Your or your company just switched phone systems. Although the switch can save you time, money, and energy in the long run, there’s a downside to some of the providers: the messages you can play for customers have a two-minute time limit.

If you have Message on Hold with us, you’re used to playing four to six minutes of music and recorded messages to keep your customers on the line and share calls to action with people who are already interested in doing business with you.

After all, even if you only have two minutes to make an impression, you still need to make those two minutes on count. The majority of your customers will be put on hold when they do business with any company, and surveys show that most customers prefer on-hold messaging to radio silence or plain old music. Plus, while you have your customers holding, you want to ensure they don’t hang up. Use the time to make your case: why does your caller want to do business with YOU?

Show them with a message on hold. Even if it’s only two minutes, that two minutes can turn someone who’s already interested enough to call you into a dedicated customer. Here’s how.

Stick to the basics

The basics include cardinal rules: Don’t apologize for putting your customers on hold and never ever thank them for their patience/holding/mention they’re on hold at all! It may seem counterintuitive, but hear us out. Think of your on-hold message as a conversation with a friend. How do you tell your nearest and dearest about an amazing product or service you discovered?

Surely, you’re not telling them with long, windy sentences while thanking them for their patience! Keep sentences brief and easy to understand – no need to break out the dictionary.

Speaking of keeping it brief, be mindful of the word count. If you’re looking at a two-minute production, your overall message should be under 150 words to account for music. If you have more than one section, it should be less. Keep in mind that word count also depends on the speed of a reader, so a fast, enthusiastic read is going to have more room for verbiage than a slow, relaxed read.

The rules for selecting your music and voice talent remain the same. When you listen to a track, does it remind you of your business? Does it fit in with your brand, your customers’ overall experience of your business? Same with voice talent: a fast, peppy read is great for a motor sports company, but not so great for persuading your customers to come in for a relaxing spa day!

One specific call to action

Keep your message short and sweet by sticking to one goal. Since your message will have about 2 sections, three to four at the very most if they’re short, you want to simplify your message as much as possible.

Not sure what goal you want to stick to? If you have a specific promotion or an event that’s coming up, update your production to promote your event. Like other marketing materials, focus on a strong call to action – entice your listener with the “why” but don’t forget the crucial details, like where, when, and how long the event lasts.

On the other hand, if you want a long-lasting message, focus on what your overall goal is. Do you want people to buy your products, schedule an appointment for service, or stop on by and visit your warehouse, showroom, or store?  Here are a few ideas: If you want your customers to buy a product, advertise your featured products. What do customers rave about that your business offers? For example, if you’re Burger King and you’re the home of the whopper, you’re going to mention you’re the home of the whopper in your message on hold. Similarly, if you’re a spa and you offer a quick, lunchtime massage that you want clients to book, let them know about the service and how to schedule an appointment.

Putting it another way: what do you want your customers to do? Each goal should come with its own call to action: “stop on by for great bargains!” “Visit ‘my store dot com’ and pick out the product of our dreams.” “Email John to set up an appointment. Grab a pen and paper and jot down his email …”

Remember AA greetings

Don’t need a two-minute message, or already have one you’re happy with? Don’t neglect your automated attendant! An automated attendant exists so your phone calls are always answered, even if your business is closed or if your team’s assisting other callers.

Your auto attendant should be brief. If it’s an after-hours greeting, it should state your hours followed by a friendly variation of “we’ll be back to assist you when we open.” If it’s a day greeting and your callers are trying to reach multiple extensions, write your auto attendant in numeric order. For example, if Sales is extension 2 and warehouse is number 3, put them in the order the extensions go in, one through nine and leave zero, star, and the pound key (if they factor into your extensions) for last. Also, be vigilant about extension number changes. If one extension changes numbers, you’ll need to update your auto attendant as soon as possible.

Now if all this sounds great, but you don’t have the time to deal with it, leave it up to us.  I’ll craft the message taking all the items mentioned above into account.  After all, I wrote this blog – I can and have crafted messages for any business, any length you need!

If it’s about time to change your production, keep these pointers in mind. Is it time to update your production and you’ve only got two minutes to spare? Have a lot of productions and don’t know what to do with them (hint: we also create auto attendants)? Give us a call today and we’ll put together a message that can easily convert more of your callers into customers! If you don’t have message on hold, Call today and find out about free installation.