How long should a customer be on hold, and how can you reduce this?

How long should a customer be on hold, and how can you reduce this?

17th November 2020

By Leaha James

For many customers, there’s nothing more frustrating than being kept on hold.

Yet for organisations, it’s simply neither efficient nor cost-effective to employ more customer service staff to answer phone queries.

So what can your organisation do to meet your customers’ expectations? And how is Five9 software helping Connect Assist advisors to reduce customer waiting times?

How long is too long?

The bad news for organisations is that customers have a very low patience threshold for hanging on the telephone, and even a short wait can sometimes feel like the longest time on hold. Especially if they’re pushed for time, upset or in dire need of support.

For 60%, even one minute is too long. And the longer it takes to get connected, their exasperation increases and the worse their estimation of the wait becomes: a customer who has been waiting for five minutes feels like they’ve been on hold forever and many have probably already hung up.

Many surveys have demonstrated the importance of customer experience to business success. Some 96% of respondents said that customer service was important in their choice of loyalty to a brand, while 84% of companies which work to improve customer experience see their revenue increase.

So how can your organisation cut average hold times, improve your customer satisfaction (CSAT) and net promoter scores (NPS), and offer an excellent customer experience?

How to reduce hold time in a call centre with Five9 software

The good news for organisations is that technology is here to help you improve call centre hold time standards.

Five9 software is the Cloud-based contact centre platform that we use at Connect Assist. It simply integrates with other systems, such as customer relationship management (CRM) software and knowledge bases, to enable us to offer your clients a superb omnichannel customer experience.

It provides the tools for you to monitor and measure key metrics, and use your customer wait time analysis to develop operational insights and improvements.

Five9 has a range of customer service friendly initiatives, so here are just a few of the ways it helps our advisors to drive down customer phone call waiting times.

AI-enabled IVR and Intelligent Routing

Calls to contact centres are usually routed initially via an Interactive Voice Response system to get customers to the right advisor faster. The principle is great: it leaves advisors free to focus on the more important interactions and gives customers a faster response.

However, such systems are often let down by their clunky implementation, with customers finding the menu of options confusing or limited, or discovering that their voice commands are not recognised accurately.

Five9 software makes it easy to design intuitive systems, using advanced voice recognition technology to reduce customers’ frustration. Automated Call Distribution (ACD) then prioritises each call and interaction to connect customers with the right advisor.


Another great Five9 technology is the web call-back service. This enables you to integrate your contact centre and your website, so that customers who are browsing online can request a call-back from one of your advisors, rather than having to call up and be put on hold.

customer call backs

The request is then added to your outbound call list, and prioritised according to your own campaign settings.

Once the customer is connected, a Computer Telephony Integration screen provides information previously given by the services user, making the call more efficient for everyone.

Outsourcing your contact centre services

While hold times may be the most frustrating customer service issue, they’re just the tip of the iceberg.

It’s hard for many organisations to offer their customers the smooth, friendly and efficient service that they expect. That’s why outsourcing your contact centre services or your live chat services to Connect Assist makes sense.

outsourced contact centres

With 14 years of experience across public sector, charity and socially focussed organisations, we put your customers at the heart of everything we do.

We’ve invested in the very best contact centre technology and expert advisors to ensure a seamless, omnichannel customer experience that will boost engagement, satisfaction and most importantly, create positive human outcomes.

Contact us today to discuss how our service can help you cut hold times for your customers.


If you need our help in developing more effective, meaningful connections with customers, get in touch today.