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On-Hold Messaging, Making the Most of a Captive Audience

Aug 17, 2007
According to a recent AT&T study, more than 70% of business calls are placed on hold for an average of 45 to 60 seconds each. 60% of the callers placed on hold hang up, and 30% of those that hang up never call back.

The opportunity to reach out to your customers is now!

They are a captive audience, and are eager to hear what you can do for them. While they are waiting, which for some business could be upwards of 10 minutes or longer, you need to keep their interest, keep them happy, and most importantly, retain their call to avoid losing them and their confidence before you can even meet their needs.

By making good use of your on-hold messaging, you will be able to:

- Keep your callers interested
- Increase satisfaction levels regarding their experience with your company
- Introduce new products or services for potential cross sells
- Provide additional information about your company in a friendly manner
- Instill trust and assurance that you'll be with them shortly
- Retain your callers while on-hold
- Save money by retaining the caller, eliminating the need for them to call again

To really capitalize on your on-hold messaging, alternate courtesy messages with marketing messages.

Here's a sample of a brief On-hold Script.

On-hold Messaging Script:

Courtesy Message:

Thank you for calling Extreme Sports Gear and Mountain Bikes. We're glad that you called and appreciate your business. In respect of your time, a customer service representative will take your call shortly so that you can get back to the great outdoors.

Music in between messages for 30 seconds or so appropriate to your listening audience.

Marketing Message:

Are you at our website right now? If so, click on the "Special Offer" advertisement on our home page to take advantage of our Online Summer Sale! Anything listed on our website is 25% off if purchased online. Get in the groove of Summer early and save!

Depending on the average time that your customers are on-hold, your on-hold script length will vary.

For an average system where customers are on-hold for 1-3 minutes, it's wise to have at least 2 courtesy messages and 2 marketing messages, each message timing out to precisely 30 seconds (:30).

Music should play in between the messages for 30 seconds (:30). This will result in 2 minutes of voice-over and 2 minutes of uninterrupted music play, giving you total of 4 minutes of on-hold messaging.

For systems supporting callers on-hold longer than 4-5 minutes at a time, make sure that your material is kept fresh for your audience, with at least 4 different courtesy messages and 4 different marketing messages.

To accompany the voice-over, music is often used as a secondary track in a voice-over recording. Music can vary throughout or remain true to a theme.

Music should reflect your business and your customer base. If you're servicing an extreme sports crowd, the music might reflect that culture and encompass a touch of rock, soft punk, or alternative music genres.

Capture this opportunity by sharing your message while your customers wait on-hold. With a powerful on-hold recording and a professional voice talent to deliver your message, you'll be well on your way to converting callers into buyers.
About the Author
Stephanie Ciccarelli is the VP of Marketing with Voices.com, the online marketplace hosting more than 7,000 professional voice talents. Stephanie is the author of The Definitive Guide To Voice-Over Success, and The Voice-Over Script Collection.
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