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News Talking Experience Music on Hold Contact Centre

Making hold time work for you and your customers…

6 Minute Read

A review of Premier CX’s eMOHtive.


How long do you reckon you’ll spend on hold to contact centres during your lifetime? Two days? Perhaps a week? Well, the people at Perkbox tallied that up and the answer is, on average, 43 days. You’ll waste 43 days waiting for companies to answer the phone!


Now that you’ve picked yourself up off the floor, think about the last time you were on hold to a contact centre. How did it feel? How would you best summarise your experience? Perhaps you’d use words such as “long”, “generic”, “confusing”, and I’m sure “annoying” also comes to mind.


My list wouldn’t differ too much from yours. So, when I was invited to review a new way of making hold time more interesting and personal to customers, I jumped at the opportunity to find out more. And as a natural sceptic of new things, I went in with an open mind…ish!


The natural ambition of any contact centre should be to reduce hold times and move more and more demand into self-serve channels. I think we are naïve to think this will happen overnight - as if all our lovely customers will jump to an alternative channel we ask them to, such as live chat, chatbot or self-service simply because we ask them nicely! Let’s face it, if they haven’t done it in times of COVID, then they are very unlikely to do it anytime soon (if ever). Customer holding is a natural part of contact centre life, and a crucial element that shapes caller experience. Our only levers here are to reduce it and/or improve it.


What if there were a better way to manage the on hold experience? What if you could run concurrent on hold scenarios tailored to different customers, intelligently managing your customers’ experiences whilst on hold?


In reviewing Premier CX’s eMOHtive solution, which claims to improve the on hold experience, we first have to consider the problems that operational leaders face when managing the contact centre before appraising eMOHtive’s effectiveness at addressing them.


Operationally, as contact centre leaders, we are commonly presented with challenges such as having to:


  1. Reduce dissatisfaction and complaints caused by long wait times;
  2. Eliminate complaints about hold music and repeated, annoying comfort messages;
  3. Present customers with effective call back options without them having to redial if the call doesn’t connect, further infuriating them;
  4. Signpost website FAQs or self-serve options without delaying the call being answered, as this increases stress and anxiety, especially for more vulnerable customers;
  5. Minimise agent stress and disengagement caused by dissatisfied and angry waiting customers and excess demand.


Even medium-sized contact centres queue callers for hundreds of thousands of hours per year, and typically repeat the same few comfort messages millions, if not tens of millions of times. Indeed, time in queue often makes up the majority of a call’s duration… so surely there’s a way we can use this time more effectively to improve caller experience?


The eMOHtive platform has some key strengths in addressing these challenges. Most obvious is its ability to play different music and messages to different callers in the same queue at the same time.


eMOHtive uses your customer data to deliver a personalised on hold experience. The obvious benefit of this being that your customers may feel more valued and less frustrated by the same old “Your call is important to us” message.


From where I sit, the goal isn’t to ‘spam’ your customers with millions of sales messages, rather to play them relevant, targeted messages that can help improve key customer metrics like NPS, Csat and complaints, as well as even increase revenue streams. eMOHtive facilitates this in 5 principal ways:


  1. Abandonment choice – Abandoned calls are not necessarily bad… it may be that by playing the answer to the question you think the caller is likely to be phoning about, you remove the need for them to talk to an agent. eMOHtive uses analytics to identify at what point the caller dropped-off and what message was presented, so you can separate your bad abandon calls from those you successfully helped via a targeted message.


  1. Up-sell messaging – eMOHtive generates cross-sell and upsell revenue opportunities by using customer data to play messages about the product you think they are most likely to be interested in. Any caller that is queued for about 10 seconds or more has the time to be played a message, so this seems to me to be a really powerful way to influence the behaviour of your callers just before their call is answered.


  1. Hyper personalisation – eMOHtive also allows you to positively manage your customers’ emotional states with personalised music and messages. This can be linked to a recent complaint, vulnerability status, age, or region of the country they are calling from. Tailoring the voice, tone, and words makes the caller feel more valued, which improves their experience, can help diffuse tension, and allows your agents to manage upcoming conversations with greater ease.


