You went out of your way to ensure that the ambiance of your retail location was absolutely perfect, down to the ideal shade of robin egg blue paint and the fonts on your signage – why not put the same attention to detail into your on-hold messaging?

After all, many of your potential customers may have their first real exposure to your business when they call to ask your store hours or inquire about an ad they’ve seen recently. Like your website, on-hold messaging can act as a virtual front door for your store, giving callers hints about the quality and innovations your brand holds for them.

There are lots of ways to improve your on-hold presence and engage your customers at the same time. If you like hold music, you can certainly include it in your custom on-hold packaging, but by sprinkling in messages about your products and services, customers get some value while they’re waiting for individual assistance.

Customers who feel fully engaged while waiting tend to significantly underestimate their wait time, but customers who are bored tend to feel their wait time is dragging on and they may even disconnect the call.

Adding more value to hold queues

Customers give you their valuable time while they wait for your service team to answer their questions, so use your on-hold service to return the favor. Entertain, educate and engage your customers on hold with high quality messages that can help them solve common problems. The possibilities are endless, but excellent on-hold messaging typically embrace several concepts:

They reinforce your brand. Above all else, keep your messages consistent with the image you’re presenting of your business. Silence is not always golden, especially when it comes to on-hold services – in fact, it often leads to confusion, causing customers to disconnect when they’re unsure if they’ve made it into a hold queue. Stifling the silence with clever, off-brand messages is almost as bad, though, so make sure that every part of your on-hold program is consistent with your image.

For example, if you’re running a full-service motorcycle repair shop, it’s probably best that you don’t spend too much time telling customers about your new air conditioning system. Your customers want to know about the qualifications of your mechanics and their fancy, high tech equipment that will make diagnosing their motorcycle’s problems quick and simple.

They promote specials. Businesses everywhere attract customers using sale pricing from time to time. Why not put your on-hold queue to work spreading the word about your Tuesday Only sale on sandwiches? Customers calling in may not be aware of special sales events, but by informing them while they’re waiting on hold you can build brand awareness and loyalty at the same time. Today’s typical customer is hesitant to let go of their hard-earned money, they’re much more likely to sample your products if the risk to their wallet is low. Reward customers on hold by sharing hold-only specials with them.

They resolve customer service issues. Every business has certain calls that come in constantly – inquiries about service hours or return policies may top the list at your business. No matter what the most common questions are, though, there’s one thing that’s universal: customers with common and easy to answer questions make your on-hold queue much longer than necessary.

Adding messages in your on-hold service that answer these frequently asked questions can benefit your customers by reducing queue lines and individual hold times. A customer seeking one of these simple answers can be just as easily served by an on-hold message as a live person. The shorter wait times for this large group of callers will reduce their frustrations as well as the wait of those customers with more complex problems.

Regardless of the size of your business, if you get enough calls to necessitate an on-hold service, you should carefully examine the material that you present to your customers. By keeping them informed about new products, answering common questions and promoting specials in a way that’s consistent with your brand image, you can greatly increase your on-hold service’s engagement factor.

Engaged customers are happy customers, especially when they’ve got lots of new and exciting things to learn about. From pizza parlors to rental car services, giving a little extra to customers pays dividends.