Communicate expected hold time.

Communicating expected hold time is something that almost all great customer service representatives do and also something that almost no mediocre or below customer service representatives do. Communicating expected hold time is really polarized in that regard, but it is not something that should be ignored.

The rule of thumb is dead simple: let people know how long you expect them to be on hold. If you only need to look into the customer’s account information, ask if they’d mind holding one or two minutes. If you have to get up and find your supervisor and ask a question, ask if the customers minds holding five to six minutes. Be realistic and be consistent. Always let the customer know how long they’ll be holding.

Some (generally lazy) representatives complain about this and say they can’t be sure how long the customer will hold. This is a good point, but I think most customers would rather have a ballpark idea about how long something will take than no idea at all. They don’t expect you as a representative to give them a scientifically accurate timeline, but they do expect for your estimate to be in the ballpark. As always, if something changes, you should let the customer know and if necessary, change your estimate and communicate that to the customer.

The customer service experience is about the customer. They should know how long it is going to take and what is going on. Never hesitate to tell the customer either of those things. They’ll certainly appreciate it and in the long run, it’ll make the customer service experience much less frustrating for both the customer and the representative.