Sound Communication: The Holdcom Blog

13 Tips for Providing AWFUL Customer Service On Hold

When people don't like your Message On Hold program, they will certainly complain about it. Why? Being stuck on hold with imperfect content is a nightmare. Unless you want your customers to feel frustrated and unappreciated, avoid these 13 common Message On Hold mistakes:

  1. Too many words: If you try to say too much, your callers won't be able to listen. Keep things manageable: break your content up into paragraphs that are only a few sentences long. Each paragraph should focus on one main idea. With a properly structured on hold program, your content will truly shine.
  2. Frustrated man hearing a bad message on hold program at tableMusical breaks are too long: Long musical breaks can get very boring very quickly. Callers "zone out" and don't feel adequately cared for. Remember, callers prefer a mixture of music and messages on hold.
  3. Wrong genre of music: Fact: the wrong hold music makes your customers crazy. If you know your callers, you can create appealing on hold content for them. 
  4. Too few messages: Your business is multifaceted--don't relegate yourself to one or two generic, repetitive messages! Depending on average hold time, you might need to adjust the length of your program. If you have a program that's too short and plays very few messages, callers will hear them many times...and get very frustrated.Trust me--you can say a lot on hold
  5. Unprofessional voice: I had to call a software company's tech support line a few days ago, and I they were using an unprofessional voice for their hold messages. It just sounded...awkward. When you use a professional voice over talent, your callers can focus on the content..not the voice.
  6. Music is not legally licensed: Are you playing the radio on hold? A CD or mp3 player? You could be in serious trouble. Before you implement music on hold, you need to make sure you're playing legally licensed music. If you're not working with a Message On Hold company, you're probably not.
  7. Outdated information: If you're using your on hold message to announce upcoming promotions or events, it's important to keep the information up to date. Promoting a sale that ended yesterday won't make your customers feel very good. 
  8. Irrelevant information: Let's say you're calling a customer service line because you received a defective product. Would you like to know about that company's 30% sale? Probably not. Play the information that is relevant to your callers. Understand what they're looking for when they call you and match it with your on hold content whenever possible.
  9. Poor audio quality: When something sounds really good, it's seamless. When something sounds awful, it's incredibly distracting. If your Message On Hold program has poor quality audio, it's going to distract and annoy your callers, so it's important to fix the problem as quickly as possible. 
  10. Musical breaks are too short: People like to listen to music. Although they prefer to hear a mixture of music and messages on hold, it's important play enough music, otherwise callers will be overwhelmed.
  11. Program is too short: If your average hold time far exceeds program length, callers will hear your message on hold content over...and over...and over. It can actually make hold time seem longer. Instead, write an on hold program of appropriate length and keep your callers entertained and informed.
  12. Pace is too fast: If your voice over talent reads too fast, callers won't be able to listen to your messages. Using a professional voice helps you ensure the content is read at an appropriate pace and in a friendly tone.
  13. Too many music tracks: You can't be everything to every one. In general, one track is sufficient for a Message On Hold program. If you have a longer hold time, incorporating additional tracks may be appropriate. In general, you should keep your music in similar genres for a cohesive program.

What other mistakes have you seen companies making with their on hold programming? Let us know in the comments or tweet @Holdcom.


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Tags: message on hold, customer experience, tips