The User Experience Blog

September 24, 2009

Put Me Back On Hold!!!

There was a time, not in this decade or the current century…but there was a time, back in the 1990’s that I experienced the BEST user experience for being on hold. I even told the Customer Service Rep to put me back on hold!

Stop and ask yourself, what could possibly make a user experience so great from being on hold that a person would prefer to sit on hold instead of having their issue resolved? And this was for a Fortune 100 company!!!

Now to add another ingredient to this user experience pie…the telephone hold music/service was for a company called……………………………….Microsoft.   Yup.   I called Microsoft with a headset question and the experience was the BEST user experience for a telephone wait system.

What made this user experience so outstanding that more than ten years later I am thinking of it, I remember the company and now blogging about it?

  1. It was a live person on the hold channel,

  2. The person would play great, upbeat songs while waiting,

  3. The live person/Disc Jockey would come on after the song and give an update;

    “Those of you waiting for hardware support, there are now 8 of you waiting with the longest person in que waiting for 5 minutes”

    “Those of you waiting for video game support, there are 12 of you waiting with the longest person in que waiting for 9 minutes”

    “Those of you wait………..”

    “I know that the representatives are making progress towards answering all of your calls but while we wait, here’s another tune by XYZ band!!!

  4. The music was upbeat/tempo/positive

  5. The DJ would update after each song and was upbeat/positive

This is/was a great user experience service!!!!Leave a comment here if you know of this service being used or of another great similar service!

The Best Phone Hold Wait Service

The Best Phone Hold Wait Service


The results are in from last week’s poll question and the results are pretty astounding:

  • 90% of 200 votes were split between the frustration of calling a government office for an answer and the long tailed voice message recording
  • Everyone can customize their greeting, why not customize the ending of the message? Eliminate the message, shorten the directions, or just go to beep?  (remember the phone answering machines…we never left directions on how to hold on or push one….just a silly/clever message).
  • The astounding part…the phone carriers can do something about there messages. But we have to demand it!


  1. you really need to nail down a design on here and PLEASE lower the font size!

    Comment by Nick — September 24, 2009 @ 6:05 pm | Reply

  2. WOW – great story, well done Microsoft. Why do so few brand organisations understand the power of delighting consumers?
    I am trying to think of other good examples but none come to mind. Why?

    Comment by andrew weir — September 25, 2009 @ 2:48 am | Reply

  3. I can’t think of any other great phone service I receive, but I can think of two companies I do business with who have excellent customer service. If only it would catch on.

    1. Chick-fil-a — Every person who interfaces with me is always happy to have me there. They take my order with a smile, they tell me it’s a pleasure to serve me, and I get my order in a timely manner. I also like that the head of the company values his employees enough to close his business on Sunday. Great company!

    2. Pediatric Urgent Care — Seems that our kids are always getting hurt or sick at inconvenient times – when the doctor’s office is closed. That’s when we go to Pediatric Urgent Care. The nurses are friendly, sympathetic, and caring. They attend to both the patient and the parent, checking on us regularly while we wait for the doctor. They have TVs in each exam room with multiple channels of kids videos. The doctor is as friendly as the nurses. After we are all done and home, a nurse follows up the next day to see how our child is doing. Once again, their voice and manners are friendly and caring.

    Why is good service the exception? Does it cost more to be nice?

    Comment by Donna — October 20, 2009 @ 8:40 am | Reply

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