No one enjoys being put on hold…wait, no, that’s not exactly true. We’ve heard many people ask to be put back on hold to hear the rest of the on hold messages they were listening to. But truth be told, no, typically, no one likes to be put on hold.
People hate to wait, and being put on hold means waiting. To make matters worse, callers often end up confused by the silence on the other end of the line, or bored with the stock music and cold, canned rhetoric.
What’s the Value of On Hold Messages?
Business has always been done over the phone, but as online shopping has surpassed brick and mortar traffic, over-the-phone sales have reached an all time high. In fact, experts predict that the number of consumer-to-business phone calls from smartphones will reach a whopping 162 billion in 2019.
That’s a serious eye-popping number. What’s even more startling is that statistics tell us that 34% of callers who hang up while on hold never call back. That’s a big piece of a trillion dollar pie. The good news is, you don’t have to let all these callers off the hook. With creative, engaging and on hold messaging your business will not only retain customers holding on the line, but it will generate revenue by marketing additional products and services.
Callers will only wait an average of 45 seconds on hold time before they hang up annoyed, the Small Business Chronicle tells us. However, callers will stay on the line up to 33% longer when provided with messages on hold versus “dead air” or “background music.”
So it’s great that now you understand the value on hold messaging provides as a way to engage callers, but how exactly do you go about using your hold button to drive revenue? We’ll give you all the details below.
Our Top 10 Ways to Increase Revenue with On Hold Messages
1. Say something relevant
When it comes to your on hold messaging, silence is not golden. Dead air on the other end of the line is not only a waste of a golden opportunity, it can leave callers frustrated, questioning whether or not you’re still even on the line. In an ideal world you’d never put a caller on hold, but since most of the time that’s not a reasonable expectation for those tasked with receiving calls, your hold button is necessary.
Start with the easy stuff. What are your hours? What areas do you service? Do you have multiple locations? But Are you bringing new products or services to market? Have you won an industry award or a new accreditation? Does your business have seasonal tips or advice to offer callers throughout the year?
Callers on hold offer you a captive audience for a small window of time. Even thirty seconds can be extremely valuable. Advertisers will pay millions of dollars for a thirty second Super Bowl commercial. Take advantage of your time. Don’t leave callers hanging. Say something relevant.
2. Don’t Mention Being On Hold
First rule of on hold marketing: don’t talk about waiting on hold. Saying things like, “Your call is very important to us. Please hold while our operators are assisting other customers,” as this often has the reverse effect of soothing callers, and irritates them instead.
This kind of messaging simply reminds callers they’re being forced to wait while you assist more important callers. If your messaging repeats this phrase over and over again, you’ll likely exhaust any patience your caller may have had.
3. Be #SorryNotSorry
While we’re on the topic of what not to say, we advise our clients to never apologize to callers for putting them on hold. Some people may think of it as common courtesy, but callers aren’t looking for an apology, their looking for a human to pick up the phone.
Thanking a caller for the call is perfectly acceptable, but apologizing for placing callers on hold once again reminds them they’re stuck in limbo. The goal would be to engage them to the point where they forget they’ve been put on hold at all. So, as Demi Lovato sang “Be Sorry, Not Sorry!”….
4. Up Sell to Increase the Ticket Total
On hold time is a great time to offer callers additional products and services. Hotels should take the opportunity to talk about premium suites. A car rental company might present information about larger vehicles, insurance, children’s car seats, or navigation systems. A plumbing company might want to introduce the new tankless water heaters they offer.
5. Cross Sell to Introduce New Products/Services
You’re business likely has various lines of products and services. If your callers are only purchasing one of your offerings, hold time is a great opportunity to present lesser known items.
A retirement community would be wise to talk about its free shuttle service to shopping or doctor’s appointments. Prospects calling to schedule a visit may otherwise never discover this feature. For a pack and ship store, introducing print services to callers tracking packages could boost a whole new segment of business.
6. Remind Callers About Special Events
Highlight the recent awards you’ve been presented. Do you support your community by giving back in ways that bring meaning to your company? Maybe you give to kids through the “Make-a-Wish Foundation,” or you sponsor local youth sporting events, or you challenge your employees in food drives. On hold messages are an ideal vehicle to deliver this type of information to clients.
7. Keep Message Content Fresh
People change, the weather changes, hours change, and products and services change, that’s why delivering fresh on-hold messages with new and updated content is the key to crafting a winning on-hold marketing strategy.
Regularly rotating your advertising content is imperative. Your marketing announcements must stay fresh and relevant in order to be effective. Even the best on hold messages have a shelf life, so by routinely updating message content, you’re presented with unlimited opportunities to connect with callers in fresh new ways!
8. Drive Traffic to Your Web Site
Every business loves more web traffic. After all, what good is a slick, shiny website if no one’s there to see it? You may only get 20-30 seconds of on hold time to market to your caller. If you introduce them to your website during this brief window, they can discover everything they need to know about your business at their convenience.
Drive callers to your website with on hold messages and see a dramatic increase in online orders, app downloads, blog views, or whatever your business is seeking. Send them to your social media channels for added engagement.
9. Create a Great Caller On Hold Experience
A customer’s experience is made up of every interaction your company has with them: face to face, via email, and, of course, on the phone. If a caller experiences long wait periods on hold listening to bland music or—shudder—silence, then they have not had a good customer experience.
Whatever your industry, On hold messages offer a hassle-free avenue to enhance your callers’ experiences. They provide the opportunity to use the time a caller is on hold for productive, informative and entertaining purposes. Your business’ on-hold program can help you build your brand, educate callers and tap into your phone system’s marketing potential. All of this genuinely enriches the customer’s experience and leaves them with a positive impression of your company, while creating a positive caller on-hold experience.
10. Use a Creative, Well Written Script
This goes without saying, right? You’d be surprised, though, how many businesses wait until the last minute to update their message on hold program, and try to throw something together in a rush. A good script offers an invaluable connection between the callers and your business. It also requires a good understanding of the business, its objectives and customers.
Here’s your next step! … Call your business and ask to be put on hold. Ask yourself, “Is what I’m hearing driving revenue?” … If all you hear is silence, don’t delay. Not only will on hold messages help drive sales and revenue, they will dramatically improve caller experience.
If all you hear is music, it’s time to change the way you look at your on hold programming. Any time you have the attention of your customers and prospects, you have a marketing opportunity. If you have message on hold programming that hasn’t been updated since you-don’t-know-when, now is a great time to refresh your content.
If you’re ready to get started with implementing a winning on hold message marketing strategy for your business – we can help! Contact Original On Hold, and we have a talented team of script writers to help optimize on hold time at your business, and help provide a great caller on hold experience.
Still skeptical about what on hold messages can do for your business? Give our custom on hold demo trial offer a whirl, and test out our creative juices first hand to hear what your brand can sound like today!