Wait Messages

Avoid These Phrases

On Hold scripts have come a long way since I began writing them over five years ago. Every day we’re finding new ways to promote products and services even more effectively than we have before. The scripts are more creative, compelling and rich. However, with everything we know now about writing for the On Hold medium, I still see companies who insist on inserting ‘nothing phrases’.

A ‘nothing phrase’ is one that does nothing to distract the caller from the fact they’re waiting. It doesn’t help to reduce the perceived wait time and it doesn’t promote any products or services. In fact, it sometimes draws the caller’s attention to the fact that they’re waiting!

Customers Tune Out When They Hear 'Nothing Phrases'.

Customers Tune Out When They Hear ‘Nothing Phrases’.

So what are these phrases and why should you avoid them? Good question – let’s take a look at the worst offenders.

1) Thank you for holding. Being thanked by a recording is impersonal and drawing the caller’s attention to the fact they’re still holding makes the wait time seem much longer than it is.

2) Your call is important to us. Is it really? That’s the first thing the caller will think when they hear this phrase and they’ll immediately get their back up. This is not the frame of mind you want your caller in when your staff pick up the call.

3) We’ve been around for 40 years. Big deal! This is a great milestone for you but to a potential customer it means nothing. They’re focused on themselves and want to know how you’re going to help them.

4) Our friendly team delivers attentive customer service. This phrase is bad in two ways. ‘Friendly’ staff and ‘customer service’ should be a given – if not, you’re in the wrong industry.

5) A range of products to satisfy your needs & requirements. These are just plain lazy. Be specific about what need or requirement you are ‘satisfying’ and use your wait time wisely.

6) Call us. This one is self explanatory – they’ve just picked up the phone and dialed your number. It’s thoughtless and the subtext is you don’t care.

7) We appreciate your patience. Similar to number 1, this phrase is impersonal and does nothing to sell your products or take the caller’s mind off the fact they’re holding.

8) Visit our website 24 hours a day, seven days a week. It’s 2013 – people know how the internet works. Instead, give callers a reason to visit your website. What’s in it for them?

So there you have it, the top offenders of on hold messages. At Messages On Hold, these banned phrases are ingrained in every copywriter to ensure we use every second of an on hold production wisely. If you have an on hold message service, have a listen to your production: do you hear these phrases? If so, get rid of them! If you’re thinking about getting on hold messages installed on your phone system (and you should be!), avoid these phrases at all costs. Alternatively, give Messages On Hold a call!

– Lachy

Content Is King

With the sweeping success of iPads and the mind-boggling reach of the internet, the publishing world has heard the same thing over and over again; print media’s days are numbered. Glossy magazines are experiencing dwindling sales and many have folded.

Editors around the world have come to the humble magazine’s defence and have said things like “you can’t read an iPad in the bath” and “you can’t get that tactile feel and pictures aren’t the same on a screen.” But you can’t just sit back and hope that Apple doesn’t release a water-proof iPad and that digital displays won’t improve. So what’s the answer?

Many publishers have taken the ‘if you can’t beat them, join them’ approach; jumping on the digital bandwagon and really expanding their impressive brand’s online presence.  What these big names have is just that; big names. Many have profited from their branding and expanded their reach to online mediums. Others, and I’d hate to name and shame, have not been as successful. They have diluted their brand through gimmicky online mediums and tacky Facebook pages.Conent-is-king

The most important point to take from this transition from printing press to pixels is that ‘content is king’. This sentiment has been echoed in many a magazine office. In her recent biography Former Vogue Australia Editor Kirstie Clements finished on a message of prevailing integrity, “The mediums have changed and will change again, but honest, intelligent content is still key.”

While the our Copywriters love a good sound effect and character voice as much as the next guy, we know that as soon as you say something like “just give us a call for more information” on the end of an on hold message you’ve lost your credibility. Ultimately if you have a potential customer who is waiting On Hold for you to return, getting them to give you a call doesn’t make sense and no amount of sound effects or music is going to disguise that fact.

No matter how great your website looks, or how interactive your new app is, content will always be important. So if you have a typo on your homepage or a cliché in your On Hold production, don’t shrug it off. Take this opportunity to breathe new life into your content. And if you don’t know where to start, talented and modest copywriters will be happy to show you ways to deliver your business’ message to your callers in pithy 50 to 60 word bursts.

– Emily