It happens to you just about every day. You call a business and are asked to “hold on”. Then you hear it: a fuzzy radio station, computer-generated music or the black hole of silence. With an estimated 70% of business callers experiencing some type of wait time, ignoring the hold button is not a great business strategy.
Go ahead and call your own business and ask to be placed on hold. If your hold “solution” is one of the above, you’re not alone. But remember that you have some simple and effective options for improving your customer service with quality on hold content. Helpful messages on hold keep callers from hanging up and can even influence buying decisions.
Custom on hold messages make small companies sound big and bigger companies sound friendly, one of the keys to earning a caller’s trust. Give your callers the gift of entertainment and receive a satisfied customer, ready to do business with you.
So you’ve decided it’s time for a little help from a pro. You start your search online, but soon questions pop up. How much does it cost? How does the recording even get through the phone to the caller? How frequently should I change the message? What is a message? What about the music? Someone mentioned I need a license. How do I know I will get professional service? You might think it’s all too much work. Read on…with the right On-Hold provider, the process really is quite simple and takes very little of your time!
If you’re ready for custom on hold messaging and music, here are some tips from the experts at On-Hold Marketing (1-888-4-ON-HOLD).
First you should know…it’s the cheapest form of advertising; you can get complete packages, with several updates included for less than $2/day. Anything more is too much, unless you’re asking for monthly updates, bilingual programs or extra recordings for an intricate phone menu.
How the audio gets to your caller is not complicated…all you need is a phone system. On-Hold Message providers should include a music on hold device that will provide quality sound, nonstop, when you press your hold button. Why not an iPod or a CD player? Professional message on hold equipment is made to stay running 24/7. Any device with lithium batteries should never be used for safety reasons; and since they’re running all of the time, they wear out quickly. If you have a VoIP or cloud-based system, you may be able to load your on-hold messages into an internal memory, in which case you do not need any equipment at all. Your on-hold provider will be knowledgeable in helping you choose the method that works best with your system and for your business.
Then there’s the question of how often you should update the message. A professional message on hold provider can help you decide. They should ask: Who is calling your business? How long do callers wait on-hold (it’s probably longer than you think)? Do you have the same customers calling several times a week? Are you taking orders? Providing patients with information? Do you have a seasonal business, offer monthly specials, or hold frequent webinars, events and shows? Knowing how long your hold times are, and who is calling will help writers determine what content is appropriate and how frequently you should update your messages.
The more specific and targeted your voiced messages are, the more impactful and successful they’ll be as a marketing tool. A package with monthly updates can reduce the per-production cost considerably; however, if your business focuses on just one product or service with infrequent changes you may only need to up-date a couple times a year. Extremely long hold times may be better tolerated with longer music segments and shorter voiced announcements, but make them relevant. A friendly greeting adds a human voice to the on-hold experience, but also reminds callers they are still waiting, especially if the same greeting repeats every 30 seconds or so.
What exactly is a message? If a message on hold provider offers a package of “four messages”, be sure to find out exactly what that means. Some on hold providers refer to each “30 second spot” as a “message”. Others include 6 to 8 “spots” in a message to create a full 8-minute on-hold production including music interludes. Are the scripts unique, or do they just include a seasonal “tag”? Your on-hold provider should have professional staff to consult with you, understand your business and create effective scripts.
Should I Buy a Music License? It’s true that all music used on your telephones requires a license, but that doesn’t mean you need to provide your credit card to SOCAN, BMI, ASCAP and SESAC. A reputable music on hold provider will have licensed music that has all applicable music fees covered in your on-hold package. Ensure that they are willing to take full responsibility for the performance fees and royalty rights.
And last but not least…make sure that you can access your on-hold rep when you need them; that you’re working with a well-established business; that the studio is able to accommodate deadlines at the drop of a hat; and, that the writers and support staff look out for your best interest with frequent quality checks and timely reminders when it’s time to update your on-hold message. www.onhold.on.ca
Your on-hold service should work for you…seamlessly generating satisfied customers and extra revenue in the background… you shouldn’t even have to think about remembering to update!
“Stopping advertising to save money is like stopping your watch to save time.” – Henry Ford