How On-Hold Messaging Works

Concepts Behind On-Hold Messaging

Restaurants can use on-hold messaging services to update customers about specials or upcoming events.
Restaurants can use on-hold messaging services to update customers about specials or upcoming events.
© Maria Teijeiro/Photodisc/Getty Images

On-hold messaging can be a powerful two-for-one tool for a business. It blends marketing with customer satisfaction. These concepts make on-hold messaging useful and popular.

Time drags for customers on hold especially when all they hear is dead air. Add music, and it's more interesting. But when one song segues into another and another, the hold time can seem to stretch out forever. Breaking up music with messages adds variety, and the hold time seems faster. And that increases customer satisfaction.

On-hold messaging can be viewed as one element of marketing. It lets a business speak directly to its customers and prospects while they're waiting on hold. As a marketing tool, on-hold messaging can't be beat. The customer on hold is a captive audience. And unlike with advertisements and commercials, the company has paid nothing to get the customer's attention.

On-hold messaging gives companies a chance to show their stuff and shape attitudes. With it, they can:

  • Reinforce customers' beliefs that they're doing business with a company that offers top-quality products and services.
  • Turn new listeners into advocates who appreciate the company more when they learn more about it.
  • Win over critics and skeptics who need information to reverse their negative opinion.

But, on-hold messaging also can work as marketing in a more basic way:

  • Announcements about upcoming sales and other events can build foot traffic.
  • Product introductions and special offers can increase orders online or in stores.
  • Answers to frequently asked questions may solve the customer's problem, saving time and steps.
  • Mentions of product names can increase customers' recollection of them, leading to more sales.

Make on-hold messaging part of broader marketing efforts, and its value increases even more. Music in the store, online and during customer time on hold can reinforce product branding. Special offers at the Web store can be mentioned on hold to drive customers to online purchases.

On-hold messaging can be a great marketing and customer satisfaction tool, but that can backfire if the message is unprofessional or boring. Next, let's look at some possible problems with on-hold messaging and how you can avoid them.