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Image On Line is one of Australia’s leading producers of phone messaging – including on hold messages, voice greetings and other elements along the caller journey; what you caller hears from the moment you say “hi” to when they say “bye”

Many of our clients ask how they can use their on hold messages to boost sales. Whilst your business might not be in the sales industry, the following points can be applied to many sectors.

How do you define “creative”?
Before we move on, we need to touch on what creative means. ‘Creative’ is a simple word that carries many definitions depending on the person and the context. What’s your definition

For some, creative means arts and crafts. Creative people could be performers. Creative could be wacky, unusual. In traditionally uncreative roles, creative could be more about discovering unique solutions. In the media industry ‘creative’ can define the level of creativity, a commercial, and a role – it can be really confusing to hear someone ask for “creative creative from the creative creative”.

How do you define “creative on hold messages”?
Are creative on hold messages wacky? Do they use different words and odd phrasing, sound effects (SFX) or character voices? For many, the answer is ‘yes’, but creative on hold messages don’t have to be bizarre. Often weird voices and SFX can work against you by frustrating the caller. Here at Image On Line, when we talk about creative on hold messaging, we take a few elements into consideration:

  • Your objectives
  • Your callers
  • The caller journey
  • Your brand
  • Your overall sound

It’s not unusual for messages on hold to sound anything but ‘creative’, however, when used correctly, your messages can really benefit your business and boost sales.

What are your objectives?
This is a rather broad question and there’s no right, wrong or simple answer – it all depends on your business. What are your long-, medium- and short-term goals and can your on hold messaging help?

If you’re looking to launch a new product or service, your messaging could change so the most important content is heard first and more often. For areas of your business that are on the periphery, instead of promoting your core offering, you might find it worthwhile to highlight those lesser-known areas in a kind of soft upsell.

A mechanic will usually offer logbook servicing. If they do accident repair, should they instead focus on the unexpected offering by promoting it to new and existing customers?

Who is calling you and why?
Here we need to look at context. Put yourself in the shoes of the caller and ask: What do I need/want to hear? And what do I not want to hear?

If the majority of callers are repeat customers, do you really need to explain to them what you do? This is where you can be creative and promote forgotten areas of the business like in the above example.
On the other hand, new customers might like to hear about why they’re making a good choice by calling you in the first place.

For a complaints line you might choose to be a little mindful of the caller’s mindset and headspace by avoiding wacky SFX, whimsical music and bragging about how good your service is when someone is calling to complain about it.

What’s the caller journey?
This is the phrasing we use when describing the time between the caller dialing your number to the moment they hang up. What do your callers hear?

Do you have a welcome message that greets them and places them on hold? Do your on hold messages unpack more information the longer they’re on hold? Perhaps IVR options direct callers to different departments where they hear a different message depending on whether they’ve called Sales, Accounts or Support.

Depending on the journey and your phone system, you can really get creative with your phone messages!

Do you have any current branding?
Take a moment to think about any advertising that you have done recently. Seemingly insignificant elements can do a lot of heavy lifting when developing a brand. Obvious activity through media like TV, radio, print and social media gives the public an idea of who you are and what your business does. Also think about your website, reception area and the phrasing you and team uses in conversations with clients, customers and other stakeholders.

It’s important to keep your branding consistent across the board. Yes, there are times when the execution might need to change based on where it’s consumed, but clever marketing should avoid different elements seeming like chalk and cheese.

Let’s look at the sound of your brand. Companies can spend a lot of time and money workshopping the right logo or colour scheme. They should spend just as much time looking at the company’s audio branding.  We’ve been saying this for a while; radio stations are only now catching on.

When considering your audio branding in an on hold messaging sense, think about the kind of voice, music and phrasing that you’ll use. The only right answer is the one that leads to better results – sometimes it can take some trial and error to figure out what the right answer is.

  • Voiceover
    What kind of voice will work for your business? Do you want someone who sounds like they’re from your business? Do you want a voice who will resonate with your callers? Sometimes these two can sound completely different. If you’re unsure how your on hold messaging should sound, start with someone who sounds like they work at your business.
  • When casting a voice for on hold messaging, you don’t have to stick to the status quo. There’s no reason why a hardware company can’t use a female. For on hold messaging, it’s more about who matches the sound of your brand and who will resonate with your callers.
  • Music
    The same thinking can apply to music. When your on hold messages are produced by Image On Line, we include music that plays in the background of each on hold message, with it featuring for five to ten seconds between each message.
  • Which genre of music sounds like your business? We have a wide range of on hold music options from rock through to classical and jazz. Remember: If your customers are predominately male, it doesn’t mean you have to use rock music, females don’t only resonate with pop. As you can see, if you haven’t through carefully about the sound of your brand, preconceived ideas may lead you down the wrong path.
  • Phrasing
    Are there any words that you do say and are there any that you never use? Phrasing is vital. It can be the difference between knowing what you’re talking about and having no idea, but too much jargon can alienate those people who aren’t fully educated in a specific area. For your on hold messages, it can be a fine line and will depend on who your callers are. Any existing branding will help to formulate the scripts for your on hold messaging. If you’re unsure, our creative writer will be able to help.

There’s a lot to take in when looking to create on hold messages and other kinds of phone content. Image On Line can work with you and guide you along the way – just let us know what you’re thinking and we’ll do our best to help your on hold messaging boost sales.