Holding on phones forever

I would be interested in your thoughts on this one

In our industry we spend probably half a day on the phone, mostly hanging on for tour operators and airlines.

It is difficult to get the balance right. If I haven’t yet booked a holiday and I am left holding on and I have a choice of operators I tend to hang up. If it is an 0870 number or 0871 number I leave them until last and ring freephone numbers first.

The things I find most irritating while holding are in no particular order

1. “your call is important to us and will be answered” over and over again for half an hour.

2. One bar of the same hold music over and over again. Thomson instrumental version of Good Vibrations it is a truly excruciating assault on the eardrums and can sometimes for as long as 45 minutes.

3. Press 1 if you are a direct client and 2 if if you are a travel agent… Now press 1 for Australia 2 for far east 3 for USA 4 if you’ve already lost the will to live …. etc then wait forever to get through only to be told you are through to the wrong department … Worst culprits Kuoni and Thomas Cook

4. We are too busy to answer your call. Ring back later… Beep … Thomas Cook… Rude

5. All our agents are busy can you leave your details and someone will call you back. They don’t because they are too busy. Shearings are the worst culprits

6. Some bimbo advertising the same thing over and over again

So what is the answer? Either decent hold music which changes . Kuoni or Virgin and Travel 2 are OK for this preferably with an occasional reassurance that the call is going up the queue and maybe just a little advertising

Or Cadogan had a brilliant one. A freephone number that told you to hang up and ring back in half an hour when you would get straight through. Genius

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