Are You Playing Russian Roulette With Your Waiting Callers On Hold?

Russian roulette is a potentially lethal game of chance in which a “player” places a single round in a revolver, spins the cylinder, places the muzzle against their head, and blindly pulls the trigger. While one would think this is a game of chance you would wish to avoid, believe it or not, you may very well be playing Russian roulette everyday with your waiting caller’s on-hold. An equally lethal game of chance!

Placing calls on-hold is risky business, but it happens all the time. It’s a risk, because a lost call costs your business potential revenues! Caller abandonment rates (lost callers due to hang-ups) have been estimated to cost businesses billions of dollars annually. Think about it for a moment. You’ve invested marketing dollars to get prospects and customers to call you. Fortunately, your marketing dollars have worked, and they have responded by initiating contact with you. Now, all you have to do is talk with them and close the sale! But, they hang-up the line before ever giving you the chance to serve them! This my friends equates to lost marketing dollars, and to make matters even worse, lost potential revenues. Welcome to telephone on-hold Russian Roulette!

According to AT&T, 70% of all business calls are placed on-hold, and more than 30% of callers who wait in silence, radio or canned music terminate the call right around 40 seconds. A study from ifbyphone shows across all size businesses, the average hold time is 56 seconds. With the average business receiving 100 calls per day, that’s more than 21 lost callers per day! If your average sale is even just $500, that can result in a potential loss of more than $10,000 per day. This very much seems like a losing proposition of telephone Russian roulette.

There is a solution to this madness. But are you taking advantage of it in your business? According to a study by call center technology, callers who are exposed to on hold messaging (music and custom branded information on hold), will wait as much as up to 3 minutes or longer versus the alternatives of silence, radio or canned music.

Message on hold not only provides a solution to reducing caller hang-ups, but it has also proven its worth as a valuable marketing tool for any business. US West Communications reports that businesses experience a 20% increase in requests for additional products and services that are mentioned while customers are put on hold.

And, according to the On Hold Messaging Association, which surveyed more than 1,500 respondents, 24% of respondents say on-hold messaging generated real sales for their businesses, selling big ticket items costing $500 or more. How much would that come up to yearly? Multiply the mean number of sales among respondents – 178 – by the average cost of $500 and you get $89,000. Yes, that’s the annual revenue that can be directly attributed to on-hold messaging.

Protecting your company from the risk of caller hang-ups and costly potential revenues is no joke. Too many callers on-hold and prolonged wait times can damage your business if not handled correctly. Businesses that fail to address lost calls by not implementing an effective message on hold solution are simply playing telephone on hold Russian roulette.

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