IVR & On-Hold: What should On-Hold sound like?

This month Richard Eva, Director of Sales & Marketing at Advitel offers his insight to creating an effective on-hold strategy.

Your in queue or on hold messages need to have a purpose, that purpose should be one of three things if not all three:

  1. Engagement - if you experience either expected or unexpected call spikes daily news items can distract caller’s attention which reduces their perception of time spent on hold.
  2. Informative - tell your callers relevant pieces of information about the product or service you offer them.
  3. Sales - use this time to promote specific offers or services to your callers. At least 24% of businesses have seen an improvement in sales since using their on hold service as a sales tool
Not all three will be relevant to your business but at least one of them will, understanding what the aims are from your in queue service will deliver the results.

What does your on-hold sound like?  How long does your average customer stay on hold and what do they hear?  What is the longest on-hold wait time experienced by your customers and what do they hear?  

The sound of a phone ringing can often give the perception of waiting longer than you think, this is why music and/or messages are often introduced.  However poorly produced music followed by badly edited messages can sound worse.  If for instance every 30 seconds a message states “your call is important” and your average wait time is 2 minutes, each customer will hear this 4 times; which may make them feel that their call is not that important.  If the longest on-hold wait is 10 minutes, your customer will hear the same message 20 times in addition to the same 25 seconds of music in between.

Understanding your customer will help you to understand the purpose of your on-hold messages and help you design appropriate messages to keep them engaged.

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

Take a look at these articles, videos and links
Find out more about Best Practice in IVR and On-Hold telephony
IVR and on-hold messages: are they fit for purpose?


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