Some organizations make the mistake of thinking that a custom on-hold message is “extra credit” – an optional accessory they can get around to when the time is right. But when you really analyze the situation, it quickly becomes clear that a powerful on-hold message script is essential right from day one. Think about it: by the time someone is taking the time out to call your business, they’re already a pretty warm – sometimes even hot – lead. They’ve probably read at least one piece of your marketing collateral, read reviews about you online, visited your website or your social media profiles and then decided to pick up the phone and give you a call.
This would be the absolute worst time to turn them off. A pitiful (or non-existent) on hold message is like dumping a bucket of cold water on an ardent suitor when you actually welcome their attention. It just doesn’t make sense. If you’re cringing because these descriptions awfully familiar, it’s time for you to take a look at the three cardinal sins of on hold messages – the ones that make those insanely valuable inbound leads hang up instead of actually holding on.
Message on Hold: What You’re Doing Wrong: (Some Worst Case Scenarios)
Cardinal Sin #1: Not Offering Any On Hold Messaging at All
According to a study released in Inbound Telephone Call Center, 94% of marketing budgets aim to get a customer to call into a business but only 6% dedicated to handling them once they actually make the call. Infomax, Inc. revealed in a similar study that a caller will stay on hold an extra 25% longer with on hold messaging of any kind than they do when connected to dead air or beeping sounds. And the worst part of all is this gem from Voice Response, Inc. – 34% of all callers who hang up will never call you back.
The opportunity evaporates.
Cardinal Sin #2: Having an Inward Versus an Outward Focus
Those that actually do offer on hold messaging often go about it all wrong. While it certainly makes sense to actually talk about your company during your on-hold messaging, you need a certain level of finesse. Instead of the “me, me, me” or “I, I, I” or “we, we, we” approach, make sure you’re crafting a script based on “you, you, you.” Your on hold message should equal an insightful conversation, offering key insights and common answers to questions callers often have. What are you bringing to the table? What’s the incentive for them doing business with you versus one of your competitors? Are there any discounts or specials or bonus materials available to callers? If so, now is the time to educate them.
This is the time to teach, not to sell. Set yourself up as a valuable confidant in the beginning, while a prospect already has to suffer through being put on hold. Turn what some would find a bad situation into a valuable opportunity.
Cardinal Sin #3: Going On and On…
According to Electronic Distribution Today, the average hold time is 38 seconds. If your on hold messaging is terribly lengthy and all the good stuff is at the end, then you’ve likely missed the opportunity altogether. The best rule of thumb is to break up the big message into several small snippets – more like a tweet than a blog post. Cycle these through, and keep more important information towards the beginning of the message.
Try to get your hands on information about your organization’s average hold time. Use that to come up with a message that is no longer than three or four times your average on hold time. Never forget that you can always loop back through the messaging if necessary. If common questions and tasks could be completed online, be sure to use this opportunity to let them know that. If you solve someone’s problem without even having to “connect”, you’re already ahead of the game.
If you’ve been guilty of these or any of the other cardinal sins of on-hold messaging, you’re not alone. The good news is that it’s never too late to get things right! Contact us today to find out how we can help you maximize every second of your on hold message script.
Michael Durante spent his teenage years into his early 20s climbing the ladder in a branch of a successful banking firm, starting as a teller and ending as a Sr. Branch Manager within 6 years. In 2003, he left the banking world to join his father and create TIE National, a telecom company 60 years in the making. Together, they grew the company from a two-man operation solely working on telephones to a multi-million dollar international business with employees in over a dozen states, covering everything from phone systems to cloud products and computer systems. You can find Michael on LinkedIn.