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How to Implement Messages on Hold for your Business.

14 June 2024


Keeping your customers engaged and informed while they wait on hold is more crucial than ever. Implementing messages on hold can transform a mundane experience into a unique opportunity resulting in multiple positives.  You will enhance customer satisfaction, promote your services, and reinforce your brand image. Check out our comprehensive guide to help you implement your own custom on-hold message and in-queue message simply and effectively,

Step 1: Choosing the Right Message on Hold Supplier

The first step in implementing messages on hold is selecting some assistance from the experts. Look for an audio company with a proven track record and positive client testimonials. The right company will offer skilled professional voiceover artists, who will be equipped  with state of the art tools and customised scripts to align with your branding. It is also essential to choose a provider that understands your industry and can tailor messages to meet your specific needs. For instance, an audio company who works with medical practices will know how to create content that reassures and informs patients of the services provided while maintaining a caring tone, eg: they may ask you to include medical emergency disclaimers (“…hang up and dial Triple 0”) or even a privacy statement IVR (“…calls are recorded for training and verification purposes”).  Here are just a few samples of industry aligned content.

Step 2: Equipment and Technology Requirements

Once you’ve chosen a suitable provider, it’s now time to focus on the equipment and technology required to get your branded audio on your phone system software. Modern phone systems often come with built-in capabilities for messages on hold, but older systems might need additional hardware or software. A phone technician will advise you on the necessary equipment you need, such as digital playback devices or VoIP systems (internet-based streaming solutions). Ensure that your setup supports high-quality audio playback to avoid distorted or unclear messages, which can frustrate customers rather than a positive user experience. Below are some of the most common file formats we work with, but are not limited to:

  • 128 Kbps MP3
  • 44.1 kHz, 16 Bit PCM .wav (also known as standard wav)
  • 16 kHz, 16 Bit PCM .wav
  • 8 kHz, 16 Bit PCM .wav
  • 8 kHz, 8 Bit PCM .wav
  • 8 kHz, 8 Bit CCIT u-Law .wav
  • 8 kHz, 8 Bit CCIT a-Law .wav

Step 3: Creating Engaging Content

Creating engaging script content is at the heart of an effective messages on hold system. A survey by Invoca found that 5% of consumers hang up immediately when placed on hold, 28% after 5 minutes or less, 26% give up after 6-10 minutes, and only 6% are willing to hold for 30 minutes or longer​ (Invoca). In order to create effective scripts you need to pinpoint the key messages you want to communicate. As an example, use information about your services, answer frequently asked questions, market special promotions, or updates about your business. Use a professional scriptwriter if possible – they can craft messages that are concise, clear, and engaging. Remember to update your content regularly to keep it fresh and interesting for repeat callers. This is where a message on hold service plan may benefit as you have the flexibility to update according to your marketing calendar or make any last minute changes without additional ad-hoc rates which prove to be costly.

Step 4: Integrating with Existing Phone Systems

Integration is a crucial step that can make or break the effectiveness of your messages on hold. It’s important to work closely with your phone system vendor and the company supplying your production to ensure seamless integration. This might involve configuring the phone system settings, uploading audio files, or setting up a streaming service. Pay attention to details like volume levels and audio quality. Testing is essential – make sure to listen to the messages as your customers would, to identify and rectify any issues before going live. Ask your audio supplier if they conduct regular quality checks for their clients to ensure the CX experience is always spot on, seamless, and engaging.

Step 5: Troubleshooting and Maintenance

Even the best systems can encounter issues, so it’s vital to have a troubleshooting and maintenance plan in place. Regularly check that your messages on hold are playing correctly and at an appropriate volume. If you encounter problems, your provider should offer support and troubleshooting assistance. Common issues include audio files not playing, poor sound quality, or the most recent messages not updating correctly. Regular maintenance, such as updating software and hardware checks, will help keep your system running smoothly. A supplier who conducts regular quality checks would be ideal so it’s one less thing for you to worry about.

Step 6: Employee Training and Best Practices

Finally, ensure your employees are trained on best practices for your message on hold. They should know how to update and manage the system, troubleshoot basic issues, and understand the importance of relevant and up-to-date key messages, will always enhance your customer’s experience. Encourage your staff to provide feedback on the messages – they are often in the best position to understand customer reactions and suggest improvements if needed.


A professional message on hold is a powerful tool to promote your services, and maintain a professional image. By choosing the right provider, they will always make sure you are set up with the correct equipment to integrate smoothly with your phone system; they will create unique content to give you peace of min.  Turn the User Experience into a valuable part of your customer interaction strategy.

Remember, the goal is to keep your customers engaged and informed while they wait, turning an often-frustrating experience into a positive and productive one. With the right approach, messages on hold can become a key component of your communications strategy, helping to build stronger relationships and increase customer satisfaction.

The good news is, McGirvanmedia is the largest message on Hold, music on hold, and IVR voice telephony supplier on Australia’s East Coast.  Our expert team of Voice artists are real people, who will represent your brand both professionally and authentically.  We provide assistance every step of the way – from content writing to quality checking so you can be rest assured you’re in good hands when we work together. Have a listen to some of our amazing professional voices via our audio library. If you’re ready to get started, just email us at enquiries@mcgirvanmedia.com.au or call 1800 777 428 to speak to one of our audio experts.

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