It is inevitable that at one time or another, you have no alternative but to put your client on hold; however, make this your opportunity to demonstrate to them how professional your company is. This may be the only opportunity you have to do business with them so you can’t afford to get their on hold experience wrong. It is worth investing a little bit of time to get this right.
The on hold messages and background music needs to engage the caller, to defuse potential frustration. Make this an opportunity to educate and create a good impression of your company, products, and services.
The On Hold Script
First and foremost, tell the caller where they are and thank them for calling. For example,
Thank you for calling [Company Name], please hold, an advisor will be with you shortly.
Don’t bombard them with lots of information at the start of your script, keep it segmented and concise. If you have 8 pieces of information to communicate, provide 8 short paragraphs so that your audio producer can spread it out over the music on hold. It will be received better in smaller chunks and combined more effectively with music.
After the initial greeting, make the first few on hold messages the most salient. These should be points that the caller will be interested in and ensure that they stay on the line.
For example, if your company is holding an annual event, has a special offer, a free magazine etc. make sure that this information is communicated early on in your messages.
You may say something like…
Stay on the line and request your free magazine when you are connected
Stay on the line and get your 15% discount code when you are connected
Always try to tell them about things that may be of interest to them. Give them an incentive to stay on hold. Telling your caller that you offer a 15% discount at weekends is much more helpful to them than repeatedly thanking them for holding.
Build confidence in your brand and provide your caller with good information. Here are a few ideas:
- Have you or your company won any awards?
- Do you / your company hold any relevant qualifications?
- What charitable foundation do you support?
- Do you attend/exhibit at any industry trade events?
- Do you have a useful blog or article archive?
- What do you do that is unique / has not been done by your competitors?
Prolonged On Hold
After maybe 1.5 – 2 minutes, it is always a good idea to say something like…
Thank you for continuing to hold, your patience is appreciated.
It is also a good idea to maybe offer some alternatives, for example,
Thank you for your patience, please continue to hold and we will be with you shortly. Alternatively, you can send an email to email@example.com
Thank you for your patience, please continue to hold and we will be with you shortly. Alternatively, you can order online at www.mycompany.com
Thank you for your patience, please continue to hold and we will be with you shortly. Alternatively, you can leave a message by pressing 0 and we will call you back.
How often do your customers call and get put on hold? If this is infrequent, having a single section of on hold audio created will probably be sufficient.
If your customers call frequently, it may be worth getting your on hold audio updated several times a year or having several on hold sections created in one go. You can rotate these on a regular basis to offer variety. This will give your regular callers the impression that you care about their on hold experience and the change can be very obvious to them, especially if the on hold music is changed as well as the voice over.
Also, don’t be afraid to mix and match voices, a combination of male and female voices can be used to create interest and variety for the caller.