Best on-hold messaging
Customers who have to make a phone call to a business don't want to be put on-hold, so if your business has to do this you need to make the experience as painless and effective as possible. That means encouraging the caller to remain on the line as an agent really will speak to them soon, while also ensuring that the caller is calm and reassured that their call is both valued and important to that company.
While it's entirely possible for any business to record their own on-hold messages, most will give little though behind it and will not take time to research best practices. For example, what should be the age or gender of the person providing the recorded message? Should they have a clear access or a regional one? These decisions are important, as your on-hold message might be the first direct point of contact between that customer and your business, so you need to ensure any such recording properly and professionally reflects your brand.
Luckily, there are a number of companies out there who can record and provide the messages you need, both in terms of optimizing your customer engagement, while ensuring you project the professionalism you want. After all, a customer calling your company probably has a technical problem or complaint that has already left them frustrated, so any on-hold message needs to not just state that the call is important, but express the sentiment as sincerely as possible.
While on-hold messages may seem like an easy thing to DIY, as we've seen a little thought behind them can go a long way to repairing customer relations. The last thing any business should want is to leave a frustrated caller even more frustrated, and be left spreading news of a bad experience among their friends and family, adversely affecting your business reputation and brand. Additionally, on-hold messages can be tailored to support marketing activities for up-selling.
Here therefore are our five feature picks of companies who can do on-hold messaging the right way for you, whatever business you operate.
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The perfect voice for your business
Spectrio provides on-hold messaging that is intended to enhance your customer experience, by providing the perfect voice to represent your brand and inform callers, using professional voice talent. The company also looks to ensure you have the best music to suit your customer demographics, and they can also ensure any recordings are updated with your latest promotions.
Rather than just provide audio samples, Spectrio can provide auto-attendant and IVR for automatically routing calls, and ensure customers spend less time on-hold while being routed not just to the correct department but also the first available agent that can help with their inquiry. They can provide this as an add-on to an existing VoIP solution, or provide one directly.
The company provides a number of voice and music samples on their website, which includes male or female artists, voices for digital signage, as well as provide industry samples, IVR prompts, and international voice samples for different languages to English.
Spectrio advertise that they routinely work in the automotive, finance, healthcare, hospitality, salon, and retail industries. They can also provide a number of related services, not least overhead music and messaging, Wi-Fi marketing, interactive kiosks, and even scent marketing.
On-hold messages by skilled writers
OMG provide on-hold messages that aim to combine the best in sales and customer support, by providing voice recordings put together using a team of industry copywriters, professional voice talent, and marketing professionals, to create on-hold telephone messages that help make for a better experience and even help develop sales.
Aside from using skilled writers, OMG use nationally known and experienced professionals, with voice overs provided alongside licensed music. Files can be provided in .mp3, .wav, .ulaw, or other formats as required, and digital software and or hardware can be supplied as required.
The company begins the process with a consultation, followed by scripting, production, then delivery. A number of audio samples are posted to the OMG website, covering a number of industries such as automotive, legal, real estate, insurance, beauty, health and medical supplies.
The company can also provide a range of other audio services, not least voice overs for radio advertising and website sampling, as well as video, digital marketing, branding, design, and print.
For their on-hold music service, OMG offer a free 60-day trial.
Setting the right mood for your business
Mood Media aims to create a positive experience with on-hold messaging, in order to reduce the number of times customers disconnect, as well as engage customers to drive additional sales through promotion of relevant products and services. The company has experience in a number of industries, not least automotive, financial, healthcare, hospitality, restaurants, retail, and salons.
To begin the process, Mood Media creative team collaborates with the client on aims and objectives, which are put to a script. Sound designers then work with voice talent to record and master the relevant on-hold messages. Once approved by the client, the recordings are then provided.
The company provides samples of messaging, music, as well as for digital signage, and can also supply related media services such as audio for digital menu boards, TV pass through, and video walls. Mood Music can also provide audio visual equipment and maintenance, as well as sound masking to help meet industry regulations for noise levels, as well as provide quiet areas for privacy and confidentiality.
On-hold messaging with a flat-fee
On Hold Messaging Direct is a British company that supplies audio for telephone systems, not least on-hold messaging, but also IVR prompts, greetings and after-hours messages, as well as answering machine messages.
Rather than consult on scripting and execution, they provide a self-service where clients write their own scripts, then choose between a number of voice-over and music options. Once selected, the company will record and mix the audio together, then deliver it as an audio download for use on any phone system.
Because of the self-service system, On Hold Messaging Direct is able to provide a flat-fee structure that other providers usually don't, which comes in three clear tiers. Voice Only 100 allows for a client script of up to 100 words, but with voice-over only and no music, which is charged at £109 (around $125) plus sales tax. Voice + Music 200 allows for a script of up to 200 words as well as background music, and is charged at £142 (around $160) plus sales tax. Voice + Music 300 allows for a script of up to 300 words plus music, and is charged at £179 (around $200) plus sales tax.
Other pricing plans are available, depending on the amount of voice or music work required, plus the company can provide an annual project back-up service for a small fee, so that you retain the ability to access to your recording in the event of file loss or deletion at work.
From on-hold messaging to video production
The Original On Hold is a company that provides a range of services, including on-hold messages, auto-attendant, music for stores and businesses, as well as offering video production. Although it services brand name businesses, the company claims to offer affordable services for all size of business.
For its on-hold services, while it provides skilled copy-writers to prepare your initial script, they also encourage businesses to keep their messages fresh and updated in order to cover the latest campaign and marketing messages. Clients can update recordings and request new voice overs via an online portal, as well as track the status of orders. They also offer a free trial for their services.
Key aims of The Original On Hold company include caller retention, by providing a call-to-action to reduce customers hanging up, not least by providing cross-selling product/service opportunities. This is backed up by a general statistic that a number of on-hold companies promote that upsell through on-hold marketing information can provide a 16%-20% increase in sales from callers.
They also offer auto-attendant, IVR services, and voicemail announcements, focused on promoting professionalism and company brand to callers, and customers.
No flat-rate pricing is provided on their website, but they provide a contact form on each page for a quote.
While these feature is about on-hold messaging services, we couldn't resist adding Melody Loops, which provides royalty-free music for on-hold services.
This means that if you want to manage your own on-hold messages, either by using one of your staff - or even better, a paid actor - you have a quality source of music to run in the background to your recordings.
This is especially as the music used in the background of a message can have a real effect on the mood on the caller, so you need to make sure you keep that in mind and ensure suitable music.
For example, with a sales call you might want something upbeat and optimistic to keep the customer hanging in there. Alternatively, for complaints or general enquiries it can be helpful to have calming music.
Better still, because the music at Melody Loops is also available as bundled packs, you can swap and change music as required, not least by using analytics from a cloud-hosted CRM or phone solution, to see which music type has the most desired effect.
While the music isn't free, by being royalty-free is means you only have a single upfront cost to contend with. And the fact that there are so many options means you can ensure you get the mood you want. There are also free samples on the website you can download.