Though today’s consumers insist on “immediate” 24/7 service, in practice this often isn’t the case. On the phone, an average waiting period of more than 50 seconds is the norm – plenty of time for callers to become frustrated, bored, and unreceptive to what you’re offering. For businesses, the challenge is to find some way to fill this idle minute or more, without aggravating potential customers or inducing them to leave the line.
Silence Isn’t Golden
A dead silence will only serve to confuse or worry your callers, who may rightly become concerned that their phones have gone dead, or that they’ve lost their connection. So that’s not the way to go.
Static On Hold’s Not Great
Putting broadcast radio on hold isn’t an effective strategy either. Even if the reception is clear and static free, you have no control over what’s broadcast – even on your favorite station. Nor do you have any editorial or censorship rights over what the DJ or announcer might say to alienate or offend certain callers.
Unless you’re willing to pay annually for the licensing rights to all the copyright tunes being broadcast (and there could be many every single day), there are also legal issues with using radio on hold. And if it’s commercial radio, the ads being broadcast may well be promoting your competitors.
MP3 On Hold Could Ruin You
Bypassing radio and playing your favorite CDs or MP3 files probably isn’t an option either. Unless the recordings are all your own (fine, if you’re in the music or entertainment business), you’ll once again be faced with having to pay annual fees to performer’s rights organizations.
Your Own Music On Hold…
- Can be specially selected and arranged to reflect the tone and image of your organization or brand
- May be interspersed with voice-overs and messages providing callers with useful insights, intriguing anecdotes, news, and special offers
- Will make the caller’s wait seem shorter than it actually is
What You’ll Need to Know First:
If you’re hiring a consultant or commercial music on hold provider, you’ll need to provide them with an assessment of your corporate culture, brand identity, and marketing strategy, so that music appropriate to your mission can be selected or composed. You’ll also need to give them some idea of how often the tunes will need to be changed to keep things fresh – especially if the soundtracks feature vocal messages that may become out of date.
This assessment will also be used in establishing the ideal voice-over artist for your target market, if messages are to be included in the mix.
What You’ll Need to Make It Work:
You’ll need to have a business phone system like VoIP, which supports music on hold input, together with a digital player or the ability to import music files in digital formats such as WAV or MP3.
Some Sound Tips
- Music on hold is preferable to muzak – so try to avoid those shopping mall, food court and elevator style melodies.
- Try to use tunes with a consistent level of volume throughout the track, as sudden crescendos and dips may be upsetting to your listeners.
- Quiet lulls in the music may give callers the impression that their phone is about to be answered – and frustrate them, if it isn’t.
- The ideal melodies are ones that loop back to their beginning without a discernible change. Tunes like this are also well suited to voice-overs.