Holding customers

If you put in a call to Moen, you might receive assistance from a customer service rep. But if things are busy, rather than putting you on hold, the company will call you back.

No more crummy music. No more sore ears while waiting your turn. No more inconvenience.

“What good does it do you to have customer relationship management tools at the agent’s desktop when a customer is angry and frustrated on the phone?” says Eric Camulli, director of technology for Akron-based Virtual Hold Technology, creator of the Virtual Hold Concierge product that Moen uses to help manage its call center. “We feel strongly that you can’t manage the relationship until you manage the experience.”

Virtual Hold monitors the number of calls coming into a company’s call center and estimates the wait time to talk to an agent. When hold times reach a certain threshold — say, two minutes — the call is diverted into the Virtual Hold system. The customer is presented with three options: Continue holding, schedule a callback at a more convenient time during the next seven days or hang up and receive a callback when its his or her turn to talk to an agent.

Customers enter the number where they wish to be reached, so if they are leaving the house, they can enter a cell phone number instead.

“It frees you from having the phone stuck to the side of your head,” says Camulli. “It keeps your place in line and calls you when it’s your turn. You can read e-mail, drink some coffee or whatever without the frustration of being on hold.”

When the customer’s turn approaches, Virtual Hold calls the customer, announces that this is the callback, and immediately puts the customer in touch with the next available agent.

Call center managers can define parameters to meet individual company needs. If the system calls someone back and receives a busy signal, the manager can set how much later the system retries the number. The same applies to reaching an answering machine or getting no answer.

“Because you set the expectations by giving them a time frame when you will call back, the system is able to get back in touch on the first try 90 percent of the time,” says Camulli. How to reach: Virtual Hold Technology, (800) 854-1815

No training required

Technology can do wonders for your business, but training employees to use it to its maximum potential can eliminate many of the cost savings.

Virtual Hold Technology has eliminated that concern with its Virtual Hold product.

“One unique quality of our system is that there is no agent intervention,” says Eric Camulli, director of technology for VHT. “To them, any Virtual Hold call is just another call. It’s a software solution, but you don’t have to train all your agents in a center on how to handle the calls. There is no training on the use of the product.”

Virtual Hold ties into existing call center systems and diverts calls as needed, then patches the customer back into the system when using the callback feature. The agent never knows the difference.


Have you ever decided to hold for the next available representative and after a few minutes decide that was a mistake?

If so, Virtual Hold has a feature to save you time.

Known as the ResQueue feature, after two to three minutes of hold time, customers are asked again whether they would like to opt out of holding and receive a return call instead — a feature that Moen uses in its system.