Operating a thriving business means that sometimes people will have to be placed on hold. Some companies use a message from the start of the phone call advising the person what option to select in order to route the call properly. Others use on hold messages for business when the telephone operator is on the other line or otherwise unavailable. Most all businesses use them for some reason or another. However, it is important to make on hold messages as pleasant as possible for the customers. Here are 2 tips to make the most of on hold messages for business.


Include a status update

No matter how you look at people do not like to wait. Whether it be at the doctor’s office, getting an oil change, or at the barber shop, people generally are eager to accomplish what needs to be done. It is no different waiting on the phone; people want to speak someone promptly. Of course, this is not always possible right away. Even if the wait is only 1 to 2 minutes, it can seem like a long time. That’s why it’s important for people to have the perception of a short wait time. You may wonder how they can perceive time is shorter; two minutes is two minutes no matter how you look at it. However, with the proper on-hold message, the wait time feels shorter. Research indicates that when people are given an estimate of how long the wait will be or where they are in line, and the estimate is updated throughout the call, then they are more content. One study compared how people would respond to three types of on hold messages:

  • Music with no messages at all.
  • Music with frequent apologies about the wait.
  • Music with frequent updates informing the person where they were in line.

The percentage of people who hung up before speaking to anyone was almost the same for those who had music with no message and those with music and an apology. However, those who heard music and status updates about their place in line were much less likely to hang up. The key to including status updates is to make your estimates on the conservative side.


Entertain while customers wait

The content of your on-hold messages has a lot to do with how your customers perceive the hold experience. Providing your customers with relevant, engaging information will make their wait pass faster. If you match the information with your business, you may increase interest in your industry also. Finally, a mix between music and narration is best to keep boredom from setting in.

While businesses want to stay busy, they don’t want to lose customers in the process because of unpleasant hold times on the telephone. Securing the right type of on-hold message will help you achieve your goal of keeping customers content.