On Hold Music and Customer Satisfaction

On Hold Music
NPR Marketplace recently published an article about on hold music that posed the question: Does music actually make the experience of being on hold any less frustrating?
Most of us can probably answer that with ‘I don’t know’ or ‘maybe’ and the research supports it.
Scott Broetzmann is the president of Customer Care Measurement and Consulting, which asked 702 households to rate their on-hold experiences on a scale of zero to ten. Zero being deeply unsatisfying. “And on that zero to ten scale, playing music while you are on hold averages a score of 5.37 — in effect a neutral score. It doesn’t really have any impact on satisfaction of consumers while they are waiting on hold,” says Broetzmann.
This result is not really surprising and left us wondering that maybe we should ask, compared to what? On Hold Music only tells half the story, in that the music is important, but not that effective without on-hold messaging.
Hold messages engage callers and keep them interested enough not to hang up while they wait. Messages can market a business or simply inform the caller and great music combined with creative writing and a professional voice talent makes it a complete package.
From the survey noted above, it was no surprise that silence on hold had a negative impact on customer satisfaction.
So why then do companies do things that have either no impact or a negative impact on customer satisfaction? Emily Yellin spent years trying to answer that question. She’s the author of “Your Call is Not That Important to Us.”
Where companies go wrong, according to Yellin, is spending huge amounts of money on things like surveys and focus groups to find out what customers want. “Meanwhile, they have this department called customer service where customers are calling and trying to tell the company what they think of them and they are being put on hold, they are treated poorly and then customers walk away frustrated,” Yellin says.
Yellin looked at how companies calculate the cost per call of each customer service call they field. Businesses use this number to find the right balance between keeping costs low and not angering customers with long wait times. Yellin says the companies that really get it right never put you on hold for more than one minute. Read More

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