From conference calls to customer support lines, it’s estimated that the average consumer will spend 43 days of their life on hold. More than 80 percent of people are put on hold every time they contact a business. And silence is painful: if the caller is listening to dead air, they are much more likely to hang up.
Being on hold–or putting your customers on hold–isn’t ideal, but it is often unavoidable. So rather than subject your customers to silence, you’ll want to set up a recording to make the most of that time on hold.
Along with giving your caller something to listen to, hold music and messaging can:
- Increase customer retention on the call
- Create a sales opportunity by promoting additional services and offers
- Make a good first impression and show your business’s unique character
- Free up agents’ time by offering basic information, like business hours, in a recording
Where to find hold music
You know you need something for callers on hold, but how do you source hold music? Today, there are several online sources you can use that make it easy to browse, license, and download audio files for hold music. Here are a few:
- Spectrio | Listen to fully licensed music samples as well as voice samples for a friendly and professional on hold message.
- Melody Loop | All of the music on Melody Loop can be licensed for on hold usage, but they have a set of tunes ideal for this very case.
- Mood Media | Looking for an easy way to add custom voice messages to your hold music? Check out Mood Media for a combination of music and messaging.
If you have a musical talent on your team, they might even be inspired to write and record a custom song for your business like Alex Cornell of UberConference. You may not know Alex Cornell by name, but if you’ve been on a conference call in the past year or two, it’s more than likely you’ve listened to his song. Creating your own hold messaging ensures it will be unique and 100% yours.
When sourcing hold music, you also need to be aware of copyright laws. Purchasing a music CD or an mp3 song file for standard listening doesn’t give you the right to use it as music on hold. ASCAP is one of the regulators of these types of licenses, and more information can be found on their website here.
Make sure to check your phone system for any file requirements. The most common file format accepted is WAV. If you need to convert an audio file, you can use services like G711 or Audacity.
How to choose the best hold music for your business
For telephone hold music, simple is best. This is largely because traditional telephone systems don’t support the wide audio range that people are accustomed to hearing when listening to music. On a less technical note, simple instrumental tunes are less likely to annoy or offend listeners as, say, a pop song. But all of this can depend on your business and your unique brand.
One prime example is Opus No. 1, which according to a This American Life podcast (number 516) is on “65 million Cisco phone sets worldwide as the default hold music.” As a matter of fact, I was just on hold today and heard this very song!
You can also think seasonally about your song choice. For the holiday season, why not plug in a festive (yet subtle) tune like Christmas By The Fire by Geoff Harvey? Whatever you choose, make sure to think about your callers first and what they would want to hear.
How to set up your hold music
The process for setting up your hold music will depend on your phone system. Once you’ve chosen your song, make sure to check your phone system’s file format requirements.
In CallTrackingMetrics, you can fully customize the music or message that’s played when a caller is put on hold. To listen to or change your hold music, simply visit your account settings. Navigate to the section labeled “Hold Settings,” where you can upload or record a hold message, set max hold time, and adjust ring back options. Accepted file formats include MP3, WAV, AIFF, GSM, and μ-law.
With CallTrackingMetrics, you can also set up IVR (Interactive Voice Response) menus. These menus let you automate interactions with callers before connecting them with an agent. While you’re at it, you can set specific waiting music or messaging based on a caller’s keypress to level up your music on hold strategy.
Get the most out of time spent on hold
It’s no doubt that hold music or messaging should be included in your call systems. Just a few clicks can reduce your hang up rate, and increase your customers’ happiness! Now that you know how to find, license, and set up your hold music, the hardest part is just choosing your favorite song.