Studies show that:
- 70% of calls to businesses are systematically put on hold
- 34% of callers who hang up prematurely don’t call back
- 62% of callers hang up in less than 45 seconds
These surprising numbers show the impact of creative and professional on-hold messages on how callers perceive and react to the time they spend waiting. It's important to note that callers are willing to wait 3 times longer when music is paired with an on-hold message.
Now that you're aware of the importance of relevant on-hold messages, read on for 7 best practices when creating them.
1 – Determine the different types of messages you'll need
The messages that you record for your company phone system will fall mainly into 3 categories: greetings, on-hold, and voicemail.
A greeting, typically the first thing your callers will hear, is used to limit the number of calls ringing in case of phone system overflow. It allows you to inform your callers that their call has been acknowledged and that they'll be put in touch with an agent shortly. You can also use it to provide information on promotions or offers and announce current news about the company.
Agents taking calls often need to put them on hold while they look up information. Playing a message for your callers on hold will minimise their perception of wait time and serve as an opportunity to share information on your products and/or services and company news.
This is the message that a caller will hear when they attempt to reach your business outside of your phone system opening hours. This message is generally used to indicate the company's opening hours and basic information without requiring agent intervention (especially if you provide a line for 24-hour assistance). It can also be used to let callers know how to reach you by other means: website, social media, email, etc.
Once you're able to differentiate between the types of phone system messages, you'll be able to decide which your company needs.
2 – Define your caller profile
Determining the profile of your callers will help you structure your messages. By better understanding their expectations and needs, you'll be able to create messages that hold your callers' interest.
A short survey at the end of your calls, for example, can help you gather valuable data concerning your callers. It will help you get to know your callers and record messages that reflect their lifestyles, expectations, and needs. This attention will in turn show your customers that you listen to them and take their input into account.
3 – Regularly update your messages
Regular callers are likely to get bored listening to the same greetings and on-hold messages over and over. Your business evolves and changes over time, so the same should be true for your phone system messages - not to mention the fact that no one wants to hear about your winter deals in midsummer!
This is why you should change up your messages regularly (at least every quarter, if not every month). By regularly renewing your greetings and on-hold messages, you'll manage to hold the attention of your most loyal customers. Remember to highlight current promotions and offers as well as announce important information in order to grab your callers' attention. Note that 1 in 5 callers say they've made a purchase or a decision following a promotional message heard while on hold! Keeping messages relevant is therefore indispensable.
Quick tip: don't underestimate the power of pleasant music to accompany your on-hold messages! Callers will be in a much better mood once an agent picks up their call.
4 – Avoid including too much information
Since your callers are looking for quick solutions to their problems, they won't enjoy listening to a long message with lots of excess information. As long as they're willing to wait, be grateful and make their wait less tedious!
Make sure that the information you provide them will be easy to remember. Your message should be short and catchy - focus on its purpose and avoid covering too many topics at once. Keep sentences short, each containing only one or two ideas.
5 – Engage your callers
Just because you're not speaking directly with your customers from the first second doesn't mean you can't engage them. Let your customers know that you value their ideas, their feedback, and above all their loyalty. This will give them a real feeling of gratitude and satisfaction.
Some of your callers may end up waiting longer than expected, so they may appreciate a little humour (within reason). The idea is to humanise your messages and keep your customers engaged even when they're on hold.
Quick tip: ask yourself what you expect from your callers - this might inspire you to motivate them with a call to action! It's a great way to increase engagement and satisfaction for both customers and leads.
6 – Use clear and simple wording
Your on-hold messages should be relevant and grab the attention of your callers. The idea is to arouse the interest of your current and future customers by conveying a memorable message with clear and simple vocabulary.
Avoid using terms that are too technical or not commonly understood, and take care to use vocabulary adapted to your target audience. Likewise, avoid words with negative connotations such as “problem,” “complication,” or “delay.” You'll want to use vocabulary with which your callers are comfortable so that you don't create unnecessary complications for them.
7 – Answer FAQs without being too repetitive
While some basic questions about your business can be answered quickly through a quick internet search, some people prefer to call directly.
Answer the most common questions in your greeting and include basic information such as your business hours, the address(es) of your premises and other methods of contact they could use, such as your website or social media accounts. If you provide an online client space, you can also remind callers that they can use this to carry out certain actions independently.
Bonus: Choose hold music adapted to your company
The finishing touch to a relevant and enjoyable phone system message is music on hold. Keep in mind that 70% of consumers find that music improves a company's branding, so your choice of music on hold shouldn't be taken lightly!
See our article "How to best choose music on hold for your phone system" for our tips on making music an essential part of your brand identity.
A truly successful phone system message will help shape your company's branding. It may just contain a few words, but a carefully crafted and impactful message will improve customer satisfaction and retention.
Ringover lets you create custom greetings, on-hold and voicemail messages, while our online studio provides an extensive selection of royalty-free music to accompany your messages and complement any business image.
To learn more about Ringover's features, test the solution for free for 7 days, or request a demo from a sales rep.