Phone Home! (What Your On-Hold Messaging Says About You)

Why do companies advertise?

According to a recent study, 93% of all marketing/advertising budgets are spent to entice potential customers to call. The mindset is this: consumer is interested, consumer calls, sales/customer service person answers, and sales/customer service person sells. Unfortunately, this view ignores a critical step; the consumer goes on hold.

Credit unions are a little different. More of your callers are likely to be current members interested in a particular service, or maybe they have a question, or need assistance with an account. But some may still be new prospects who want to know more about what you do and how they can benefit.

The vast majority of your callers will be placed on hold. Some of them longer than others.

So let's look at a few numbers compiled by CNN, AT&T and others.
  • ~At least 70% of all business callers are placed on hold at some point
  • ~Callers hearing on-hold messaging will stay on the line up to 3 minutes longer (reducing hang-up and call-back volume)
  • ~85-88% of callers prefer on-hold messaging
  • ~16-20% of callers make a decision or a purchase based on an offer or message they heard while on hold

So here is our suggestion... Call yourself. That's right. In the immortal words of E.T. - phone home (or work, as the case may be). Find out what it's like for the members and prospective members who call your credit union. If you haven't done it in a while, you might be surprised. And not in a good way.

The simple view of on-hold messaging is to get customers to stay on the line, and, ideally, to keep them entertained while they wait. But we think it should be more than that. Having a member on hold gives you another chance to tell your story and build your brand.

It can be a way to demonstrate your credit union's humorous side! Or your commitment to quality service. Or it can help differentiate you from the competition. Callers can hear your jingle, or maybe details on your latest promotion or public service project. By incorporating some of the same elements of sound you've used on radio or television - familiar music and voices - you can continue to reinforce your brand during every member interaction. Even while members are on hold.

When you place someone on hold, you may have captured their ear, at least for a few minutes. But have you captured their attention? Or their imagination? For any business, on hold messaging is vital to creating customers out of callers.

What happens when you phone home?