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Hold Time

Market research 04 12
Table of Contents

What is Hold Time?

Hold time includes the amount of time for which a call center agent puts a customer on hold. This happens when a caller is connected to an agent and after discussing something, the agent puts them on hold instead of disconnecting the call. The caller stays online until the hold status is taken back by the agent. There are various reasons for putting customers on hold such as seeking a supervisor’s help for resolving the caller’s issue or cooling down themselves for dealing with angry callers. 

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Why Hold Time matter?

No matter what the reason behind hold time is, it’s essential for contact centers to effectively manage it and keep it minimum. A higher hold time signifies that something is wrong that needs to be addressed. An agent with high hold time indicates a need for efficient training or updating the knowledge base. Here’s why you should keep an eye on hold time:

It impacts customer satisfaction levels 

Customers are becoming more impatient than ever. According to a study by Arise, two-thirds of customers are willing to wait for only 2 minutes before hanging up the call. Moreover, 13% of customers said hold time is not acceptable at all. Thus, longer hold times are directly proportional to increased call abandonment rates, thereby reducing customer satisfaction levels. 

It creates a negative brand image 

In today’s digitally driven world, a poor customer experience isn’t restricted to a single call anymore. Customers openly share this information among their friends and acquaintances through the use of social media outlets – deteriorating your brand’s image and impacting customer perceptions negatively. The longer a customer stays on hold, the more frustrated they get – leading to more negative reviews of your brand.

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How to measure hold time in a call center?

In order to calculate the hold time, you need to add the time spent by all callers waiting on hold and divide it by the total number of callers.

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What are the reasons behind long hold times?

Inefficient management and understaffing 

There’s no doubt that contact center managers have a tough job of managing the department’s budget along with the agents. No matter how well-staffed your contact center is, there would be peak hours where it can fall victim to issues like understaffing. When there are not sufficient agents to handle customer calls, the hold time automatically increases.    

Long call handling 

In today’s time where customer experience has become a key differentiator over everything, reducing average call handle time for preventing long hold times might be risky. Getting rid of customers by rushing them through a series of steps was an old and inefficient way. If the agents do not listen to the customers properly and directly jump to conclusions, this unnecessarily increases the handling time and reduces customer satisfaction too!  

Inefficient self-service options

When customers face some issue, most of them try to resolve it on their own. To keep themselves away from long hold times, they would do everything possible to identify what has gone wrong. If your self-service options aren’t efficient and difficult to use, customers would hate to use them. This would contribute to longer hold times and poor customer experience too. 

Outdated call center software  

The technology that your call center software is based upon has a huge impact on the metrics like average hold times or customer satisfaction scores. The more efficient and more customer-centric your software is, the faster your agents will be able to resolve customers’ issues – thereby, reducing the overall hold time significantly.


How to effectively reduce hold time in your call center?

Make optimum use of call data

Call reports help to gain effective insights into your calls. You need to keep an eye on the customers that abandoned your call, the reasons behind their call, and how long did they wait before hanging up. This empowers you to analyze your call center performance and make informed decisions for resolving issues, thus, reducing on-hold times.  

Always record calls 

In the case where monitoring complex calls in real-time aren’t possible, call recordings can be of great help. With call recordings, it becomes easy to identify agent inefficiencies along with other issues that are responsible for the increase in hold time. It also helps to ensure that agents are sharing accurate information and following the procedures appropriately. 

Keep your knowledgebase updated

It will be easy to reduce hold times if your agents can get access to relevant information for solving customers’ queries and moving the calls forward. Always ensure that your knowledge base is up to date and easily accessible to agents at the time of taking a call. The faster an agent can find the required information, the quicker he’ll be able to help a customer. 

Monitor agents’ performance 

Ensure your call center software allows you to monitor calls, communicate with agents during an ongoing call (without letting the customer hear you), and join in between complex calls. This will empower you to pinpoint the crucial touchpoints in the customer interactions, i.e. where are things going wrong or what is leading to happier experiences! This will help to expedite agent training and reduce call transfers – leading to decreased hold times in the contact center. 

Optimize your call routing 

By leveraging effective call routing, your call center can ensure that only qualified agents will be handling the call from the beginning. It’s important to keep your routing system updated for connecting the customer with the right agent. Also, for basic concerns like consignment tracking, bill payments, or password rest, using an automated self-service queue is the best idea as customers don’t have to get in touch with an agent directly. 

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Why choose Voxco for reducing the hold time of your call center?

Intelligent routing

Voxco’s exceptional contact center software comes equipped with an intelligent routing system that ensures callers are directed to the right agents in the first go. 

Cost-effective IVR surveys and messaging

Voxco’s state-of-the-art IVR system offers a cost-effective solution for seamlessly managing your call queue and conducting self-completion surveys.

Enhanced interview capabilities

With advanced capabilities like a direct conference and transfer out, Voxco comes equipped with all the tools that your agents need to quickly handle customers and minimize the hold time.

Productivity monitoring tools

Voxco’s robust contact center software lets you closely monitor your agents through live productivity dashboards and make all required adjustments immediately for reducing the hold time of your call center. 

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Hold time is the amount of time for which a caller is put on hold by an agent. 

It’s important not to put your customers on hold multiple times. Also, do not leave your customer on hold for more than 2 minutes.  

  • Make optimum use of call data
  • Always record calls 
  • Keep your knowledgebase updated
  • Monitor agents’ performance 
  • Optimize your call routing
  • Take permission from the customer.
  • Provide a time frame for hold.
  • Return to the call within the given time. 
  • Thanks and apologize to the customer for the wait.

Yes, even after putting a customer on hold, the call center agent can still listen to them. As the calls are often being recorded when a customer is waiting, the agent on the other end can hear the abuse from the customer’s end.

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