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How long is too long to be kept on hold?

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It only takes a two second Google search to establish that the internet is littered with rants and bad reviews about companies keeping customers on-hold for far too long!

According to research, almost 60% of individuals who are kept on hold over a minute, hang up. This suggests that most people feel that even a minute is too long to have to wait.

There are so many obvious ways around this – no company should be losing business because of hold times!


This would be the most obvious solution but probably the least cost effective when you consider your initial financial outlay for recruitment and training before a call is even answered. You would also have to ensure that sickness, holiday and breaks are all covered which would mean doubling up on the amount of staff you will need to keep all bases covered.

Call Handling Services

Outsourcing all or even just some of your calls to a call handling team such as Pocket Receptionist is a much cheaper alternative. You have the luxury of a team of receptionists working for you answering all calls straight away and either taking messages for you or transferring urgent calls to the relevant person/department. Having customers acknowledged quickly is the key even if a message is taken on your behalf.

Find out how Pocket Receptionist Telephone Answering Service works

Call Back

Many companies already do this, particularly the larger organisations. Using automated options, it gives the caller the opportunity to request a call back. There are a couple of potential problems with this though; if the nature of the call is urgent and calling back when it’s no longer convenient. It can certainly improve many callers experience but shouldn’t be considered a complete solution.

Advertise multiple numbers

You will notice that many companies now advertise a different number for each department on their website. This creates the illusion that the caller will get straight through, although often they are still faced with automated options. It’s a great idea providing the calls are picked up by a member of staff as quickly as possible. It can also reduce the need to transfers callers between departments and therefore eliminates the frustrating feeling of being pushed from pillar to post.

Long hold times will massively impact your company reputation and following a few conversations with people I know, some will go as far as avoiding certain companies altogether if they are notorious for being difficult to contact, even if they are cheaper.

What are your thoughts? Would this effect your decision to use a particular company?

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