way to stand out to your clients.  To show them you respect their time and patience and you're trying to provide them something of value in return for it.

What do you think?  Would you rather listen to an article or elevator music?  Or do you have another solution altogether?