By Stewart Gandolf
Chief Executive Officer
I recently heard an on-hold message that was so creative, memorable and powerful that I texted my editor with the message, “Hey, you HAVE to listen to this on-hold message…”
I’ll share the story behind my cryptic message in a moment, but first I want to address why you should even care about on-hold messages.
Creative On-Hold Messages Increase Caller Retention
Did you know approximately 70 percent of all calls are placed on hold? If callers are left to wait in silence or with generic music, they are 60 percent more likely to hang up after 45 seconds.
That’s not a lot of time. In less than a minute, you have the potential to either lose an opportunity or to entice callers with an interesting story or irresistible offer.
So NO to dead silence, NO to banal elevator music and NO to live radio feeds which can feature ads by your competitors. Instead, remember that your on-hold message oftentimes is the first impression of your brand.
Take advantage of this hidden marketing opportunity and share an interesting story or memorable message. When you humanize your brand you not only become more interesting, you begin to build trust with your callers before you even speak to them.
Benefits of a creative on-hold message…
Placing a caller on hold is a risk. When you create an engaging experience for your patients you minimize the risk of premature hang-ups and instead create an invaluable marketing opportunity.
Brand awareness – Share your unique voice with your patients to reinforce your brand. Doctors and other medical professionals typically want to be synonymous with expertise and compassion; take advantage of your on-hold message and let your patients know exactly what they can expect when they select your practice.
Trust – Sharing a personal story can build a connection between you and your caller. If you specialize in reproductive care because you watched your sister struggle with infertility, your audience knows that you are passionate about what you do and will make their needs a priority. That passion translates to trust.
Caller retention – On-hold messages can enhance the caller experience and ease frustration when it answers to commonly asked questions. This is also a good opportunity to share your credentials and any minimally invasive, effective treatments or surgeries you offer that are unique to your practice.
Promotion – In addition to an engaging story, your on-hold message can announce upcoming health screening events, special offers, flu shot reminders, office hours and location, as well as your website address. We call this “cross-selling,” and it is powerful if you do it right, and an endless sales pitch if you do it wrong.
Telling your story, on-hold…
Now that you understand the basics, let’s review the aforementioned highly creative and effective on-hold message.
If you watch Shark Tank, then you might be familiar with Ring (formerly Door Bot), a company that reinvented the doorbell.
When I called for customer service about my new Ring doorbell, I was treated to a message featuring the inventor, Jamie Siminoff. During the message, Jamie shares his unique story about how he was working on a different invention in his garage when he came up with the idea behind Ring.
He didn’t want to step away from his work to answer the door and he thought it would be handy to have the ability to answer from anywhere. So he created ‘caller ID’ for his front door.
Not only does this story resonate with his audience, it humanizes his company and immediately builds a connection. Before learning about Jamie’s story you might have been interested in Ring products, but after hearing Jamie’s story, you are immediately connected to the brand. His unique story keeps callers engaged until a representative can assist them.
Engage the caller with a story, not a sales pitch…
While your own story may not include an appearance on a popular television show, sharing your humble beginnings and why you are passionate about your medical specialty can be equally as engaging. When you share a piece of yourself with your caller, you immediately build connection and trust.
The key to an outstanding message on-hold is to go beyond a mere sales pitch for various stories, and instead create a high-quality, engaging story. When it’s done well, it can be a powerful tool to promote your practice and services. Engaging messages also reduce hang-ups and increase your chance of gaining new patients.
Listen to your on-hold message today. If it doesn’t excite you, it‘s definitely not exciting your callers. Make time to refresh your message with a unique, compelling story that resonates with your audience and helps you stand out from your competition.