Messages on hold

November 8th, 2012 by Peter Gallacher

Messages on hold: The KEY to EXCELLENT customer service

HOLD – A small yet powerful word. So let’s look at the evidence…

“To hold” – This makes one think of holding close, as in wedding vows: “To have and to hold.

“Holding on” – I’ve got you; I’ll keep you safe, I’m holding on to you.

“On hold” – Hanging on to the telephone usually listening to silence.

Hold on, I know I’m going on, but I’ve lost count of the amount of times I and my colleagues have been placed on hold  only to put the phone down because of a fear we’ve been forgotten about.

Worse still, the question you always seem to ask yourself is – have I been cut off? Surely not? Only to phone the company back after holding for ten minutes and then being told: “Oh, we seem to have lost you there”.

Why do businesses do this? Am I not important enough? Do they not want my business? And why don’t they want to turn the silence into an opportunity to not only keep communicating with their customers but possibly inform me of new products or services?

Think about it, I’ve picked up the telephone to speak to a specific company or organisation about products or services they provide. Whilst I’m listening to an  on hold recording for what is probably 40 to 60 seconds (which is longer than an average radio commercial) they play me tones or nothing at all.

As you’ll see from the sample picture below, a picture or in our case the audio can paint a thousands words. The picture shows a young girl promoting a summer fair for all the family. The audio could include a child’s voice, sound effects of the event like cheering and even circus type music.

I’m sure you’ll agree this is a far more engaging experience than listening to tones or silence.

messages on hol

TOP TIP #1: Don’t waste hold time. When callers hold you have their undivided attention. Use this time to subtly tell your callers about your business and services. If you do nothing else just have evenly paced courtesy messages letting the caller know that you appreciate their call and they will be holding the line for a very short time.

TOP TIP #2: Inform callers. Tell them about current discounts or special offers. For instance, you may have a 20% discount on Wednesday’s or a monthly sale every second Tuesday in the month. It might even be something as simple as asking callers to press 1 to get an immediate call back. You get the idea.

TOP TIP #3: Become a supermarket. Not literally of course, but when you go to a supermarket to buy one or two items. When have you actually come back with only those items? We often always come back with either half a shop or a full shop. Reason being, you’re constantly being subtly made aware of various offers and special discounts. This is done with store music, eye watering products and strategically placed food. Yes like that scummy chocolate bar whilst waiting in the queue.

The thing to remember is that nobody knows your business like you. So whilst people are holding the line on your telephone even for a short time period, use this time to inform them about your company.

Professional and friendly messages can be relayed about anything and everything – opening hours, seasonal sales, new stock, your website, social media pages and lots more!

This innovative telephone on hold solution is a great way of helping any business, large or small raise its profile. The idea is simple and it’s popular with people running a small home based business or national chain of companies.

So be bold, and don’t waste your hold time! Your customers will love you for it. Seriously.

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