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On Hold Messages Keep Callers From Feeling Lost in Space


When Stanley Kubrick created “2001: A Space Odyssey” back in 1968, I wonder if he imagined that it would become a metaphor for customer service and on hold messages decades later.

Yes, many customers today feel that navigating customer service options can be like hurtling through space with HAL in control. It’s cold and impersonal, and no one can hear you scream.

There are plenty of reasons for today’s “omnichannel” customer-service universe. Digital service options often are more convenient and more profitable for the company and the customer alike. Just look at the banking industry for example. With online banking, ATMs and even cash back with debit cards, customers have more options for accessing their money than ever before. However, studies show that customers still prefer to make large deposits in person with a teller than with an ATM or a smartphone.

Some retailers are getting it right with omnichannel customer service, too. Companies like Amazon and Zappos have managed to add a human touch to their digital efforts by making recommendations. Warby Parker knows that ordering eyeglasses online can feel like a gamble, so they send you five pairs to try on for free before you decide.

Every business has one customer-service channel that MUST maintain a personal touch at all times — the telephone.

The first step is training all of your employees to be friendly and courteous on the phone. But it is inevitable that you will have to place callers on hold. You can keep that personal touch and keep callers engaged with on-hold messages.

Targeted on-hold messages are as much a reflection of your company’s image as your logo and your employees. You can do several things with marketing on hold to keep callers from feeling lost in space when you press the hold button:

  • Give your on-hold messages the right “voice”: Your business has a personality, and it tends to attract customers with similar personalities. Your on-hold messages should reflect that personality in they language that they use. Also, be sure to pick a voice talent whose voice reflects your brand well. Your on-hold messages should still sound like someone from your business is talking to the customer until you can return to the call.
  • Make sure your on-hold messages has the right “sound”: Music is another key component of the personality and atmosphere of your business. Select background music for your on-hold messages that echoes the music customers hear inside your business.
  • Keep your on-hold messages fresh: Times change. Technology changes. And your business changes, too. An effective on-hold messaging strategy includes frequent updates to keep the marketing from getting stale. Seasonal offers and promotions, new products and services, and industry news are just a few examples of how you can keep your on-hold message relevant and fresh.

Don’t leave callers feeling like HAL took over once you pressed “HOLD”. We can help you maintain your human touch and keep callers happy.

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