message on hold resources tips

5 More Do’s and Dont’s for Message on Hold

In last week’s blog, we discussed “7 Do’s and Don’t for Message on Hold” programs. Here are five more pieces of advice for designing the most effective “delay message,” adapted from the 2001 ICMI whitepaper by Jean Bave-Kerwin:

message on hold program, do's and dont's, ivr auto attendant greeting


1. Match your [message on hold] script to your goals. When all is said and done, make sure the final product…fits the purpose for which it was designed. This includes an audio scan, as well as measurement of customer behavior changes as a result of the message.

1. Ask for identifying information in the wrong [stage of the ivr menu]. For example, if a customer’s phone number will only be used if he or she opts for an automated response, don’t ask for it before the caller selects the IVR.

2. Limit the content of individual messages. While the entire message can be lengthy, each individual message should convey what it needs to in 35 to 40 words.

2. Make recordings too short. Look at your expected delay statistics, and make sure the message is long enough to cover at least the average delay…

3. Be careful when providing estimated wait times. This can work very well if you’re only feeding one queue to one agent group, but it breaks down with virtual agents or multiple call priorities because calls can “budge” to the front of the queue.

3. Keep telling customers to hold or that they are on hold. They know it! They either will or won’t, and are likely to be annoyed by such commands.

4. Be creative. Messages that get customers to relax and enjoy the wait (i.e., humorous, entertaining, informative messages) can be crafted if you don’t limit your imagination to “what you’ve already heard.”

4. Think you’re in this alone. Messaging services [are] an invaluable resource, especially for finding voice talent and making the final recordings. 
5. Find out the…cost of using music on hold…it’s not legal to play real tunes without paying a royalty, and the same applies to playing a radio station. 5. Neglect customers whose preferred language isn’t English. Provide multilingual messages that are culturally appropriate, and in the languages of the customers who are likely to call you.

Congratulations: you are on your way to designing the perfect IVR system and/or message on hold program!