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Selecting Music And Voice For Your Messages On Hold

10 February 2017


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It’s like having your own in-house radio station ON HOLD, where the only commercials playing are yours.

Why every second counts

You control all the content that your clients and potential clients hear while they are on hold.

And before you say: “Well if they’re important clients, they shouldn’t be kept on hold at all”, it’s a simple fact of business life that seven out of every ten callers ARE placed on hold, for an average of 38 seconds.

Your callers will accept being on hold; they are conditioned to it. What they WON’T find acceptable is 38 seconds of total silence in which they are wondering if they’ve been cut off or, worse still, forgotten.

The statistics support this.

According to Infomax Inc., callers stay on the line:

  • Up to 25% longer when provided with on hold messaging or background music
  • Only up to 17% longer than if you plug the radio into your phone [F.Y.I. The latter is highly illegal.

It’s crucial to engage new callers because  as Voice Response, Inc points out, 34% of callers  who  hang  up  will  not  call back.

Of course, it’s important to have quality messages. McGirvanmedia Messages on hold are so good, a lot of client tell us: “Can you put me back on hold?”

Now that you’ve seen how important messages on hold and music on hold truly are, it’s time to concentrate on your own individual messages.

Messages On Hold. Music On Hold. Branding on steroids.

When callers hear a recorded message or listen to music while waiting on hold, it subliminally reflects on your brand.

Not just the message or music itself, but the tone of voice, tempo, volume, style of read all affect brand perception.

For example, if you managed a health care facility, you’d want your recorded message to emanate warmth and professionalism, and be friendly and caring.

Conversely, if you ran a pub or club, what your callers hear would obviously need to be vibrant, exciting and up tempo.

With this in mind, careful consideration needs to be given to both the content of the message AND how it is conveyed.

Of course there is no ‘golden rule’ as to the style of read and tone of voice; it is all very subjective and should naturally be based on how you want your brand portrayed.

Remember, a phone call is often the first contact a client has with your company, so it is critical to establish the tone of your brand right from the very start.

If you need advice on voices, the professional team at McGirvanmedia Messages On Hold will be only too happy to assist.

5 Things to consider about the voice talent you choose for your Messages On Hold

1. Do I opt for a male or female voice, or both?

This  is an important factor.

Obviously, it is dependent on your industry and the products/services you offer. For example, are they ‘blokey’?  Sophisticated? Family-orientated?

The voice you choose should reinforce your brand and how it relates to your industry and your market.

In our experience, we have found that female voices are best for comforting/‘soft sell’ messages, while male voices have that air of authority about them and are better suited to technical and informative messages… such as IVR.

If it is a lengthy message, use a mixed read — male AND female — juxtaposed to keep it more interesting and engaging.

Regardless of whether you select a male or female voice, it’s a good idea to talk to the voice talent about what you are trying to achieve.

If they are as professional as those employed by McGirvanmedia, they are more than just a ‘voice’, they are a voice actor — and can change to add value to your message.

2. Should I choose a younger or older voice?

Once again, it relates to your market and how they perceive your company. Established and conservative like a financial institution? Or modern and progressive like a clothing manufacturer?

A professional voice actor can recreate virtually any style…from caring and friendly to hip and happening. They can even perform special “character” voices.

  1. The crucial thing is to be consistent.

For example, if you have a brand manual or work with an agency, be sure that this info is passed through to the voice talent so they can keep your message consistent.

This is so easily overlooked when changes are made to a Message On Hold for special campaigns or events.

It must be a part of your quality checklist. 

3. What tone or style should I adopt?

One that is 100% consistent with your brand.

For example, if you were in the health care industry, you should employ corporate messages evoking care, understanding and empathy.

Whereas if you had a travel company, the tone would no doubt be exciting and adventurous, yet still knowledgeable.

By their nature, IVR messages should be factual and instructional while messages on hold should, on the whole, be less formal; think of them as engaging marketing messages.

It also stands to reason to match the music to the style.

4. How long should a message on hold be?

The  ideal is around three minutes,  but it varies.

The average read is 100-120 words per minute, but the pace can change to suit the read. An excited enthusiastic read will obviously be quicker than a corporate one.

A well set up Message On Hold will mean that people don’t always start at the same point.

They can drop in on the beginning of any paragraph, therefore a longer message will be more interesting. Furthermore, it will cater for:

  1. People on hold
  2. Regular callers – So they aren’t hearing the SAME THING EVERY TIME.

5. Should my messages be in English, even in my offshore offices?

Although English is widely spoken in most countries, it doesn’t have the same effect as the local tongue.

One of the challenges when opening in an overseas market is to appear to have a LOCAL presence, rather than your company being an Australian outpost.

To increase customer confidence, translations should be totally accurate and in the local idioms.

You’ll be pleased to know that McGirvanmedia Messages On Hold can record and translate in 23 languages, all accent perfect for the region.

Click here to hear the best VOICES in the business.

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