General

How to place people on hold

Yes it is as simple as hitting the hold button but, as always, there is a better way!

Over the summer we've been working closely with a call centre client to improve the experience for their callers. This included providing a report on the current system and offering a full solution to make customer service improvements, from rationalising the IVR routing scripts to recording the new IVR messages with a professional female voiceover; in addition we made a recommendation to train staff on how to place callers On Hold.

 Now stick with us here, yes it is as simple as hitting the hold button on the phone but how you prepare the caller before placing them on hold has an impact on how they feel and the customer satisfaction level. Think about it how often are you unceremoniously dumping someone on hold without any warning?

 It’s much better to explain (even apologise if the interaction isn't going well) before placing the caller on hold, something along the lines of:

 I’m going to place you On Hold, I’ll be back with you as soon as possible and won’t keep you any longer than necessary. Then place the call On Hold

When you return to the call: Hi [callers name] thanks for being On Hold, sorry to keep you.

Simple but effective and callers will appreciate it. Test it out. Get your teams together, brief them, then at the end of the week hold a team meeting and see the responses they have had.

How call centre metrics impact customer service

We all know the frustration of badly recorded IVR messages, a muffled at the other end of the line presenting a baffling array of department options then being placed on hold and listening to terrible music. Do we ever think about the people at the other end of the line? There’s pressure behind these calls for measuring and judging staff on several different factors that we often overlook.

Call centre staff usually have their work measured and assessed on their average call times with a customer, the amount of calls they make or take in a day and of course customer feedback. Are all these factors really contributing towards good customer service? Or are they merely ensuring the numbers at the end of the month are on target? What impact do these metrics actually have on a customer’s call?

In any work environment being assessed can leave you with a sense of self-doubt, even when you know you do a good job. Whilst it may be better for a company making or taking calls to have their staff abide by a strict max call time, this won’t necessarily benefit the customer or resolve their issue if an agent is rushing to get them off the phone. A three minute call doesn’t quite justify half an hour on hold.

Many large companies choose to outsource their calls to a call handling company, which can mean agents need to know the ins and outs of several businesses and be familiar with different call handling styles and queries. For example I had three calls in the same day last week from a telephone provider, from the same agent each time in an outbound call centre, demonstrating the desperation some agents face just trying to hit targets.

There are several areas call centre staff are rated by:

  • Call handling times
  • Sales tactics
  • Feedback and surveys   

The issue is that, to really get to the bottom of where improvements need to be made in a company, calls need to be monitored by senior members of staff, yet their time is precious (they don’t have the time to wait on hold, unlike the rest of us, clearly) thus instead of listening in to their staffs’ calls they merely take the averages and turn this into statistics, which are often unreliable.

Call Centre Helper note the importance of realising what your customer wants and then using this information to make changes to the products and services you offer. This is where you see the real indication of what improvements are needed, rather than being focused directly on how staff handle a call and pressuring them to shave seconds off their call times. They note that “Monitoring from the caller’s perspective will give you an overall impression of what it is like to call your centre. It will demonstrate how frustrating it can be to wait in a queue and how friendly or annoying your voice messages really are.”

Perhaps it’s time to call your own company and experience a call from the customer’s point of view? If you think you could do with an update and improve your company’s image then contact us today for a quote for our professional IVR message solution. Maybe next time you’re put through to a call centre agent spare a thought for the real reasons they’re rushing and pushing!

Is your IVR suffering from broken window syndrome?

In the early 1980s James Q Willson and George L Kelling introduced the world to 'The Broken Window' theory. 

The theory gives the example of a building with one broken window; if the window remains broken, more windows will suffer the same fate until eventually the building is broken into in its entirety.  This, Willson and Kelling refer to as the ‘norm setting’, which will signal all-out urban disorder! 

The same applies in business - if a guest arrives at a hotel to a hostile welcome from the front desk this sets the tone for the remainder of their stay. So when they arrive in their room to discover a cobweb, or when they are shown to a table in the restaurant and not given menus, they are much more likely to complain about anything and everything throughout their stay.

The same is true of your IVR system.  It's your front of house.  Your head housekeeper.  Your maître de. 

If a customer has to spend what seems like an eternity in a call queue listening to the same messages telling them their call is important, their call is valued, their call will be answered as soon as an agent becomes available…frustration builds, and before you know it their patience has just about run out. 

How can this situation be avoided? Well like any good hotel you should have happy, well-trained, informed and interested front of house staff.  Think more Cesar Ritz than Basil Fawlty.

Call queues are, more often than not, unavoidable, but at least if those queuing callers are listening to the right style of music, a voice over that puts them at ease, and informative, engaging messages, they might actually learn something about you instead of just being irritated by the time they speak to a human being! 

Sound like a good idea? Got a ‘broken window’ that needs fixing?  Then give us a call - we can mend your IVR system and avoid all-out caller disorder.

Welcome to the new IVR Recordings Website

Hello and welcome to our new look IVR Recordings website, we hope you like the refreshed style and additional content.


We've got lots of information and audio samples of IVR Message Prompts to make your call centre sounds great. If you need professionally recorded IVR Prompts for your telephone IVR System then we're the people to talk to!

You can also Request a Call Back or Free Quotation here

Keep checking our blog as we'll be launching some exciting new content over the next few weeks.

If you're looking for On-Hold Marketing Messages then visit our sister website www.iNarratorOnHold.com