Sound Communication: The Holdcom Blog

Sound Effects in Message on Hold: A Bonus or a Bother?


When customizing their message on hold program, some clients take the road less traveled by submitting a script that calls for sound effects, cartoon voices, or a humorous skit. This approach to your Message on Hold or personal voice message can be a hit or miss: here are some factors to consider if an offbeat program is right for your business:

  • Are the majority of your callers unique or returning clients? An entertaining message on hold skit or accented voice may be fresh for the first or second call, but for repeat callers, the joke will grow old – fast.
  • What is the goal of your message on hold? Is it to entertain, or to educate? Providing good customer service is simple: consider what your customers want to hear. When a caller is placed through an automated system, their initial reaction is: oh great, I’m on hold. But with an informative program, you can not only educate your listeners about your business, but also change their resistance into curiosity.
  • What will your callers appreciate the most? Do your callers want to be entertained, or informed? While cartoon voices and sound effects seem to be the fast track to easy entertainment, many callers will feel confused: I didn’t call for the comedy hour, I called to schedule an appointment. Expressing that you understand your callers’ needs in your message on hold program will result in a better on hold experience.
  • Will sound effects or character voices add to the caller experience? If so, what do they contribute that is unique from your script and/or background music? 
  • Do these sound effects support your brand? For example, a costume store may use sound effects or character voices depending on the seasons. A British company would want a British accent, despite the country location. Let's not forget hotels and retail stores adding the sound of sleigh bells and popping champagne for New Years.

The tried and true approach for any business or individual is to be authentic to your brand. Before planning a message on hold program or personal voice message, take a step back and think: what sets my company apart? How do I want to represent my company? With these questions answered, the dilemma whether to have an elaborate or simple program won’t be a dilemma at all: it will come naturally.

Tags: Message On hold, audio branding, on hold communication, voice talent