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Agents Put On Hold

People Management

May 01, 2002

We have been experiencing random calls where the agent hears dead air when they answer the call. Our initial reaction was a new agent trick to improve their daily stats. However, with the implementation of screen pop, we have actually called several of the callers back. They told us they had either put us on hold or mute, and forgot to pick up again. Has anyone experienced this, or better, tracked any statistics regarding calls that ring to an agent position but have no customer on the line? -- Dick Spearrin, Travelers Insurance


  • Posted at 12:00AM on Jun 1, 2002

    It sounds like the hold times are too long for your customers in queue.

    If you can't reduce the hold times, I would recommend a music on hold system that has messages every 30 seconds. They have such systems that will loop about 8 minutes, so you can put 12 scripts on it. Maybe a script to answer the issue that most callers call about, or a script promoting your web support (if any), or just promoting the company and informing your customers who you are and what you do for them.

    We use Music Works in NYC (212-989-1104, David Sandler). Tell him Anthony sent you. -- Anthony DiFilippo, Broadview Networks

  • Posted at 12:00AM on Jul 1, 2002

    Yes, we experience this very same thing. Unfortunately, I do not have any statistics to offer. In our case we do not have long hold times. Our average queue time is 43.6 seconds. Currently, our ACD is set up to give a recording after four seconds delay, then music for 60 seconds, then a recording, then music for 30 seconds, then delay of 10 seconds and then forward to a back up ACD group. With time at a premium for everybody, I believe that everybody multi-tasks. So unless you can answer the phone on the first two rings, you'll still have people who will put you on hold or on speaker phone and forget you are there. -- Kathryn M. Baker

  • Yolanda Hernandez Posted at 12:00AM on Apr 20, 2007

    I belive what Dick was asking here is when a caller places an agent on hold. We've gotten calls where a customer puts us on hold. Our agent in the meantime is holding and our queued calls growing. When is it okay to disconnect the call or what do you recommend we do when a caller asks us to hold? -- Yolanda Hernandez, Advantage

  • Sean McCloskey Posted at 12:00AM on May 4, 2007

    I agree, long hold times are usually to blame. The other cause could be IT related. I would say best practice would be for the agent to state their announcement, what ever it may be. Wait five seconds, repeat again, wait five seconds and announce that you cannot hear anything on the other end and there might be an issue with the phone system or the phone line and that they should call back. Then wait 10 seconds. No more than 30 seconds total. This gives speaker phone callers a chance to come back. I have personally taken calls where I heard rustling in the background and someone shouting hang on, "hang on I'm coming." The negative side to using call stats as a measure is the agent would be inclined to hang up in this situation, because the customer will have wasted one minute of the handle time, if handle time is important to the measure of their performance. I also worked for another company ... rhymes with Mell ... where at one time the wait time was around 1 hour to 2 hours. Many times I would pick up the phone to hear snoring. A more interesting ethical dilemma would be, is it rude to wake them? ;-) -- Sean McCloskey, Eidos Interactive

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