Hold the Hold Music

By Bob Morrell on May 23, 2017

So it seems that a couple of times every year we have to spend a great deal of time on the phone, renewing insurances, energy bills, mobile phone contracts - you get the picture.

We all dread these interactions because they take too long, are frustrating and poorly handled, and we can’t believe that in this modern world we still have to do something so archaic in order to get what we want.

In a recent set of calls I made I became almost insane with rage at the hold music. This pre-recorded corporate muzak, a combination of strings, a kick-beat and a Yamaha DX7 keyboard, faded in and out. Sometimes I thought it was over and someone was coming on, but no, it was just a fade out for a second before the music swelled in again. The tune, if that is what it was, was then punctuated with a woman’s voice saying 'Your call is important to us. Someone will be with you shortly.’ This was 10 minutes in, so, not that important then, and not that ‘shortly’.

When you eventually get through they say ‘Sorry for the wait.’ A corporate apology even before you know why I’m calling? And also when I go through the mechanical security in order to be put on hold, when I get through, I then have to go through security AGAIN!! - So why did I have to do it in the first place? Just put me through quicker and do the whole thing then!!!

The music is also broken sometimes by informing me where I am in the queue. I go from 5th to 4th. Then back up to 5th? What’s happening? Also I get asked to choose from 5 options, all of which don’t quite describe the reason for my call so I take a stab and go for ‘2’. Then when I get through the person says (once through security) how may I help you today? Don’t you know? You must know who I am – where I live, the reason for my call, you must have my account history in front of you – can’t you make a wild stab in the dark as to the reason for my call?

And guess what? It’s the wrong department – so I go back on hold – with the same music – whilst I am transferred into another queue!!

The serious point here is that if I am calling witha complaint, after this experience, it is only ever going to be worse and you’ll never keep me as a customer.

Suggestions: If you have a system that gives people options why not let them choose which type of music they’d like to listen to? 1) for Jazz, 2) for soul/disco 3) for classical or 4) for rap/grime – then at least you get some choice. Also what about comedy? Why not have a random selection of comedians that I can choose from – everything from Flanagan and Allen to Billy Connolly….

The real solution is this – get rid of hold music – ban it, and just have provision to have each call answered quickly by a professional who knows how to get what I want!

Or is that asking too much?