When a current or potential customer calls your business and is placed on hold, what do they hear? Most phone systems allow for some sort of “looped” audio. Some companies simply play music, some just have the generic “music on hold” that’s provided with the phone system.
But this is a missed opportunity! If you’ve got a consumer on hold, why not inform and sell? A person on hold is a captive audience, and incorporating some advertisements into your “hold music” is a great way to sell a few more parts.
What Should Your Hold Messaging Be?
A good audio advertisement is relevant to the consumer, simple, repetitive, and has a clear call to action. Here are some best practices for your ‘ads on hold’ message.
1. Put The Customer First
A great on-hold message welcomes the caller, thanks them for holding, and offers them information that will help them.
- For a more established company that has a great catalog business, it’s probably a good idea to tell customers about the website: “Did you know we have a website that’s open 24/7? Find all the parts you need at www.oursite.com.”
- Likewise, if you’re an online only company that offers a print catalog, it might be good to explain: “Did you know we have a print catalog? If you prefer to shop with a catalog in your hand, be sure to ask your customer service rep for a free copy.”
- If your company often asks customers for their VIN number to verify part fitment, it’s a good idea to give the customer a heads-up: “If you’re ordering a replacement part, we offer free fitment verification. All we need is your VIN and we can make sure to send you the right part the first time.”
2. Sell Sell Sell!
On-hold messaging is also great time to encourage consumers to spend. For example, you can offer customers who spend more than $99 free shipping, customers who order 3 items a 4th item free, etc.
Think “upsell” with your ads on hold – you’ve got the customer on the line patiently waiting to (hopefully) spend money. A little encouragement can go a long way.
3. Talk About Things Most Of Your Customers Don’t Know
A lot of companies have products or services that their consumers just don’t know about. Your company might be well known for selling race helmets, but not at all known for selling race seats. Ads on hold are a great opportunity to make the consumer aware: “Here’s something most people don’t know about our company: We offer a full range of racing seats for every size and budget.”
New product announcements, new service offerings, new brands your company has started to offer – these are all good messages for your consumers while they’re on hold.
4. Build Value
Last but not least, be sure to build value in your company when the consumer is holding. Talk about how many great reviews your products have, your sales volume, market dominance, industry-best warranty, etc. Consumers on hold are likely somewhere towards the end of the sales process. It’s a good time to remind them that they’re making a good choice by doing business with your company.
How To Create Ads On Hold
First, hire a professional voice-over artist. There’s no substitute for a trained professional.
Second, make sure the artist can create the audio you need in a professional grade studio. While telephone audio doesn’t need to be super high quality, it’s something you might want to re-purpose later for a podcast or online radio ad.
Three, write a script. You want to make each message 15 or 30 seconds in length (that makes them easier to re-use), and you’ll want to read the copy aloud to make sure the time works out.
Pro Tip: When you time your script, don’t read too quickly. Most voice-over artists read fairly deliberately as that makes for a better quality recording.
Four, pay for a royalty free music loop to go between and “underneath” each message. This music will break up the messaging, and play for 5-10 seconds before a new message begins. The music will also loop below the messages in the background, to make the audio more seamless.
Most pro voice-over artists are capable of mixing their audio with music and providing you with a final MP3 or WAV file that you can just load onto your phone system. As for the music, try to pick something that matches the demographics of your customer base. Obviously this music should not have any lyrics, and it doesn’t need to be recognizable either. Just something sort of familiar sounding that is easily ignored.
Last but not least, make sure you have all your audio and voice-over tracks as separate MP3 or WAV files. That way, you can revise or update them as needed without having to do everything over.
Of course, if you are an auto parts or accessory company, you can contact us for help creating your own ads on hold.
A customer on hold is a captive audience, and they will usually listen closely to any messages that play while they’re waiting. If you follow the right process, you can create a 3-5 minute audio ‘loop’ that will help you sell more parts.