Lessons in Language

As a copywriter for Messages On Hold, I speak to a lot of clients who want to know how they can make their On Hold production more effective. Time and again, I say that use of language is one of the best ways to improve the effectiveness your On Hold. So let’s take a closer look at some of the small changes that can have a big impact.

Tip 1: Don’t tell customers what they appreciate the least
“Thank you for calling Generic Company X, we appreciate you holding and will be with you shortly”. Sound familiar? The customer has just been put on hold, and now they’re being reminded of it. Sometimes every 30 seconds! Instead, why not use that time to promote your latest deal or upcoming event with a creative message? It’s a far more effective way to connect with your waiting callers.

Tip 2: Say more by striking out generic phrases
Ever seen a TV ad and been left wondering at the end what the ad was for? It happens all too often On Hold too. Take the following for example:

‘Our range of products will meet all your needs and requirements.’

What products? And where’s the benefit? It’s better to be specific. That’s why we’ll write something like this instead.

‘Our heavy duty washing machines will clean even the dirtiest clothes.’

The product is clearly washing machines. And the benefit? They’ll clean everything. You have 500 words to use in your production. We make sure every one of them counts.

Tip 3: Save industry speak for the office.
They say it takes a lawyer to understand legalese, but the same applies in most industries. I bet that even in your workplace there are common terms, phrases and acronyms that make perfect sense to staff, but mean gobbledegook to most customers. Simple language is easier to understand and therefore more effective. We use shorter sentences and familiar language wherever possible to give your caller a clearer picture.

There are On Hold messages, and there are intelligent, assumptive, creative, rich and informative messages by Messages On Hold. Create an effective on hold production by using creative language that’s not bogged down by jargon, and losing the generic throwaway sentences and messages that reinforce the fact callers have to wait. The results will speak for themselves.

– Rachel McGeorge