Putting a Customer on Hold – Best Practices for Maintaining Excellent Customer Service

In customer service, handling client interactions is paramount to maintaining a positive reputation for any business. One of the inevitable aspects of customer service is putting a customer on hold.

While this may not be the most pleasant experience for the customer, handling other inquiries or addressing urgent matters is sometimes necessary.

This blog post will explore the best practices for putting customers on hold while ensuring their experience remains positive and professional.

Customer on Hold

1. Assess the Situation Thoroughly

Before putting a customer on hold, it is crucial to assess the situation thoroughly. Determine the reason for the hold, ensuring that it is indispensable and not a result of inadequate preparation or lack of knowledge.

If you need to retrieve specific information or transfer the call to another department, be upfront about it with the customer. Transparency is vital to maintaining trust.

When initiating a temporary hold is necessary, always inform them politely and ask for their consent. Use clear language to explain the reason for the hold and the estimated time they may be on hold. Remember that the customer’s time is valuable, and seeking their permission demonstrates respect for their needs.

3. Use the Hold Feature Wisely

Most modern communication systems offer a hold feature, which allows you to pause the conversation while attending to other matters. 

When using this feature, ensure you are familiar with its functionalities and use it wisely. Avoid disconnecting the call or leaving the customer on hold for an extended period.

4. Provide Updates and Reassurance

Nobody likes to be left in the dark while on hold. It is essential to provide periodic updates to the customer while they wait. 

If the hold time extends beyond the initially estimated duration, inform them and apologize for the inconvenience. Reassure them that their call is valuable and you are doing your best to resolve their query.

5. Offer Alternatives

In some cases, the reason for placing a customer on hold may be beyond your control, or the wait time may be excessively long. In such situations, provide alternatives to the customer. 

Offer to call them back at a convenient time or suggest using other communication channels like email or online chat to address their concerns. This shows your commitment to solving their issues promptly.

6. Train Your Team

Putting the customer on standby is not just about the process; it also involves the skills of your customer service team. 

Provide comprehensive training to your team on handling hold situations professionally and efficiently. Role-play scenarios can be an effective way to teach them how to handle different types of customer interactions.

7. Monitor and Improve Hold Times

Regularly monitor and analyze your hold times to identify patterns and potential issues. Use this data to make improvements in your customer service process. 

Implement strategies to reduce hold times, such as streamlining internal processes or routing calls more efficiently.


Putting a customer on hold is an inevitable part of customer service, but it doesn’t have to be a negative experience. 

You can maintain excellent customer service even during on-hold situations by assessing situations carefully, seeking customer consent, using the hold feature wisely, providing updates, and offering alternatives when necessary. 

Remember, the customer experience is crucial for building lasting relationships and fostering customer loyalty, so handle on-hold scenarios carefully and professionally.