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Dealing with Angry Customers On Hold: 7 Tips

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How do you deal with angry customers? Or worse, angry customers who have been placed on hold? Here are 7 tips for dealing with angry customers on hold, by Julie Cook, Easy On Hold president. These 7 tips will guide you on how to improve your on hold music and messaging, as well as expertly handle angry customers when they are on hold and waiting to speak to your customer service staff.

Wrong or right, the customer is king and you must make them feel better about your brand before you lose them completely. This is the type of emotional situation that can be diffused by on hold music and messaging, if executed with precision.

Seven Tips for Dealing with Angry Customers On Hold

If you’re part of a busy customer service call center, a repair hotline, or a toll-free comment line, you probably have a percentage of angry callers on hold. Something they bought from your company isn’t working like it’s supposed to, or something your organization has said or done has really ticked them off. And they are ready to sound off to the “next available representative,” and it won’t be pretty when they do.

But wrong or right, the customer is king and you must make them feel better about your brand before you lose them completely. This is the type of emotional situation that can be diffused by on hold music and messaging, if executed with precision.

So here are 7 tips for dealing with angry customers on hold:

#1. Pay attention to the hold music.

We landed a major contract with a national cellular phone service provider after my sister-in-law sent me this recording of her experience with them while on hold.

This was a multi-million dollar company, and this is what they forced on their customers every time they needed technical help. She said hold times were as long as 20 minutes. Why would they choose this kind of music? Who chose this music? How could they get it so wrong? And this kind of distortion? It’s simply unacceptable. So don’t overlook the importance of style and sound quality.

Angry Customer On Hold#2. No fluffy, grandiose content that talks about how great your company or organization is.

The caller doesn’t believe a word of it any way, especially when they just shelled out big bucks for your failed product. Steam is coming out of their ears (see photo), so stop talking about how great you are. It’s not the time or the place.

#3. No repeated messaging.

If your hold times are longer than 4 minutes–or can be at peak times–your productions must be long enough so the caller doesn’t get tired of hearing the same thing over and over and growing more exasperated by the minute. It’s okay to repeat a call to action or time-sensitive message, but rephrase it a few different ways so it doesn’t sound like an endlessly repeating loop.

#4. Don’t talk their heads off.

The caller needs time to listen and think about what you’re saying, so offer a pleasing balance of 20-25 seconds of talking, with an equal amount of music. This is not an exact formula and will vary from business to business, but it’s a good place to start.

#5. Help them solve their problem on their own so they can get off the phone.

Suggest they visit a specific page on your website for returns, or perhaps an easy fix to try on their PC. Some callers appreciate the human touch, but others love a DIY alternative.

#6. Skip the “your call is valuable” platitudes.

Callers don’t buy it. If the call was important, you wouldn’t have placed them on hold. We know you’re simply trying to convey that you care, but it’s pre-recorded and they know it. Callers will only feel important when they finally get the help they really called about in the first place. (For more on this topic, please enjoy: Easy On Hold’s List Of Banned Message On Hold Phrases.)

#7. Change the music after 4 minutes.

Your goal is to create the perception that the hold time is really shorter than it is. A variety of music tracks constantly rotating can do the trick. If you have repeat callers, this is especially helpful. And every few weeks, freshen up the content.

For more help in designing a custom on hold strategy for your customer care hotline, repair hotline, or your call center, contact a music on hold expert at 888-798-HOLD, or visit us at easyonhold.com. Be sure to use the SHARE button to tell others about how to deal with angry customers on hold!

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Founder of Easy On Hold and Brandi Music. Thinker, writer, speaker, tinkerer, husband, father, musician.

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