What will you do with your 13 hours?

If you had to spend 13 hours on hold each year, what would you want to hear?

I'm asking because you probably do spend 13 hours on hold each year. So do your customers.

According to a new study, more than half of the 500 consumers surveyed wait on hold for about 15 minutes per week, or 13 hours annually. And if your company has lengthy hold times, your frequent callers are likely spending much longer than that on hold.

So, it's worth thinking about what you're doing for your callers to a) keep them on the line, b) shorten their perceived wait, and c) create value, so they won't feel as if they're wasting time whenever they call your company.

As an on hold messaging provider since 1989, we have more than our share of experience with creating this specific type of content. Here are three key points to keep in mind, whether you're creating your own on hold messaging or evaluating the philosophies of various providers:

1) It's all about your callers. Promoting what you do and sell is fine, as long as you present the information in a way that addresses specific caller needs or answers common caller questions.

2) Change is good. Your on hold messaging content should be updated often enough that your frequent callers don't get to the point where they have your messages memorized and beg you, "Don't put me on hold!"  Fresh copy and music let your frequent callers know that you care about their time on hold. Something to consider.

3) Provide a unique experience. Strive to use your on hold messaging in a way that both serves your brand identity well and sets your company apart in a way callers will remember long after they hang up.  You want them calling you - not  "Brand X" - the next time they pick up the phone. Right?

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