  1. Agile MOH – Wouldn’t it be great if the on hold workflow could allow you to automatically shift as contact centre stats change? Isn’t it poor to play a message saying calls will take a long time to answer, only to answer them seconds later? A cool feature of eMOHtive is that it can automatically play more calming music and empathetic messages when queue duration gets longer; or promote channel shift to live chat - but only when there are agents available. If manual changes are needed, these can be made by the contact centre manager in real-time without the assistance of IT or Comms staff.. giving them the agility to use on hold time more effectively.


  1. Differentiate your brand – You don’t need me to tell you that brand experience directly impacts customer loyalty. Investing in a personalised journey not only helps improve customer experience, it’s likely to increase retention and conversion rates. It will enable you to identify and cater to vulnerable customers by providing appropriate advice and reassurance, using an empathetic tone and messaging to help them feel more comfortable and better understood, all thanks to changes to your on hold experience.


Whilst thinking about differentiation, this technology is unique – and relatively new – which gives you an opportunity to gain first mover advantage in your industry and up the ante on your competition in the on hold experience game and create positive word of mouth amongst your customers and their social circles. This obviously will eventually fade as the category grows, but it’s still worth noting.


Like every other technological investment you bring to your business, as an operational leader you know that it needs to provide a return on investment. In other words, what’s the business case to bring this in? Is it through FTE savings, increased retention of customers, more new business or something else entirely? In my view, this is quite an easy question to answer, as another benefit of the eMOHtive platform is that you only pay for what you use - and it works out at a fraction of a pence per message, so this makes for an appealing ROI case which is quite easy to calculate.


Reducing call abandonment rates means reduced demand for call backs and better first call resolution. This delivers potential headcount savings and fewer calls thanks to a channel shift and could mean better Csat and NPS performance. In terms of customer retention, the ability to play millions of precisely targeted messages to customers who might be thinking of leaving or struggling to get the answer to the question they need, is certainly a much more effective way to communicate. Then think of the potential of highlighting relevant information about products and services that customers or prospects might not otherwise receive. Being more targeted, appropriate and personalised with messaging could potentially lead to a significant commercial upside.


This solution is for contact centres that want to think more strategically about the on hold experience. But for it to work really well, you will need to have landed the following items first:


  1. A clear contact strategy of messages that you want your customers to receive as well as a tight definition of the tone of voice and brand you want to project, so that you present a professional image to your customers.


  1. As a new capability, you’ll need a vision for how you want to use this to the greatest effect in your contact centre. Do you want to focus on contact centre operational improvements? Is this a powerful new sales and marketing tool meaning that you need to involve colleagues from those departments? Or is this largely a caller experience and branding opportunity?


  1. Many contact centres still rely on archaic CRM systems that are difficult to integrate with. The more readily available customer data is, the more powerful eMOHtive can be. But if CRM APIs are a no-go area, there’s still lots of potential with a very simple data export. If someone is male, Scottish and pays by direct debit today, there’s a good chance they will still be male, Scottish and pay by direct debit in 3 months, so maybe a ‘keep it simple’ approach is best, especially when trialling the service.


In summary, eMOHtive can help you address a number of the core challenges that impact your customer experience whilst on hold through using a real time, hyper personalised customer experience.


The long-term benefits of the solution are very clear: millions of personalised, relevant, and highly targeted messages played to your customers, increasing sales, customer retention and overall, much better customer experiences, all of which position your brand far more confidently against the competition.


The only way eMOHtive could be better is if it also wrote articles, so I could personalise this write-up based on understanding you and the specific wins you could achieve from implementing the solution!


Garry Gormley

Garry Gormley

Garry has been in contact centres for over 20 years, so it's no wonder why he is dubbed the contact centre specialist...

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Using Personalisation to Support Your Vulnerable Customers