0345 123 6677

0345 123 6677

How to use on-hold messaging effectively

Every organisation wants to make a great first impression, however all too often companies underestimate just how important the sound of their phone system is to their customers’ experience.

Your on-hold message is about much more than just making a good impression. When used well it can be an incredibly effective marketing tool which can add significant business advantage.

On average, 20% of a caller’s time on the phone will be spent on-hold or in queue and it’s clear that the last thing you want to do is waste that valuable customer interaction with dreaded clichés or insincere statements.

Couple this with BT and Cisco’s whitepaper ‘2021 Autonomous Customer’ finding that a voice call remains customers’ “number one choice for contact” when they can’t get an answer online.

Ensuring the maximum impact

So how do you use the on-hold space more effectively? What’s going to add the greatest benefit to your business, and more importantly, to your customers?

Well first things first, review what you’ve currently got in place.

  • Does your voice artist truly represent your brand?
  • Do the tone and language match your other contact points?
  • If your website uses a lot of modern terminology and conversational writing, does your on-hold?

All these things should be consistent, so when a customer decides to pick up the phone, they immediately recognise who you are as a business.

Then you need to be clear what it is you want to achieve. If it’s to boost sales, provide knowledge or product awareness, the on-hold space presents a perfect opportunity. You have a captive audience, and while they might switch off, or do something else while they’re waiting, they’ll certainly be listening at the start. If you create an engaging, or even entertaining, experience they’ll be sure to listen longer.

So be sure to make your key point clear at the start of your message. But be strategic, the way you word your message plays a huge part. If it’s too pushy you’ll lose your caller. If you don’t make the benefit to them clear, you stand to lose their interest. If it’s too corporate for your target audience, you might lose their attention. On the other hand, if it’s too informal, you may loose their respect. The right script can help to build a brand your customers or clients trust. The wrong script could damage that reputation, but not doing anything is often as bad as missing the mark first time.

Put yourself in your callers’ shoes, listen to your on-hold messaging regularly and make sure it’s up to date and relevant.

Be aware that on hold audio can play differently for callers depending on the phone system your company has. Some phone systems start your caller at the beginning of your production, which allows you to create a journey for them. Each message can act as a steppingstone building on the last one. Other systems play the on-hold audio constantly, like a river that callers hop onto the river at random points. So they’ll rarely hear the same message each time they call, which means you have to build a journey that reflects that experience.


Our new service gives you the ability to manage your recordings, with an easy to use web based portal that allows you to create and request new audio as and when you need it.

To arrange a demonstration of the portal please contact us or speak to your Grapevine account manager.

We can also provide a no-obligation review of your caller experience, including any current on-hold messaging. Our experienced team will advise on ways to ensure continuity across all of your brand communications.

Talk to us about solutions for your business

Whether you’re a new business or looking to evolve your existing infrastructure, why not find out how you could benefit from our services?

Please send a message via the contact form or call us on 0345 123 6677

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