Resolve "The Receptionist's Dilemma" or Risk Losing Customers, Warns Customer Service Expert

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First impressions count, says CEO of On Hold Company.

On Hold Company - Custom On Hold Music and Messages

While many company executives like to think they're the most important factor in their company's success, they're often mistaken. As On Hold Company explained in a recent blog post, receptionists are the public face of a business and the first point of contact for current and potential customers. A bad experience waiting in person or on hold can reflect badly on your company, Bryant Wilson, CEO of On Hold Company says.

"Will Rogers was right when he said you never get a second chance to make a good first impression," Wilson explains. "There's a reason that some organizations have changed the job title from 'receptionist' to 'Manager of First Impressions.' A bad experience with the receptionist reflects poorly on your entire organization."

It's a mistake to simply blame the receptionist for providing poor service though. Likely, the company hasn't provided the proper training to help the employee resolve what Wilson terms "the receptionist's dilemma."

If you interrupt a conversation to answer the phone, the person waiting gets angry, but a ringing phone annoys everyone. Most offices train their receptionists to apologize to the live customer for the interruption, answer the phone, and ask the person to hold. But here's the problem: what if the caller hangs up before you can get back to them?

That's likely to happen, observes Wilson, whose firm, On Hold Company has worked with over 13,000 clients to develop effective on-hold music and messages that entertain and inform customers while they're on hold.

"Studies show that callers holding in silence will hang up within one minute; 99% will hang up within 40 seconds," Wilson says.

In a blog post titled "Resolve the Receptionist's Dilemma With Training and On Hold Messaging," On Hold Company recommends a strategic approach to the problem. According to the post, receptionists should receive proper training in managing priorities and understand company policies and procedures.

The post also recommends the use of on hold messages, because effective on hold communication can keep a caller on the line for up to 3 minutes longer than just silence.

"These strategies aren't meant to set up a hierarchy that says any customer is more important than another," Bryant says. "Instead, proper training gives your receptionist the tools and skills necessary to provide every customer with a good first impression."

Readers can follow the On Hold Company blog at

About On Hold Company
On Hold Company ( is a leading provider of custom telephone on-hold music and messages. The company has been in business since 1994 and provides on-hold marketing for more than 13,000 clients across North America. On Hold Company also provides digital signage solutions, telephone voice prompts and overhead music and messaging services.

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Scott Anderson
On Hold Company
(800) 492-9030 119
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