Holding calls

Holding phone calls is a key performance feature of telephone networks and systems. Although a telephone system generally used to be required for placing calls on hold, this performance feature is now supported directly by virtually all telephone networks from the various providers. As a rule, the function is provided by the switchboard or telephone system in combination with other performance features, such as toggling or consulting. When a call is placed on hold, the caller is parked, so to speak, and is unable to communicate with the person on the other end of the line. Wait-music or a pre-recorded message is generally played to the waiting caller. The person who has placed the caller on hold is able to consult other subscribers or perform other tasks during the hold time.

Differentiation between performance features: holding calls, toggling and consulting

The three performance features “holding”, “toggling” and “consulting” are usually pooled together in one joint performance feature referred to as “Call Hold” or “Hold”. Holding a call is the act of parking the other subscriber, while the terms “toggling” and “consulting” refer to actions on the part of the subscriber who has placed the person on hold. 
The “Consult” function allows the subscriber to establish a new line or answer a second incoming call, indicated by a knocking tone, while maintaining the original line. Afterwards it is possible to return to the caller on hold.
Toggling is a performance feature which allows a subscriber to switch to and fro between the active line and the line on hold any number of times. Two-way communication is only possible with the party currently on the active line. The subscriber on hold is parked until the line is retrieved from hold.

Calls on hold in waiting loops

We also speak of calls being on hold in the case of waiting loops, which arise when calls are answered and parked without the callers’ enquiries actually being handled. In many cases, calls are placed on hold more than once until the caller can be transferred to the member of staff responsible for dealing with the enquiry. Information can be requested from the caller in between stints of being on hold.