How to improve customer service by incorporating texting into your on-hold messages

jackrussel on lap girl texting

Did you know that 81 percent of consumers feel frustrated being tied to a call or computer when they need customer service? Now, imagine their frustration when they get placed on-hold-forced to listen to silence, outdated messages or staticky radio.

Ultimately, hold times are inevitable for the most part and trying to eliminate the issue completely is unrealistic. But the good news is that a helpful and informative hold message can make a tremendous difference for your callers and for you. Incorporating a call to action encouraging callers to text you will dramatically decrease call volume and reduce hold times.

It’s time to stop thinking about a customer waiting on hold as a detriment and start thinking of it as an exciting opportunity to improve client relationships.

Why a Good On-Hold Message Matters to Your Callers

You wouldn’t offer the same veterinary service to a new puppy that you would to an elderly cat. So, why treat these callers the same on the phone? Each one has different needs.

Imagine the difference it would make in the overall customer experience if you transformed on-hold messages into something helpful, enjoyable and motivational.

How a Stellar On-Hold Message Helps You

The customer always comes first, yes? But how can informational on-hold messages combined with texting benefit your team’s day-to-day?

When your customers text you, there’s clear documentation of communication. This allows your staff to track conversations or easily access patient records. The ability to send and receive MMS messages helps provide a more holistic view that a phone call might not be able to. For example, vets can look at picture messages sent to their clinic and determine if pet injuries require immediate urgent care whereas a frantic pet owner might not be able to accurately describe the issue.

When a pet owner must spend time on hold, providing answers to frequently asked question such as location and hours can help decrease call volume. And when staff feel confident about placing callers on hold, knowing that their time is productive, it allows them to devote their full attention to important tasks like taking care of clients, helping callers on the other line, or replying to text messages.

How to Make a Good On-Hold Message

1. Offer texting as an alternative to waiting on hold

Let callers know they have the option to hang up and text if that’s more convenient for them. Giving callers choices of how they prefer to communicate with you demonstrates your commitment to client care. Putting them in the driver’s seat makes them feel valued.

Example hold message: “Don’t want to wait on hold? Text us at 888-888-8888 instead!”

2. Use your on-hold message as an opportunity to market your texting capabilities

Educate callers about your commitment to better serve them and offer the option to text. You’ve already invested in this tool, so including a call-to-action in your on-hold message makes sure everyone is aware of this valuable option. This kind of information would fit well in a business information spot or a philosophy of care spot. Ultimately, this will also reduce hold time and decrease call volume as well.

On-hold sample: “Did you know you can text us? Just send your message to 888-888-8888 to schedule appointments or refill your pet’s prescription.”

3. Fill the gap with educational, promotional and fun messages

Use a company like PawsTime (who specializes in telephone messages on-hold for veterinary hospitals) to liven up your on-hold messages. Pack them full of information that your clients will value and find interesting so they won’t feel as though their time has been wasted. Align your messages to your current client education projects or marketing campaigns.

On-hold message example: “It’s almost Independence Day! But did you know, fireworks can cause anxiety for your pet? We recommend at-home desensitization and may also prescribe more holistic methods or medication. To learn more, please stay on the line or text ‘anxiety’ to 888-888-8888.”

Don’t forget about your voicemail greeting either, for it serves as an excellent opportunity to provide valuable information to callers as well. Let your customers know they can leave their cell phone number and you’ll give them a text back. Or tell them to text you instead of leaving a voicemail.

“Text messaging allows clients to be able to get their message across without having to sit on hold.” – Mandy Long, Manager,Giles County Animal Hospital

Integrating texting options with your customer service offerings will improve client relationships, decrease hold times, and save time and resources.

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