3 Ways to Effectively Place a Customer On Hold

MjAxMi04ZDA4NzAxMmNmMDliYjljYou’re busy. Your phone stops working. Now you have to call tech support.

[insert sigh of desperation here]

I’d LOVE to call tech support today and wait in a queue for 30 minutes“…said no one ever.

You pick up the phone and dial the support line, select your menu options and finally reach an agent.

Turns out, your issue is too advanced.

I’m going to need to place you on hold.”

[insert sigh of annoyance here]

So you wait. And wait. And wait some more. Finally the agent comes back to you, asks another question, then places you on hold again. Then, BEEP! Your call is dropped.

You call back into the main support line queue again.

[insert sigh of anger here]

We’ve all been through this. And, being placed on hold is sometimes necessary but not desirable.

So, as a customer service agent, how do you effectively place a caller on hold even though you know the party is flat out unhappy about having to wait in the first place?

Here’s some advice:

3 Ways to Effectively Place a Customer On Hold

1. ASK

There are two very important things to ask:

Question A:¬†“May I please place you on hold for 2 minutes?” before you subject them to your upbeat super awesome hold music. If they say no, help them understand why you’ll be placing them on hold. Or, if they don’t want to be put on hold, don’t put them on hold at all and allow them to hear what is going on in the background. ALSO–if you tell the customer you’re placing them on hold for a specific time, such as 2 minutes in the example above, set a timer to make sure you follow through.

Question B: “If we’re disconnected, what’s the best number I can call you back on?” Things happen. Calls drop. It bites. But, having a number to reach them as soon as the call slips away is the absolute best thing you could do.


So, the issue is pretty advanced and you’re not sure how to handle it. Or, the one person that can handle it just stepped out to the restroom. The hold time is ticking and your customer is waiting on the other end for your return. The 2 minute rule always seems to be a decent amount of time to check in with your customer. Ideally, it’s less than 2 minutes, but if it will be longer, set a timer to check in with your customer every 2 minutes they are on hold.


There are better things to do than wait on hold, so make sure you are showing how thankful you are for your customer to wait as you find the answer for their problem. A simple, yet genuine “Thanks for waiting!” shows you are appreciative of the time they spent listening to your hold music.

Even placing a customer on hold briefly makes or breaks the customer experience. There’s nothing wrong with a little hold time but when you place your customer on hold, make sure you are doing it right!


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