Many American consumers may end up spending half their lives on hold. It’s estimated that Americans spent 900 million hours on hold in one year. That’s about 43 years out of their lives.
On-hold music usually makes the wait more bearable. Research showed that callers are more likely to stay on the line at least 30 seconds longer. Commercials are even more effective as they keep them on the line for at least three minutes.
However, with the hectic pace of life and the growing demand for faster service, buyers may be more likely to hang up completely and try another company. Having callers on hold is sometimes inevitable, but this time provides an ideal opportunity for businesses to capture the attention of potential customers.
Companies can strike a perfect balance with on-hold messaging. It can alleviate the irritation of being on hold while providing customers with relevant information. Here’s how.
What Is an On-Hold Message?
An on-hold message is a scripted recording a caller hears while they wait to speak with a representative after contacting a company. It’s a business marketing strategy that’s also known as audio marketing or on-hold messaging. It provides a way for businesses of all sizes to communicate to their customers while they’re being transferred or are waiting on hold.
On-hold messaging can enhance a customer’s overall experience while interacting with a company. This improves the reputation of the business and increases the likelihood that a potential customer will purchase the company’s product or service. It’s a branding strategy that can increase a company’s revenue.
Examples of On-Hold Messages
No one enjoys waiting after making a call. Especially when the information needed is simple. However, due to high call volumes, sometimes businesses cannot avoid this.
Some businesses also have products or services that may require more in-depth conversations about their use. This can also increase the length of time that other callers are waiting to speak to a representative.
Time is money for customers and businesses. Companies can use this time, to satisfy their customers, or promote their products to increase sales. Here are a few examples businesses can use for their on-hold messaging.
The message can:
- Thank the customer for calling
- Apologize to the customer for the wait time
- Indicate how long the wait may be or the customer’s place in line
- Provide information about the company, its products, services, and experience
- Indicate the company’s location or give directions and hours of operation
- Highlight the company’s website and social media presence
- Give details about specific products or services or highlight new products or services
- Inform customers about company policies such as returns or warranties
- Provide testimonials or reviews of the company
- Inform them about special promotions, offers, or sales
Businesses can use these examples individually or combine one or more of them. The key is to provide customers with the information they need and want. The aim is to ensure the message is interesting or relevant enough to keep them on the line.
Benefits of On-Hold Messaging
On-hold messaging is an essential business marketing tool that enhances the professionalism of any business. It provides the opportunity for a company to show customers that they value their time and loyalty. Any business that implements an on-hold messaging system can benefit in the following ways every time a caller is on hold.
Keep Customers on the Line
Anyone who calls a business represents an engaged prospect. This customer has chosen a specific company to call to either obtain information about or purchase a product or service. The business has already caught their attention and should keep it if they want a sale.
An on-hold message keeps potential customers engaged especially if it provides the information they may have been calling for. It often keeps customers from hanging up and trying another business. It’s the first step in building customer relationships so it should be a positive experience.
A potential customer that has a positive experience with a company will be more willing to purchase from that business. A study conducted by Walker last year found that customer experience was a key brand differentiator, often more than product or price.
On-hold messaging provides an opportunity for brands to make a good first impression. They can promote their products and services as well as provide information that may provide a solution to a potential customer’s problem. This can increase the chances of the customer purchasing the company’s product. The caller may even include additional products that they had no intention of buying before based on the information they heard while on hold.
Showcase Lower-Performing or Lesser-Known Products
Businesses can create attention for lesser-known or lower-performing products with a captive audience. On-hold message scripts can promote these products.
Even though these products may be unfamiliar to customers, they might also be useful. But customers won’t know that unless they are told.
Enhance the Customer Experience
On-hold messaging ensures a caller’s wait time is not in vain. The system it’s built on also facilitates getting customers to where they need to be faster. On-hold messaging is usually incorporated into an interactive voice response (IVR) system and auto attendants.
This allows a business to route calls based on what the customer is looking for. It gives callers various options that direct them to the appropriate agent or department for assistance. This usually results in shorter wait times and faster service delivery.
Promote Company Brand and Products
A company can reinforce the benefits of using their brand or promote their products to customers on hold. Businesses can even go as far as using a voice that becomes representative of their brand. The voice can be an extension of the business’ style and tone and reinforce company values.
As the voice becomes synonymous with the business, a company can use it to reinforce its brand to create brand loyalty, stand out from competitors and leave a positive impression.
Knowing what on-hold messaging can do for a business is important, but first, a company should know how to get started.
Building an On-Hold Messaging Strategy
Having an on-hold messaging strategy is essential for successful implementation. This will take time but should be well thought out to ensure proper execution. Here are the key steps businesses should follow to create an on-hold messaging strategy.
Identify the Main Message
A business should focus on the benefits of on-hold messaging and build on them to create its main messages. They should look at ways to use the message to promote their business. They can achieve this by reviewing some of the following:
- Reasons customers contact their business
- The information that would be beneficial to customers while on hold
- The information customers ask for regularly (directions, hours of operations, location)
- Channels available for customers to get additional information (website, social media, etc.)
- The promotion of new products or services
- Special promotions that may interest callers
- Lesser-known products and services that would be of interest to customers
The answers to some of these will indicate the best messaging for the company. It is a great place for any business to start formulating a strategy.
Write a Script
Businesses can use these main messages to start creating a script. If they don’t have the expertise in-house they can hire an experienced company that provides on-hold messaging services.
An on-hold messaging company will help them to create a script that is conversational and flows naturally. To ensure the message is effective, on-hold messaging experts will read the script aloud ensuring there is clarity in the messaging and its flow.
Ideally, each part should include one to two sentences so that callers hear the key messages before they decide to hang up. The aim should be to make each short and sweet.
Formulate a Production Plan
Production will include the recording and delivery of the message. A business should choose a voice that reflects the general culture of its company. If the company stresses its years of experience in all of its messaging, the voice chosen should project this for listeners.
The business must know the tools and hardware that it requires to incorporate the message into its current system. They should ensure they use a system that’s manageable and provides the option of in-house updates, if necessary.
It’s also wise for a company to designate someone to update the scripts.
If a company is uncertain, they can always defer to the experts who will let them know the equipment needed and the easiest way to update the system regularly.
Messaging That Sells
There’s a general obsession with saving time or using it wisely. Consumers are definitely not immune to it. They often demand service in the shortest possible time where possible. Businesses don’t like making their customers wait, but often this is inevitable. However, it doesn’t have to be to a business’ detriment.
On-hold messaging has become a great way for businesses to capture their customer’s attention. It makes the customer’s hold time more bearable and allows the company to provide relevant information that can benefit the customer.
However, an effective on-hold messaging strategy is necessary for a company to truly benefit from its implementation. The Killer Creative Blog assists companies in formulating an on-hold strategy that works. We provide customized messaging and music to keep customers engaged. Contact us for a quote today!