By Daniel Hunter

Almost 70 per cent of callers to UK businesses are put on hold for longer than one minute, according to a newly-published survey.

The research — carried out by ICM on behalf of audio branding specialists PH Media Group — also revealed 70 per cent of customers are put on hold during more than half their calls to businesses.

“Ever increasing pressure on business resource means it is inevitable customers will be put on hold but this only emphasizes the pressing need to handle calls in the most appropriate manner,” said Mark Williamson, PH Media Marketing and Sales Director.

“Lost calls can have a significant impact on a company’s bottom line but the risk can be mitigated by ensuring customers remain engaged and informed even while on hold.

“On-hold marketing allows customers to be provided with targeted messages, offering relevant information on anything from opening times to product launches or seasonal offers, and can help businesses to retain 70 per cent of calls.”

Seventy-three per cent of the 2,000 consumers surveyed revealed they wanted to hear something more than beeps or silence when placed on hold.

Furthermore, 72 per cent of personal calls to businesses are made at home on a landline and 60 per cent of consumers are sat in front of a computer while on the phone.

“These results offer vital considerations for any business looking to employ best practice in the handling of customer calls," Mark added.

“If 60 per cent of callers are sat in front of a computer, a simple message directing enquiries towards a company’s website could prove particularly effective.

“Not only would it allow customers to be directed to a resource where their query may be answered more quickly and efficiently but it could also deliver a significant uplift to website traffic.”

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