Sound Communication: The Holdcom Blog

Message On Hold - You're Doing It Wrong

Doing it wrong meme for Message On Hold with two men talking on tin can phoneInternet memes aside, many companies are doing Message On Hold all wrong. Frequently, they're just neglecting what people hear while they're waiting on hold. Sometimes, they're making terrible mistakes in their on hold communication that impact marketing strategies and customer service initiatives.  

How Companies Get Message On Hold Wrong

They don't have it. In this day and age, there are actually businesses who don't play anything for callers waiting on hold. Often, these companies will say they "don't have hold time". Do you really believe no one at your company has ever put a caller on hold? Never? The idea of zero hold time is a fallacy. There are always times when people get put on hold: increased call volume, staff vacations, when a representative needs to ask a supervisor a question...When there is nothing playing on hold, callers frequently wonder if they've been hung up on. It's like turning off all the lights while they are still in your store.

They play bad music. Complaints about bad hold music are rampant on social media. People frequently complain that what they're hearing isn't what they like. Brands that pride themselves on being current, hip, and approachable are playing endless loops of classical music on hold. What's the world coming to!? If you don't play music on hold that your callers can, at the very least, tolerate, 

Unprofessional voices. While you might think one of your customer service representatives has a good enough voice, unless he or she is a professional voice over talent, your on hold programming won't sound as good as it should. Between regional accents, frequently mispronounced words, and the low quality of recording via a telephone, it's easy to create an on hold program that sounds really bad.

No information. If you're only playing music on hold, you're doing it wrong. An endless loop of music during hold time is unappealing. Even if you break it up with a "thank you for holding" message, these non informative on hold programs get very repetitive for callers waiting on hold. 

Outdated information. The only thing worse than waiting on hold in silence is waiting on hold hearing announcements that are out of date. If it's April, don't promote an event you held for Valentine's Day. If you were giving callers information about an upcoming sale, be sure to remove the information after the sale has ended. If you don't know what you're playing on hold, it's probably outdated. 

How to Fix Your On Hold Messages

Identify the problems. Monitor your Message On Hold program, ask your staff what they think, check social media for on hold complaints, and ask your callers what they think about your on hold programming to determine where the gaps in your program are.

Plan new content. Whether you need to change your Music On Hold, remove some outdated messages, or start from scratch, approach new on hold content with a plan.

Go Pro. Get help from professional copywriters, voice over talent, and audio producers to ensure your program sounds as good as possible.

Continue to monitor. Spend some time every month to take a listen to your Message On Hold program so you can decide if any information needs to be changed, added, or removed.


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Tags: resources, message on hold, tips