Brits actually appreciate hearing voice and music messages on hold

Generic ‘please hold’ messages are perceived as a major irritant for customers, but research has found Brits actually feel more valued if they hear bespoke voice and music messages while on hold.

The study, conducted among 1,000 consumers on behalf of PH Media Group, discovered 51 per cent feel more appreciated as customers if they hear messages they can relate to, over alternatives such as a dial tone, beeps or silence.

A further 54 per cent believe a company appears more professional if it plays bespoke messages to callers who are waiting on hold.

“These results will come as a surprise to many because generic ‘please hold’ messages are so often seen as an annoyance, as are music tracks looped endlessly while you wait to speak to someone,” said Mark Williamson, Sales Director, PH Media Group.

“But the key word there is ‘generic’. Customers do not want to feel as if messages they hear on hold are simple placeholders designed to placate and pacify them – it reflects badly on the company’s brand.

“Instead, businesses should aim to create voice and music messages that inform and entertain. Rather than simply filling time, they should speak to customers and prospects on a more relevant and personal level and, as such, exploit an ideal opportunity to reflect specific brand values.”

On-hold marketing looks set to increase in importance too, as the research found younger generations respond particularly well to on-hold marketing messages.

Sixty-one per cent of 16 to 44-year-olds believe a company sounds more professional if it uses bespoke voice and music on hold, but the figure drops to 48 per cent for 45 to 54-year-olds and 41 per cent among 55 to 64-year-olds.

Women are also found to be particularly receptive, with 57 per cent claiming these messages are more professional, compared to 52 per cent of men.

“If done well, it is clear that on-hold marketing can help to strengthen a company’s image and reinforce professionalism, instead of acting as an annoyance,” added Williamson.

“There is a particularly strong emphasis on this for companies who sell to a younger audience or predominantly female demographic. Given these groups react particularly well to tailored messages, it makes sense to use them as a way to cross-sell, up-sell and boost product awareness while customers are waiting on hold.”