I received a call recently from a client who had updated her phone system in the not too distant past. She’d called to ask if she could continue using her Smart Link Solutions’ Message on Hold service with her new phone system. I enthusiastically said, “Of course!” and proceeded to ask a few more questions.

Basically, your new phone system will have one of three options for Message on Hold (often called “Music on Hold”):

  • Option #1: The phone system hardware is located in your office and it supports an external Message on Hold device.
  • Option #2: The hardware is located in your office, but doesn’t support an external device.
  • Option #3: The phone system is located on the cloud.

When your phone system hardware is located in your office and supports an external Message on Hold device (Option #1), your Message on Hold provider will need to know if the phone system hardware has a port for a sound cord and if programming is required to direct the phone system to the device. If it has a port and programming isn’t required, it may be possible to connect the unit yourself or have your Message on Hold provider connect it for you. If programming is required, your phone system provider can connect the unit and complete the programming for you. Smart Link Solutions has relationships with several phone technicians who can complete this kind of work for you.

The phone system hardware is located in your office, but doesn’t support an external Message on Hold device (Option #2) – OR – your phone system hardware is located on the cloud (Option #3). Simply ask your phone system provider what kind of Message on Hold file is required.

Many times your phone system will play an .mp3 or wav file. .Mp3 files are pretty straightforward. .Wav files? Not so much.

If your phone system plays an.Mp3 file, your Message on Hold provider will need to know if you need a stereo or mono file (it doesn’t always matter) and if there are any file size restrictions. That’s about it.

Your provider will need some additional details when a .Wav file is required. File variables include: Format (i.e., u-law, mu-law, a-law, PCM, etc.), bit rate, sample rate, and more. The permutations seem endless. Your Message on Hold provider can assist you.

Note that some phone systems will play individual files. That is, one file for each section, segment, or “paragraph” of your message. When this is the case, your Message on Hold provider will also need information about any file size, length, and/or formatting restrictions and if music is preferred at the start of each file, at the end of each file, or at both the start and end of the file.

What you need to know about playing Message on Hold through your phone system
(The good, the bad, and the ugly about Message on Hold and phone systems)

Phone systems have come a long way in the past few years. In the early days, on-hold messages played from start-to-finish. The message started at the beginning (i.e., Section #1) for every caller, each and every time the caller was placed on hold. Every message ended the same way as well: with an abrupt silence. Not good!

More recent phone systems play Individual message files in random order. They’ve also become sophisticated enough to remember which sections, and/or how much of a message a caller has heard – even if the caller has been placed on hold multiple times.

All that said, nothing quite takes the place of a traditional Message on Hold device for caller experience. A traditional device plays continuously and callers join the message in process. No one ever sits in silence wondering where you went and if you’re ever coming back; the message plays continuously.

Thinking about a new phone system? Great choice! “Time and tide wait for no man.” If your last phone system was purchased 10 or more years ago, you’ll be dazzled by the array of features and options. Today’s phone systems allow you to connect off-site teams members as if they’re local, send voicemails to e-mail accounts, take advantage of moneysaving VOIP and bandwidth rates, and more.

It’s an important decision, so be sure to do your homework. A consultation with a Smart Link Solutions’ representative is a great place to start. Your representative will help you assess your needs, educate you about the phone systems available today, identify potential cost savings, and walk with you,/em> throughout the purchase, installation, training, and problems solving processes.

But there’s more… Smart Link Solutions is sweetening the deal! Purchase a phone system before Monday, July 16th and you’ll receive free auto attendant greetings (restrictions apply). Schedule your consultation today!

Oh! Questions about Message on Hold? Contact me, Betty Green, for assistance.

Betty Green has been a copywriter with Smart Link Solutions since 2008. She has an MS in Organization Development with an emphasis on organization communication, as well as a BBA in Management from Eastern Michigan University. She taught business communication courses to undergraduates at Concordia University and has worked professionally in a variety of industries.