Nicolas Cage

Pace Yourself

It’s easy to assume that a good read is all about lovely language, flowing sentences and correct grammar. Yes, all those things are important, but let’s not forget about language’s forgotten principle: pacing.

In a nutshell, pacing can be defined as the rhythm of a piece of text, whether that be a song, movie, poem or of course your On Hold messages.

kymTo help explain pacing more clearly we can look to Hollywood superstar (and my own, personal hero) Nicolas Cage. Consider this reviewer’s comment: “Nic Cage’s performance is so predictably loony it’s no longer amusing.”

Cut that performance down to its individual, maniacally charged scenes and they can be very entertaining, unpredictable and humorous. But stretch that same performance out over the duration of a film and it’s a very different story.

Cage has one gear: pedal-to-the-metal bonkers. Insane he might be, but over the course of 90 minutes you will start to predict what’s coming, get bored and tune out. And that dear reader is the worst that can happen On Hold. When the listener is able to predict what will happen next, they too will grow bored and tune out.

To prevent the same thing happening on the phone with your business we recommend using at least two voices (a male and female in most cases) across the entire production. Sometimes we’ll use multiple talents in the same message to break up a longer chunk of information. This keeps the caller engaged. Why? If callers are listening to more than one voice On Hold it’s harder for them to get accustomed to the recording, and this keeps their attention. It counters monotony.

Another approach is to vary the length of messages across the production. If a caller can predict where a message will start and end, it’s easier to tune out. But by varying the word count of each individual message you keep listeners on their toes.

Sometimes it pays to vary the structure of some messages by scripting mini-scenarios that demonstrate a product, rather than just tell a caller about it. Encouraging callers to imagine how the product works in action, as opposed to reciting a list of features, helps them paint a picture in their mind’s eye.

These pacing techniques keep callers guessing, making for a vibrant, varied production.  Most importantly, such a production will keep prospects on the line for longer while communicating aspects of your business to them in an engaging way.

– Magnus

Gone in 60 Seconds

kymAccording to telecommunications corporation AT & T, over 70% of business calls are placed On Hold for an average of 45 to 60 seconds each. 60% of callers hang up, and

30% of those never call back. Think about that first figure for a second, excuse the pun… what do you think you could do within a minute? 

You could fire off a few quick emails, send an SMS, have a snack and pour yourself a drink, maybe with a few seconds to spare. According to a popular Nicolas Cage film, you can even steal a fleet of cars, although the legal backlash probably doesn’t warrant experimenting with this. The point is: with a little thought, one minute can be more productive than you think.

A lot of companies will welcome you to their On Hold with something along the lines of “Thank you for calling ACME Company. We appreciate your call and thank you for holding.” Now I’m no call analyst, but I reckon the callers who hang up and never call back don’t get far beyond “Thank you for hol… *click*”

At Messages On Hold, we love nothing more than injecting a dose of personality into every single message we write. From a full four-minute production down to a menu prompt that’s only a few seconds long, any message can be made into something informative and creative that encourages callers to stay on the line instead of repulsing them. Next time you have us come up with a script, why not go in with an open mind and see how we make the most of every single second your callers are on that phone line?

See what we can do in just 30 seconds here.

– Magnus