5 telephone annoyances and how to prevent them yourself

Rinkel collega Janine
Janine Wilbrink
update: 21 October 2021

Suppose you want to know something more about a product you just bought, but then first find yourself on hold for 20 minutes. Not very fast and also not conducive to your mood. We all agree on that. 

But: how do you set up your customer service or business phone number to avoid this kind of irritation? 

Especially for you, we have asked ourselves what we find irritating about customer service. For example, from an airline, movie theater or health insurance company.

We have listed our "top 5" telephone irritations for you, including tips to prevent these irritations yourself.

Whether you have a 0800, 085 number or regional number: these tips are for every entrepreneur and company! So read on. ↓

#1: A non-user-friendly voice menu

Voice menus are a real godsend: of course, we offer this feature ourselves for a reason! But, the prerequisite is of course that you set them up as user-friendly as possible. 

Most importantly, keep your potential customers in mind: what might they be calling for? How do you pilot them through your customer service as smoothly as possible? How do you retain or convert these customers?

Recognizable irritation points with callers include:

  • A voice menu with no "Other Question" option: you have a question that doesn't fall under any of the options. You choose a random option and end up in the wrong department. Annoying for everyone.
  • A choice menu where you have to repeat multiple things: you have to list your date of birth or bank account number before you are transferred. Only to have to repeat it once you have someone on the line. 
  • Going through an entire dial menu to finally hear a tape asking you to email. The connection is then immediately disconnected. 

How to avoid these kinds of problems with menus? Keep your customers in mind, test your choice menu (or have a friend or acquaintance test it) and make it as easy as possible for everyone. 

#2: Long wait on hold before you get to speak to someone

You know the situation: you've just booked a vacation, or scored a new laptop and want to know something. About insurance, for example. You call customer service and then stand in line for half an hour to an hour. The result? You are cranky and irritated.

Research from America shows that 75% of callers expect to be helped within 5 minutes. We hereby assume that it is similar in the Netherlands. Because: if you wanted to wait, you'd send an e-mail. Right?

(In the context of "the caller is faster").

You can prevent this by keeping track of the average time customers spend in the queue. For example, by randomly calling your own number yourself, or having acquaintances and friends call you. 

If you regularly exceed those 5 minutes, consider rearranging your customer service (e.g. by using an efficient menu). That way you maintain control.

#3: No possibility of internal transfer

You've landed in the wrong department and the operator can't transfer you internally to the right department. What to do then? Well, that is always a mystery. But: it's certainly not user-friendly! Sometimes you even have to dial all over again.

This makes it seem to your caller that you don't have everything in order internally. A "wooden-rope construction". Fortunately, this problem does not occur with Rinkel: with a Professional or Expert plan you can easily and always transfer calls to all your colleagues. 

#4: wrongly selected or missing hold music

If you have a complaint, you are not waiting for very cheerful hold music. But, the same goes the other way around: it shouldn't be too sad. As a business owner, you need to find the "golden griffin" for your hold music.

In fact, a study was done on hold music by USA Business Telephone among 30,000 callers. They were put on hold for one minute.

  • Group 1: listened to nothing: 52% hung up before speaking to anyone
  • Group 2: listened only to music: 13% hung up before speaking to anyone
  • Group 3: listened to both a message and music alternately: only 2% of callers hung up before speaking to someone

In itself, this is not very surprising: if you hear nothing on the line, then you think something has gone wrong and have hung up. If you hear music, that's a more pleasant experience. If there is a message in between, it makes it just a little more personal and you are less likely to hang up. 

Therefore, you see: waiting music is more important than you think! Choose it carefully and test it out.

At Rinkel, you can choose from several types of hold music that you set via My Rinkel under the call forwarding settings:

  • Modern music
  • Guitar music
  • Cheerful music
  • Relaxing music
  • Motivational music
  • And, especially for Christmas: also Mistletoe In, Just One Kiss & Jingle Bells waiting music!


#5: Making a callback request but then not being called back

You need someone who is not available? No problem: that can happen. Often you then ask if they can call you back.

Convenient, because then you can be sure that next time you will definitely not be bothered! 

Do you ever get callback requests? Then make sure you fulfill a callback request as well. Because: it is not requested for nothing. Did you forget to call back and does the caller have a complaint or an important question? Then you are often 1-0 behind, because the person does not feel taken seriously.

Important tip to avoid this: make sure you document it well and put it somewhere or tape it up. Consider documenting the name, company name and phone number, as well as the reason they tried to reach you.

Get started, test with colleagues and acquaintances how your telephony is doing and figure out how to make sure these irritations are not an issue with your telephony! Happy customers = happy entrepreneur.