On hold music and voice-over needs to be mixed correctly, otherwise it can become needlessly irritating. It never ceases to amaze me that some very large companies get this so wrong.
I have just been on hold for about 20 minutes and as a producer of on-hold packages I am very aware of the issues. My experience today with a very large mobile phone company highlights some do’s and don’ts for companies considering a custom on-hold package.
Consistency – I have just listened to a variety of male and female voices all at different volume levels. I believe the voice-over should be the same person throughout and there is no excuse for the voice to change in volume from message to message. The only exception to this is in advert style sound bites during an on-hold section.
Don’t stop the music – I strongly believe that voice-over during an on-hold section should be mixed with the music. My experience just today played 10 seconds of music, before a voice-over thanked me for continuing to hold. At each stage the music stopped whilst the voice thanked me for holding.
Two things are wrong here.
Firstly, the music should duck, or lower in volume whilst the voice-over is present. Stopping the music lulls the caller into a false sense of security. Every time the music stops you think you are through… then you realise you aren’t!
Secondly, don’t thank the caller every 10 seconds for holding. By all means thank them periodically but it is always best to mix in a variety of voice-over elements to keep the caller attentive. Product related tips or facts, anything other than the same sentence over and over.
The spacing of these messages depends on the music speed and the length of the voice-over section. As a producer of on-hold packages I find it is best to determine the spacing based on how it feels and how it fits with the music bed.
Communicate – The on-hold section can be an ideal communication channel for you, directly to your target market. Tell them about little known services, latest deals, and practical information. Making your on-hold a positive experience requires a little forethought but will make a huge difference to your callers.