You’re on hold: Now listen to our crappy music

You’re on hold: Now listen to our crappy music

Being on hold while I wait for a customer service representative is something that I dread. The user experience with almost all companies is terrible. Here’s how I usually sequence my search for help:

  1. Company Website
  2. Twitter Account (if they have one)
  3. Web Chat (if available)
  4. Email (if not time sensitive)
  5. Pray
  6. Telephone

Switchboard Operators

Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

As you can see, I settle on using telephone customer support only after I’ve summoned the heavens for help – yes that’s how much I hate telephone support!  It involves having to answer 50 multiple choice questions so they can direct my call to the proper call center in India. Then, the company promises that I’m important to them and that a Customer Service representative will be with me soon. At this point, I am inevitably stuck listening to some music I don’t like. As far as I can tell the only innovation in call waiting that I have been able to pick up on are the systems that give you an estimated wait time. Beyond that innovation has been nonexistent – at least in my personal experience.

If companies out there are listening let’s start coming up with some innovation with your call waiting customer support systems. If I want to listen to music then fine but also give me an option to listen to my local weather forecast or the latest news headlines. If I choose news then ask me what type I want to hear – business, sports or entertainment.  If the company wants to use my time on hold to make money that’s fine too. But if you are going to up-sell me at least micro target the ads by associating my phone number with my purchase history.  The scenarios of what companies could do with call waiting systems are endless. In the end, all of the above ideas must be short form in nature (1-2 minutes).

So if any companies are listening, please differentiate yourselves and revamp your call waiting experience. If anyone has experienced an innovative call waiting system or has creative ways to get better customer service please let us know!

As an aside check out or – they list a large number of companies and provide the exact sequence of numbers you need to press in order to get to an actual human. Very useful!

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