Big Idea: Don’t Wait on Hold, Collect $20

Seth Godin proposes customers get a reward for using the phone to call companies, as an incentive to leave their information and get a callback:

“Hi, you’ve reached us when we’re too busy. Quick, write down this code: 123×23. Now, give us your phone number. When we call back (within an hour, we promise), give us the code and we’ll pay you $20 on the spot for the hassle in getting this order processed.”

Call center justice is one of our most petted peeves, so for us this idea resonates. Sadly, since most customer interaction is measured on a per-transaction basis by the management, we doubt they would be willing to fork over any rewards of substance just so they can sell to you.

Don’t you know who they are? (Thanks, Daniel!)


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  1. Mike Panic says:

    I think the idea of having you on hold for a half hour is so that you will get frustrated and hang up. Granted the companies pay for each minute you are on the phone (800 numbers can be rather spendy to companies), but its often cheaper then replacing whatever it is that is broke.

    One time, after being on hold w/ some company for more then 45 minutes I finally got a real human on the other end. 5 minutes into the issues I was having, a phone call came through to me on my 2nd line I had been expecting. I asked the operator if they could hold while I told the other caller I would get back to them and they replied back in a snotty voice, “I can stay on hold for up to 2 minutes then I must disconnect the call.” If only it was that easy from a consumer standpoint.