Automated phone systems and voice mail greetings can help a busy business better manage their inbound calls. With a well-organized IVR system and professionally recorded voice prompts, a caller should be able to find the person or information they called for quickly. When done well, an automated telephone system can be beneficial to a business. When done poorly, it can frustrate and annoy customers.
In our experience as a recording studio, most businesses we encounter are not entirely sure what customers hear when they move through the automated phone system or when put on hold. If you’re not sure, you should check it out. You only get one shot at making a good first impression.
One of the easiest ways you can test your phone system is to call your own business and navigate through the menu greetings yourself. For your on hold message, call in and ask to be put on hold. Then listen carefully.
Are there too many menu options? Does the person speak too quickly? If you forgot what items 1, 2, and 3 were by the time you’re at the end of the list, you need fewer options on that menu.
How long are you on the system before you get to speak to a human being? The quickest route to human interaction is less annoying to callers and should be your main priority. If you can provide an option to talk to an operator on every menu level, callers will be less annoyed.
Are you sent to a voicemail? Did you know that most callers who end up at a voice mail don’t leave a message? It’s true that we can’t pick up the phone 100% of the time, and callers get that. Just make sure that they aren’t being sent to leave a message as a default. Consider offering an alternate point of contact like an email address.
What is the experience of waiting on hold like? Is it the same terrible music loop every 20 seconds? Are you left in silence? Are you listening to a local radio station? If you don’t like what’s happening when you are put on hold, chances are your customers won’t either.
Is the information on the message on hold or voice greetings accurate and up to date? In many cases, a system’s messaging can go years before they are changed. You could have experienced staff changes, extension changes, and other changes that would lead a caller no-where and never-calling-back.
If you found some issues with your telephone system prompts or messages on hold, we can help you fix it. First, you can learn how to keep your automated telephone system organized. If you need professionally written, voiced, and produced messaging for your phone system or message on hold, we provide that service. We work with these systems every day and can give our professional insight on creating the most professional, effective, and pleasant messaging for your customers.
The origin of the phrase 'to put someone on hold' was Alexander Graham Bell handing over his telephone instrument to his partner Mr. Watson and saying, "here, hold this".