Sound Communication: The Holdcom Blog

Dr. Zimmerman's Advice for Message on Hold

I recently received a solicitation email from Dr. Alan Zimmerman to buy his book, “The Change Payoff: How to Turn Resistance into Resilience and Results.” I was about to dismiss the email, but summoning a marketer’s sympathy, scanned the length of the email.

I was surprised to discover not a “sales pitch” (that was later), but a well thought out personal essay on fighting the “fear of change.”

When discussing the concept of the unknown, Dr. Zimmerman quotes psychologist Abraham Maslow, who states, “One can choose to go back towards safety or forward toward growth. Growth must be chosen again and again; fear must be overcome again and again."

When discussing the benefits of Message on Hold with “stick-in-the-mud” clients, they immediately take a defensive stance. Used to the traditional outlets of television and radio, they do not understand the possibility of optimizing on-hold time to directly communicate with their customers. This hesitancy is a result of the “fear of the unknown,” the unwillingness to embrace growth.

Another example of this comes with our clients who resist updating their message on hold. Frequent rationalizations are “what more is there to say about my company?” or “this program has worked for x amount of time, why change things now?” This is not the fear of change insomuch as the fear of commitment, but still fighting the need to expand as a company.

An “update” does not mean a complete overhaul – it is about keeping your company’s image fresh. Customers want to be engaged while waiting on hold, and if they constantly hear the same music, constantly hear the same voices, they will tune out. Imagine running the same commercial for ten years, or re-releasing the same computer program – how quickly you will lose your audience.

As the Dr. Zimmerman’s email said, “Fight the fears that block your change. And look for the progress that will come your way.” Updating a message on hold, adapting to your customer’s needs, can only increase brand loyalty.

Tags: message on hold, customer experience, branding