Customer Serivce


Monday, February 21st, 2011

Silence isn’t golden when your customer’s on the phone

The door opens, and in walks the customer you were working with last week…what was it they were looking at? Oh yes, the dining room suite. And you were hoping they were going to add the sideboard as well.

(ring-ring) But right as they walk in, the phone rings. And you’re the only one around to answer it.

A problem facing many family owned furniture stores…who do you help? The live prospect that walked in the door…or the customer calling in on the phone. Maybe they’re going to finally buy that premium mattress set they’ve looked at 3 times.

Your best option? Both. Help both. And here’s how.

Before you answer, you can certainly acknowledge the customer who walked in. Then, because the phone won’t stop ringing until the caller hangs up, go ahead and answer that. Now, here is the key part:

Ask them if they can hold…and wait for the answer. If they’re calling for someone else, you may be able to transfer them right away.

But if not, and you place them On-Hold, you can still be helping them…IF you have a custom On-Hold message that is current, relevant, and fresh.

But this can’t just be any On-Hold message. It must be about your customer…not your store. It must talk about the things you would like to tell your customer, but speak in the language of the customer. Tell them an authentic story, and make them the star. Otherwise they will tune it out, and it will have no impact on them at all.

A Custom On-Hold message is a critical piece of your overall Marketing Strategy.

Once that caller is On-Hold, the goal is NOT to leave them there!

The goal is to be able to hand that call off as quickly as possible, so you can help the person standing across the counter from you.

While that caller is On-Hold they are hearing about how the new collection will coordinate with their existing furniture, why the new outdoor collection you are carrying is just right for their deck or patio, and that they’ll never have to pay for delivery again, as long as they shop with you.

Of course, that’s all assuming you have an On-Hold message. (What’s that? You don’t know what customer’s hear when they’re On-Hold? Well by all means, pick up your phone right now, dial your furniture store’s main number, and ask them to put you On-Hold.)

Now, imagine the scenario above, if your “hold music” is just silence. What will be going through your customer’s head?

“Am I still connected?” “Did they forget about me?” “How long have I been On-hold?” “Who did I call?”

Silence is not golden when it comes to phone experiences.

Today, businesses are putting the average caller On-Hold for a cumulative 54 seconds. That means, if one call is On-Hold for 10 seconds, the next call my be On-Hold for 5 minutes!

And here’s the result of simply listening to silence On-Hold:

  • After just 30 seconds, callers begin to get anxious or frustrated.
  • After 45 seconds, callers forget who they’ve called
  • After 60 seconds, 1 out of 3 callers will hang up…frustrated.


Whereas, with a custom On-Hold message, callers will stay on the line for 3 minutes or more.

Would you rather be talking to a customer or a dial-tone when you pick the phone back up?

It’s your choice!

Not sure if you need an On-Hold message?

You can use a Caller Evaluation service to know exactly what your current customers are experiencing.
Improve your Caller Experience, and it will improve your bottom line.

Are you ready to tell your authentic story?

By Guest Blogger Chester Hull

For the first time ever, The Lively Merchant welcomes a guest blogger to our pages. We invited Chester Hull to tell you about his product because we truly believe it can help independent furniture store owners. There’s nothing in it for us, please contact Prosound directly to evaluate your Caller Experience.

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