Sound Communication: The Holdcom Blog

How Much Can I Say On Hold? (Part 1)

Proper length on hold messages - lots of numbersAs you may have learned in our previous blog, a ­voice over talent can speak approximately 112 words per minute. It’s important that you don’t stuff too much content into your Message On Hold program, as it will be overwhelming to your callers and difficult to understand. As your finished on hold marketing program should consist of both music and text, which is preferred by 88% of callers on hold, you don’t want to take up your entire program length with words. Here’s what you can say in a given amount of time and some examples of Message On Hold scripts for each time interval.

15 seconds, also known as a quarter of a minute. You’ll have enough time for approximately 28 words, so you can include a message that says something like, “Thank You for calling [Name of Company]. We’ll answer your call in the order it was received. Visit us online at for more information” With 15 seconds of speech, you might not have the opportunity to say a lot, but over the course of a 4 minute Message On Hold program, you can combine these short messages to present a variety of easily-digestible bites of information.

30 seconds. In half a minute, voice talent can deliver about 56 words. The extra time opens the door for creative messages and more details about your business and its products or services. Because you’re asking callers to listen to longer spurts of text, you’ll want to make sure you have a well-written script. A 56 word message you can hear on Holdcom’s MOH is:

“As we enter the New Year, now's the time to update your Message On Hold program by removing any holiday greetings, content, or music.  Having a timely script with accurate information is important for your business and your callers will appreciate it.  Contact your script consultant or client relations account representative today to bring your script into 2012.”

30 seconds gives you enough time to deliver a unique and detailed yet concise message.

60 seconds. In a minute, your on hold message can have 112 words delivered by a voice talent. 112 words gives you the opportunity to tell a whole story. If you call Holdcom, you might hear:

“Hi, this is Lisa, and you are listening to an Uptempo Contemporary theme, Midnight Crunch, from the Eclectic Underscores Collection....                 

Attention hospitals, healthcare, and managed care facilities:  Holdcom has an array of innovative products for your industry.

  • Spread the word beyond the phone and implement a voice announcement system for your elevators or lobby areas.
  • Utilize multilingual audio programs to communicate with ALL of your patients.
  • Notify visitors when visiting hours are over with a professional Quiet Time Announcement.

For more information about our services, ask for our Healthcare Audio specialist, at extension 238 when we return to the line.”

This message is just under 112 words. With this amount of time, you can deliver a complete idea. We’ve used short sentences and a list of ideas to keep the content flowing and listenable. 60 seconds is enough time to highlight a new product or service, discuss upcoming events, or focus on one particular area of your business. If you use longer messages, though, you won’t be able to convey as much unique information in your script.

So which is best: 15, 30, or 60 seconds? It really depends on your average hold time, caller preferences, and Message On Hold objectives. By considering those factors, it will be easy for you to decide how long each section of your script should be… But that’s another blog. Stay tuned for part 2!

Free eBook - How to write effective audio scripts for Message On Hold and telephony applications

Tags: resources, message on hold, tips