Writing on hold messages is a lot like copywriting for other advertising. But it’s also completely different.
All advertising needs to be relevant to its audience. It needs to grab their attention, create some interest, and make it easy to remember the key message.
All advertising is an intrusion. Whether it’s interrupting a TV show, trying to stop someone as they flip through a newspaper or magazine, or just attempting to divert people’s attention as they go through their day. The point is no one is out there actively looking for ad messages. But they do expect to see advertising in all the usual places. However, most people don’t expect to encounter an advertising message when they make a phone call. They’re expecting to speak to someone or to leave a message. So when they get a recorded message while on hold instead of a real person, they’re usually a little annoyed. They don’t stop to think that if it weren’t for the on hold messages, they’d be listening to dead air or the incessant ringing of an unanswered phone.
I understand the mindset of the caller; and I write on hold messages accordingly. I probably don’t have their full attention, so I make the messages brief, interesting, and relevant to the caller, with information they can actually use. These days, many callers have a computer in front of them, and I’ve found that referring callers to the company’s web site is helpful to them and beneficial to Mind The Gap clients.
While it’s important to keep on hold messages brief and informative, I can still effectively weave branding messages in with the other information. Typically I suggest using the company tagline to be consistent with our client’s other advertising. Since everything a customer sees or hears from a company affects their impression of that company, voice talent and music are also important considerations. Music and voice selections should create an aural impression that’s consistent with the company’s image – or the image the company wants to project.
Finally, I tell our clients to avoid generic copy like “Thank you for holding” or “Your call is important to us.” Most callers would rather you show them that you appreciate their call by providing news or information. They’re too busy to waste time waiting on the phone.