According to recent studies, one half to three quarters of callers to businesses are put on hold and stay there for up to a minute – sometimes more. Businesses who have seized the marketing opportunities provided by on hold messaging are finding that sales and inquiries have increased, hang ups have decreased and they are satisfied with the return on their investment.
The On Hold Messaging Association (OMHA) polled companies nationwide to determine what value they were receiving from their on hold messaging services. Respondents noted that the messages did help “build their image and professionalism.” The survey also revealed that companies that updated their on hold messages more frequently were able to make a direct correlation between time spent on hold and increased sales.
“On Hold Messaging is a prime marketing opportunity, especially when you keep your message fresh and relevant,” says Jim Mathis, President of On Hold Marketing and Communications. “It reinforces your brand, products and services, while providing important information in what otherwise would be wasted time for callers.”
Business with a high volume of calls (200 or more) reported to the OHMA that more than half of those callers were put on hold and two thirds of them for an average of 30 seconds. A similar survey by the Institute of Commercial Management (ICM) in the UK showed that 70 percent of callers were put on hold, sometimes for more than a minute. And, it indicated that more than 70 percent of consumers surveyed preferred on hold messages to silence.
“The important thing here is that callers not only have time to listen, they also have time to process the information, relate it to their needs, formulate questions and possibly even make a decision in part as a result of what they have learned while holding,” says Mathis.
The ICM survey also found that a good portion of callers are sitting in front of their computers while on hold, offering the perfect opportunity for an on hold message to direct them to a website.
“When you talk about a call to action, it doesn’t get any easier than this,” Mathis comments. “A sale can be just a few clicks away.”