Customer Service Expert Warns That Social Media and Web Portals Haven't Replaced the Telephone

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CEO of On Hold Company says customers still prefer telephone-based support.

On Hold Company

On Hold Company is a leading provider of on-hold marketing solutions, with more than 13,000 clients.

More companies are conducting their customer service through social media or web-based help portals. But a leading customer service expert warns that this trend should not lead companies to ignore traditional customer service channels such as the telephone.

"My view is that efforts to shift customer service to social medial and web channels consumes a lot of resources," says Bryant Wilson, CEO of On Hold Company. "For most companies, improving customer support by telephone should still be their highest priority."

Wilson cites a Genesys survey shows that the telephone is still the most popular and most satisfying way for customers to interact with companies.

“People still love that personal connection you make on the telephone,” Wilson says. “Whether its across town or across the country, many customers will pick up the phone and call first.”

In a recent survey by the Economist Intelligence Unit, a majority of respondents indicated they still rely on traditional customer service channels, including email (75 percent), face-to-face communication (74 percent), telephone (61 percent) and research (60 percent). Use of newer technologies remains small, with 37 percent relying on online portals and only 22 percent on social media.

The Economist Intelligence Unit report cited Netflix as a company that has combined traditional customer service channels with emerging platforms. Netflix eliminated its email customer service process after a number of customer complaints and replaced it with a 24-hour call center.

“We realized it would be more expensive, but in the long run better for customers,” Netflix Vice-President of Corporate Communications Steve Swasey said in the report. “They can call the toll-free number on our website and we have staffed it so that calls are answered in three minutes or less. Pretty much everybody goes away happy.”

Wilson says that telephone on-hold marketing can bridge that three-minute wait time and keep callers informed and engaged while they wait for a service representative.

“On-hold messaging is essential for good customer service, and improves a company’s overall branding and marketing,” Wilson said. “Not only does it help keep callers on the line, it is the perfect platform for educating callers about your brand.”

Some opportunities that exist with on-hold messaging include:
Answering customers’ frequently asked questions
Informing callers about product recalls and other industry news
Introducing new products lines or seasonal services

“Silence on hold will take from your bottom line,” Wilson said. “Studies show that companies spend 94 percent of their marketing budget enticing the phone to ring. Smart businesses will capitalize further on that investment with strategic on-hold messages.”

About On Hold Company
On Hold Company ( has been in business since 1994 and provides on-hold marketing for more than 13,000 clients across North America. The company, located in Shreveport, La., also provides digital signage solutions, telephone voice prompts and overhead music and messaging services. Follow On Hold Company on Twitter at or read their blog at

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Scott Anderson
On Hold Company
(318) 686-9030 119
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