FACT: When calling a business and being placed on hold, the average caller stays on hold for 43 seconds.
OPINION: That stinks.
But…many businesses use that time constructively, offering valuable information about new services/products, helpful tips, etc. With a captive audience sitting on the line, it’s a great opportunity to communicate that information.
Unfortunately, many businesses aren’t so smart. They just play some light background music. Or even worse – nothing at all. In those situations, 43 seconds feels like 43 minutes.
How’s a caller to pass the time? If it ever happens to you (because you would never do that to YOUR patients, right?), here are some ways you can use that 43 seconds of boring on-hold time and impress people in the process:
- Sing “The Star Spangled Banner” at the top of your lungs. Or if you’re in a public place, you know, hum it quietly. See how far you make it before the 43 second mark. I just tried it and got all the way to “…banner yet waa-aave.” Thankfully, it saved me from the high note in “land of the free”. Maybe you can pick up the pace and work in that last line. For your country.
- Crank out a 400 meter dash. If you can do it, you’ll set a world record. Michael Johnson’s record of 43:18 has been around since 1999, so you’ve got your work cut out for you. The man was MOVING. I recommend a few quick stretches before you make that call and begin your chase for the record.
- Eat five hot dogs. If you’ve got your eyes on a world record, but would rather eat your way to glory, see if you can down five hot dogs. That’ll put you on the world record pace of 66 hot dogs in 12 minutes. Just be sure to chew and swallow before you talk on the line. Oh yeah, you have to eat the buns too.
- Multiply this number in your head: 15,734 x 8,976. Too hard? OK, try this one. 15,734 x 8,975. Good luck, Rain Man.
- Name all of the teams in baseball’s American League. Not a fan of the designated hitter? Fine – do the National League. Not a fan of baseball? You and I need to have a different discussion.
- Practice doing “The Worm”. It will definitely pay off at your next wedding appearance. Everyone’s tired of the Electric Slide and the Cupid Shuffle. Take that party to the next level with a well-timed, crowd-pleasing Worm demonstration. You won’t regret it. (Don’t hold me to that.)
- Learn a new tongue twister. Here’s one: “Mr. See owned a saw, and Mr. Soar owned a seesaw. See’s saw sawed Soar’s seesaw before Soar saw See, which made Soar sore.” That was hard to type. Good luck saying it.
- Name the last 10 Academy Award winners for Best Picture. Then name the 10 that should have taken home the prize. “Slumdog Millionnaire” and “The King’s Speech”? Great films. But “Crash” in 2005?? Come on.
- Wait patiently without getting annoyed. That would be the most impressive thing on this list, because without any kind of entertainment or distraction, the wait feels like an eternity.