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March 31, 2011

Scripting as Painless an On Hold Message as Possible

By David Sims, TMCnet Contributing Editor


Industry journal On Hold Messaging Direct has a good blog post telling you how to write a good script for your on hold message.

FADE IN to a rainy street in a foreign capital at night. The HERO runs along the sidewalk, nervously looking over his shoulder. Suddenly from a parked 1965 Aston Martin, a shot... huh? Oh, sorry, wrong script.

First off, why is the script such a big deal? Isn’t “Hi, thanks for calling, sorry, all available operators are busy, your call will be answered as soon as we can get to it” good enough? Hardly. As blogger Lee points out, “This may be the only opportunity you have to do business with them so you can’t afford to get their on hold experience wrong... the on hold messages and background music need to engage the caller, to defuse potential frustration.”

Distilling Lee’s good advice into the essentials then:

Tell the caller where they are and thank them for calling. “Thank you for calling Acme Anvils, Mr. Coyote will be with you as soon as possible.”

Don’t bombard them with lots of information at the start of your script, keep it segmented and concise. Have your audio producer spread it out over the music on hold. Music’s always good when conveying a lot of information on hold. “Love Is Blue” is a good choice, particularly Jeff Beck’s version. Seriously.

Say all the important stuff up front. “For example, if your company is holding an annual event, has a special offer, a free magazine, make sure that this information is communicated early on in your messages.”

Give them an incentive to stay on hold. Offering a 15 percent discount at weekends “is much more helpful to them than repeatedly thanking them for holding.”

Hey, use the time to indulge in a little PR. Lee calls is “building confidence in your brand.” Mention any awards you’ve won, what charitable foundations you support, what’s different about you.

Now, if you’re keeping people on hold for longer than ninety seconds, two minutes, thank them for holding and for their patience. Let them know they can e-mail you, hit the Web site, or pres 0 and you’ll call back.

And here’s a good idea: “Don’t be afraid to mix and match voices, a combination of male and female voices can be used to create interest and variety for the caller.”


David Sims is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To read more of David’s articles, please visit his columnist page. He also blogs for TMCnet here.

Edited by Juliana Kenny



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