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If a service representative (or anyone) needs to put the caller on hold, a specific key could be given to the caller. This key, when entered on the phone's keypad, would invoke an alert on the other side, notifying the rep that attention is needed immediately.
I can see how this would be abused and
prevent the service rep from accomplishing anything while a client /is/ on hold, but this would be useful for situations where the caller does have an urgent situation. I've been on hold and have had to leave the office, though not wanting to be rude to the rep by simply hanging up.
Or is this kind of thing already in place?
||In the situation you describe, a key (like #99) which shunted your call over to the rep's voice-mail would be useful, thereby allowing you to leave a detailed recorded message which instructs the rep to follow up at a later appointed time. A voice-mail message would probably be a better alternative for the service rep than the constant interruptions you've already envisioned.
||What [BB] said. Nice guys finish last anyway, no need to make it worse.