The top 2 worst business on hold messages

If you were asked what may be the most hated phrase in North America – what might it be?  My choice would be “your call is VERY important to us.”  It’s come to mean just the opposite to most people – it’s interpreted to mean “we’ll come to the phone to serve you when we’re good and ready, and not a moment before.”  Unfortunately, that phrase is heard on millions of auto attendants, voicemail systems and especially on hold message recordings.

From an on hold perspective – the object of the game is to make money for the customer by telling callers on hold all the things the business can do for them.  Instead, callers on hold to often hear “Thank you for holding, your call is VERY important to us.” That annoys the caller, and wastes the precious seconds the business has them on hold, when they could be providing useful information on what the business can do for them.  It reminds the caller that they’re on hold. It also turns a potential positive – the informational aspect of the on hold message — into a negative.  It irritates the caller, and that’s the opposite of what we want.

We often have business customers say “well gee – you HAVE to say your call is very important to us, don’t you?” I ask them what THEY think when they hear that on someone’s phone system.  The customer always says “Oh – I hate that.”   So why do you want it on YOUR phone system?

Here’s another phrase that’s not a favorite: “We apologize for putting you on hold, and thank you for your patience.”  The caller on hold says to themselves “I wasn’t angry before, but maybe I should be – these people are apologizing for something.” Again, this phrase turns a potential positive into a negative, and wastes the precious moments when the business could be providing valuable information – information that could make them money. 

Let’s all make a resolution: avoid those stock phrases on customer’s auto attendant, voicemail and on hold recordings.  If you are using a production company to do on hold recordings for your customers – they should know better.  If they don’t, remind them!

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