Why should they have to listen to Greensleeves? - IVR & On-Hold Messaging

What should an on hold message sound like?  What is the purpose of the messages?  Is a combination of music and messages better than just silence or a phone ringing?  How important is the choice of music?
How many people abandon whilst on hold?  What is the average abandon time?  Is this linked to poor music or repetitive messaging on hold?  How can you inform you waiting customers that their call will be answered, whilst engaging them and maintaining their interest and maybe even helping to sell with marketing messages?

57% of customers will hear your On-Hold message due to being placed on hold or transferred.  67% of callers are on hold between 15 and 60 seconds.*
*Source Data: On Hold Messaging Association, Greystoke Insight, provided by Advitel

“Always remember that your customers have called to speak to someone. It's an unfortunate fact of life that every now and then you need to put people "In-Queue" but why should they have to listen to Greensleeves like it's being played through the first Gramophone?   There is an alternative. Dynamic and engaging content can not only help deliver important information but it can also inform your customers of your latest promotion or perhaps even entertain them with daily light news. “  Richard Eva, Advitel

There are many options/ways of informing your customer that their call will be answered, e.g. queue position, average wait time, current queue wait time, estimated answer time, etc…  But what message does this really tell the customer?  Does being “20th” in the queue mean an hour wait or 25 second wait?  Hearing that you have a 30 minute wait time could mean that your customer just abandons and chooses a competitor.  Hearing “please call back later” may just create another problem later in the day.  How many times does your customer want to hear “you call is important to us”?  

Do you offer alternative ways to contact you, or self-serve options?  Just make sure you don’t suggest using the website, if the call is related to a broadband issue!

It’s great to inform your customer but consider what the message actuals tells them.

“Frustration can set in quick, so help to reduce your callers perception of how long they've been on-hold with a new on-hold experience. Short, engaging content that doesn't loop round after 30 seconds really does work. You have no competitors to fight against while customers are on-hold to you so the rules of communication are totally different. You don't have to shout or "Wow" them with famous voices and explosions. You can if you want but you could create some very creative marketing.”  Richard Eva, Advitel

“People are willing to hold for longer if they are being engaged with relevant information.  Keeping them on hold with you stops them calling your competitors.”  Richard Eva, Advitel

The content of your On-Hold messages, the music and order in which these are presented will help to engage your customer and prepare them for when they speak to your advisor.  Consider the length of your On-Hold message and the frequency of the same messages being repeated.  If you average queue length is 10 minutes but your On-Hold messages are looped every minute, your customers will hear every message 10 times.  If ever other message is “your call will be answered by the next available operator”, your customer may hear this 20, or 30 times before their call is answered!

How many of your customers will hear your On-Hold messages?  When you include customer waiting, those who get transferred and ones who are put on hold this could be a very high percentage.

If every other customer is placed on hold for between 15 to 60 seconds then there is an opportunity for important (sales) messages to be heard, with a much captured audience.

IVR Workshop
“Completely reconsider our use of IVR & on-hold.  See it as an opportunity to engage with our callers and as a critical part of the overall customer experience.” Kelvin Curtis, Essex & Suffolk Water

“Engagement with other delegates and knowledge of guests.  Very open discussions with few boundaries.”
Fraser Graham, Prudential

“Really well organised – good to share knowledge of existing practices with industry leaders.” Sheila Watt, Hughes Insurance

14 delegates participated in our first IVR workshop, hosted by Tesco Bank GI.  With thought leadership, case study examples and round table discussions the group contributed towards an improved understand of best practice.

Click here to read the full article.

Phil Anderson,
Contact Centre Specialist,
Professional Planning Forum
This article on IVR & On-Hold Messaging forms part of a Resourcing Planning Top Tips article produced by the Professional Planning Forum. If you would like to receive this regularly please sign up here

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