Phones, we all have them and we all love to use them. But what happens when a customer or maybe a potential customer phones your business and is put on hold?

Recently I phoned a company and when placed on hold I got to listen to chimes, not the most enjoyable experience and a completely missed opportunity for that business.

So, what can you do when customers are placed on hold. It’s no secret that a pre-recorded message can offer information about your business, your industry or even just general knowledge and they are referred to as Messages on Hold.

We feel that it is important not to try and sell anything in a message, you probably have a sales person or sales team for that and keep the message enjoyable and up to date. There’s nothing worse than a out of date, boring message that may generally actually stop people listening.

Frustrated Woman Holding Her Phone

The radio is a commonly used option for on-hold services but by law to do this you should actually have an APRA license and we have heard of companies being fined. And in all honesty, your caller could be listening to an advert about your competitors whilst they are on hold waiting to talk with you, not ideal.

Messages On Hold don’t need to be hours long, in fact they really only need to be 5-10 minutes at the most; after all you don’t really want your caller listening to it any longer than they have to, before you speak with them or at least ask if they are happy to remain on hold or if you can take a message an get back to them later (although this is also not ideal).

And the reason that you might offer several minutes of messages is so when they call again your customers may get to listen to a different part of the message not the same thing every time.

When a caller is on hold, maybe offer some valuable information that might assist them or just entertain them.

Keep the messages interesting, in fact why not do something completely different. But for many business, they to keep the messages simple. Let your clients know what’s going on in your business or even direct them to your website as the information they require may be easily accessible there. Make their time useful to them rather than a hindrance. Your messages could be about the benefits of a product or service, the fact that you are open on the weekends or after hours or you may offer a service that may not be common knowledge.

Most commonly available phone systems, whether it’s a single phone line or a multi-line system offers the option to allow an input device, but we do recommend you use a quality message player, usually that can be an MP3 player but ideally not a normal personal music player that uses batteries.

With the right message player, and there is a range of options from simple player but some can be very advanced, offering a range of message that can be played depending on a set of parameters you can create. That could be messages based on the time of the day, certain days of the week etc.

And when we talk messages, it isn’t just about when customers are on hold, it could be an after hours message, information or support calls or what is known as I.V.R. or Immediate Voice Response. We all know I.V.R. because many well-known large companies use it to it can give you options to press certain numbers on your phone (or say words) to take you to the next level of your call. For example, “Please press 5 to speak with our Sales Department”. All those prompts in that system have to be recorded and stored.

Most people know about phone message options but there are still companies out there that don’t use them effectively and don’t update them often enough. I’ll leave it with you to consider your options or maybe we can help you?

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