Companies are going \u201chold crazy,\u201d excessively putting their customers and prospects on hold when they call. \n\n\n\nBut hold on! There are other aspects of being put on hold that can\n\ntend to drive stressed businesspeople and consumers over the edge. For\n\nexample, the person who calls you and then puts you on hold while they deal with something or someone else.\n\n\n\nThen there are the times when someone is talking to you and\n\ntheir cell phone rings and they take the call right in the middle of\n\nyour conversation. Worse, they tell the caller to hold just a moment\n\nwhile they tell you they have to take this call. Implied? The caller\n\ncounts, you don\u2019t.\n\nWhat about those times when you actually want someone to be put\n\non hold? For example, when you are at the front desk checking into a\n\nhotel and the phone rings, and the agent serving you takes the phone\n\ncall, helping another customer at a distance rather than you, standing\n\ndirectly in front of them. Again, the caller counts and you don\u2019t.\n\nWhile we can agree that many in business should practice better\n\nphone call etiquette, here are some ideas for what you what you can do\n\nwhen you are put on hold.\n\nNever consider that making a particular phone call\n\nwill be the only thing you are doing at the time. Mentally lower the\n\npriority of the call you are making by assuring it is a secondary\n\naction. For example, you might plan an on-hold call while you are\n\ndrafting a memo, writing a letter or catching up on e-mail.\n\nUse the on-hold time to do paperwork you have to do anyway.\n\nIf at home, hold time can be used to pay bills or even while watching a\n\nTV show. \n\nWrite an e-mail to the chief executive of the company that has you on\n\nhold, detailing what you are thinking of his or her company while you\n\nwait. Just keep writing whatever comes to mind as you wait. The CEO may\n\nnever personally read the e-mail, but you\u2019ll probably feel better\n\nventing your frustrations.\n\nWhen dealing with a\n\nhold-crazy company, plan to start your call on the speakerphone or\n\nheadset, so your arm won\u2019t get tired holding the phone. Have your assistant get a person on the phone for you, so\n\nthat your assistant deals with the hold time. If you are the executive\n\nor manager, make sure you take time to thank your assistant for\n\nenduring the hold time. If you are the assistant, refer to the rule\n\nabove. As soon as the pre-recordings and options start, press \u201cO,\u201d\n\nthough many businesses have disabled this feature, realizing that too\n\nmany callers were trying to speak with real people more quickly. While on hold, make a list of companies that annoy you by\n\nputting you on hold, allotting points for such items as amount of time\n\non hold, number or complexity of options or length or content of the\n\npre-recorded message. Keep the list handy every time you make a call so\n\nthat you can give the worst offenders more points. Share your list with\n\nothers and see how they compare. Plan more than one call at a time, using a second line.\n\nPlace the first call, get on hold, then proceed to the second call.\n\nJust toggle between the two companies you are trying to reach and deal\n\nwith the one that answers. Presuming it is not incurring a\n\nlong-distance charge to you, leave the other one on hold (they\u2019d do the\n\nsame to you).