Decrease Customer Frustration with Actionable Strategies for Managing Long Hold Times



Understanding and Managing Long Hold Times in Customer Support

Long hold times can be one of the most frustrating aspects of customer support for both customers and businesses alike. It often leads to dissatisfaction, loss of patience, and even lost customers. As a business, it is crucial to understand the causes behind long hold times and implement effective strategies to manage and decrease them. In this blog post, we will explore various actionable strategies and best practices to improve hold times and enhance customer support experience.

Understanding the Causes of Long Hold Times

Before we dive into the strategies to manage long hold times, let’s first understand some of the common causes behind them:

Overwhelmed customer support teams

Customer support teams can often become overwhelmed, especially during peak times or when dealing with a sudden surge in customer inquiries. Limited resources and high call volumes can contribute to long hold times.

Insufficient staffing levels

If a business does not have enough customer support agents to handle the incoming call volume, it can result in long hold times. Insufficient staffing levels can be due to budget constraints or poor workforce planning.

Complex or time-consuming customer issues

Some customer issues may be more complex or time-consuming to resolve. If agents need more time to troubleshoot and provide a satisfactory resolution, it can contribute to longer hold times for other customers.

Technical difficulties and system failures

Technical issues, such as system failures or unreliable call routing, can significantly impact hold times. Customers may experience delays due to these technical difficulties, leading to frustration and dissatisfaction.

Actionable Strategies for Decreasing Hold Times

Now that we understand the causes of long hold times, let’s explore some actionable strategies to effectively manage and decrease them:

Implementing self-service options

Self-service options empower customers to find solutions to their problems without needing to wait for a support agent. An effective self-service strategy can significantly reduce hold times. Here are a few ideas to implement:

  • Developing comprehensive FAQ sections on the website: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) provide customers with quick answers to common queries, reducing the need for them to call customer support.
  • Creating video tutorials and online guides for common issues: Video tutorials and online guides help customers troubleshoot common issues on their own.
  • Offering live chat or chatbot assistance: Live chat or chatbot assistance provides customers with instant support, minimizing hold times.

Improving internal processes and efficiencies

Internal processes and efficiencies play a vital role in managing hold times efficiently. By optimizing workflows and eliminating unnecessary steps, businesses can decrease hold times. Consider the following strategies:

  • Conducting regular analysis of call volume and patterns: Analyzing call volume and patterns helps identify peak times and distribute resources accordingly.
  • Streamlining workflows and eliminating unnecessary steps: Simplifying and streamlining internal processes ensures that support agents can handle customer inquiries more efficiently.
  • Providing ongoing training and support to customer support agents: Well-trained and supported agents can handle customer issues more effectively, reducing the overall hold times.

Utilizing technology solutions

Technology can play a crucial role in decreasing hold times. Here are some technology-driven solutions to consider:

  • Implementing an advanced call-routing system: An advanced call-routing system ensures calls are directed to the right department or agent promptly, reducing hold times.
  • Utilizing queue callback software: Queue callback software gives customers the option to receive a call back instead of waiting on hold.
  • Using artificial intelligence for automated problem solving: AI-powered solutions can help customers troubleshoot common issues without the need to wait for a support agent.

Taking a proactive approach to customer communication

Proactive communication can alleviate customer frustration during hold times. By updating customers and offering alternative channels, businesses can enhance the overall support experience. Consider these strategies:

  • Providing status updates on social media platforms: Keeping customers informed about hold times and any disruptions through social media platforms helps manage expectations.
  • Sending proactive notifications via email or SMS: Sending regular updates or estimated wait times via email or SMS helps customers plan their time efficiently.
  • Offering alternative channels for customer inquiries: Providing alternative channels, such as social media or email, allows customers to reach out in a way that suits them best.

Best Practices for Communication during Hold Times

While implementing strategies to decrease hold times, it’s essential to maintain effective communication with customers. Here are some best practices:

Informing customers of estimated wait times

Customers appreciate transparency. Inform them about estimated wait times at the beginning of the call or while on hold. This allows them to make informed decisions and manage their time effectively.

Providing relevant progress updates during the hold

Regular progress updates can help alleviate customer frustration and assure them that their issue is being addressed. Provide timely updates based on the complexity of the issue.

Offering options for callback or leaving a message

If hold times are anticipated to be long, offer customers the option to request a callback or leave a message. This gives them the flexibility to choose an alternative without having to wait on hold indefinitely.

Expressing gratitude and apologizing for the inconvenience

Show appreciation for customers’ patience and apologize for the inconvenience caused by the hold time. This helps maintain a positive customer experience, even in challenging situations.

Monitoring and Measuring Success

Tracking and measuring hold times and customer satisfaction levels are essential for continuous improvement. Consider implementing the following practices:

Implementing key performance indicators (KPIs) to track progress

Identify and measure KPIs related to hold times, such as average hold time and percentage of calls with excessive hold times, to track progress over time.

Regularly assessing customer satisfaction levels

Collect customer satisfaction feedback through surveys or post-call ratings. Regularly review this feedback to identify areas for improvement and ensure customer satisfaction is consistently improving.

Gathering feedback and insights from customers and agents

Engage with customers and support agents to gain insights into their experiences. Feedback from both parties can highlight pain points and opportunities for further improvement.

Making data-driven decisions to improve hold time management

Analyze the data collected and make informed decisions based on the insights gained. Use data to drive continuous improvement efforts and optimize hold time management strategies.


Long hold times can be a significant source of frustration for customers, impacting their overall experience and perception of your business. By understanding the causes behind long hold times and implementing actionable strategies, businesses can effectively manage and decrease hold times. Continuous improvement, proactive communication, and leveraging technology solutions are key to delivering exceptional customer support experiences. Remember, reducing hold times not only improves customer satisfaction but also enhances the reputation and success of your business.


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