I was once on hold with Bezeq Internet for so long that when they answered the phone I said, “I was on hold so long that while I waited I taught myself how to play guitar and learned how to play your on-hold music.”
I called the Mizrachi-Tefahot bank, and was on hold for so long, that I eventually gave up and selected the option of having them call me back, knowing full well that they would try twice: once when I would be in a meeting, and once when I would be in the shower (“in the shower” is a great euphemism for “on the toilet”).
The reason that I love, love, love the idea that you can “leave your number and we’ll call you back” is that when they do call back, there’s a recording telling you that they’re calling you back, and then they put you on hold for a couple of minutes until their phone representative is ready. This is great, because even though you chose the call-back option, you still get a taste of the on-hold experience. Grab your guitar!
The thing to remember is that your time is less valuable than that of the phone agents. So if you’re say, a neurosurgeon, and they finally call you back, you should patiently wait on hold and put your patient on hold, because the time of the guy/gal who’s just come back from Thailand and is waiting to start college is more important than yours.
How do we fight this? Well, if we lived in a country with regional representation, we could call our representatives and ask them to introduce legislation that reduces the wait time and the callback time, and eliminates the hold from callback + hold.
Here’s another idea. As a protest, when they finally answer the phone, sing a song in exchange for the music-on-hold that you listened to for so long. Even better, let’s all choose one song that we sing (politely), as a form of protest. I recommend The Duck Song.