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How to Handle a Customer Service Agent When on Hold

Jeevan Sivasubramaniam Posted by Jeevan Sivasubramaniam, Managing Director, Editorial, Berrett-Koehler Publishers Inc.

How to Handle a Customer Service Agent When on Hold

No one likes dealing with a customer service agent on a call, but they are not hapless peons who can only answer basic questions until they have to pass the call over to a supervisor. Customer service agents have a lot of leeway in how they can handle calls and what favors they can pull.

Inevitably, you will be asked to be put on hold while the representative checks various things. When this happens, pay careful attention to whether you just encounter silence during the hold time or whether there is music. If there is just silence, the chances are that the representative has muted his or her microphone but can still hear everything you say. This would be the time for you to pretend to be talking to someone else and make comments such as "I hope I am not being a jerk to this person, they seem really cool and eager to help and I don't want them to think I am ungrateful and I really want to talk to their supervisor and tell them what a fantastic job they are doing." Yes, it's manipulative, but considering how few compliments and thanks customer service representatives get in contrast to complaints and insults, it really makes their day to hear something positive that appears unguarded and genuine, and when they get back on the line with you, they will be much more willing to help you.