The average caller expects to be on hold for only a few minutes, according to a recent study. 21% of those surveyed admit that they will stay on hold for less than a minute before giving up, but 65% reported that they would wait on hold from 1 to 3 minutes. Only 14% would wait on hold for more than 3 minutes. When callers reach their hold time threshold, they often hang up. You might have lost a sale and have definitely upset your customer. What does this mean for the length of your Message On Hold program?
- It’s important to take into consideration how long your callers actually wait on hold. While 65% would like to be on hold for less than 3 minutes, sometimes hold time is longer. If you average longer hold time, you'll want to adjust the length of your Message On Hold so callers aren't faced with a repetitive message. For example, if callers are on hold for 10 minute with a 3 minute program, they will hear your entire program 3 times before they reach a representative—and might not be happy about it.
- You'll also want to address the structure of your script. Check how your music and messages are related. On hold music is an important tool for keeping callers engaged, but to optimally reduce perceived hold time, an on hold production must be a structured event. According to Dr. Jim Will, structure on hold is achieved by playing similar musical selections for similar lengths of time. When messages are included with music on hold, they should also be about the same length. This kind of structure creates a predictable experience for callers, easing their anxiety and allowing them to absorb messages.
- Make sure you're delivering the right information on hold. Are you asking questions to engage your clients, answering frequently asked questions, or promoting your current events? If you deliver current, valuable, and interesting information, your program will practically write itself, and you'll know your on hold marketing is working for you. In a recent survey, 20% of callers reported that they actually made a purchase because of information they heard while on hold.
- Consider the timing of your messages. Depending on your phone system, callers might hear your program start at any point--which means they might tune in in the middle of a word or sentence. If this happens, callers might hear the middle of a word, sentence, or paragraph. If you've developed a Message On Hold script with lengthy paragraphs, some callers can miss the message, making them annoyed and disengaged. Remember, “Less is more.” Whether callers hear the message from the beginning or the middle, it’s better to give little bites of information in short, clear paragraphs than to inundate listeners with convoluted, verbose sentences.
Using a custom Message On Hold program can also help you decreased perceived caller hold time. If you have silence on hold, 60% of callers hang up within the first 60 seconds. Providing valuable content on hold dramatically increases caller satisfaction: 88% of callers say that they prefer to hear a combination of music and Messages On Hold. Callers given an on hold message will hold 3 times longer than those waiting in silence or with music only. Creating a Message On Hold program that’s the right length with the right kind of content isn’t difficult, as long as you know your callers and understand what they want. Proper on hold marketing can help you satisfy customers and grow your business. As you write scripts for on hold programs, keep messages concise and intersperse verbal content with appropriate music. A program that’s the right length with the right content will help keep callers interested and attentive on hold, until a representative can speak with them.