Last updated 4th of April 2017
Author Lisa Hartwell
Same Old On Hold
5 Clichés to Avoid in Your On Hold Marketing Message
You call a local business and find yourself put on hold. While you’re listening to their marketing message the voiceover uses a phrase that immediately raises your hackles; maybe because it seems patronising to you or perhaps you’ve heard it too many times on every other business on hold message you’ve listened to.
In our office, we often discuss the on hold phrases that annoy us the most, either because they are overused or because they are too clichéd. Interestingly, they're all phrases we have written in our own scripts in the past and, no doubt, will use again, either at the instigation of a client or because it actually works for a specific script.
Here are the 5 phrases that we decided were the most annoying:
“We know you are waiting…”
This is one of those obvious statements that should be unnecessary - of course you know they’re waiting, otherwise your phone system isn’t working properly. This will prompt the caller to wonder: “Well, why aren’t you answering then?”
“Your call is important to us”
This one evokes a similar response to the previous statement: “If my call is so important to you then why aren’t you answering it?” You may think this phrase makes your callers seem valued but, in most cases, it highlights the fact that you do not value the caller enough to answer immediately.
“One-stop-shop/Family-run business/[Lists of things you do…] and much much more…”
None of these statements is necessarily a bad thing; in fact, as mentioned in the introduction, we’ve utilised them ourselves. The problem is that they are totally overused and have become annoying clichés. So, if you’re considering including one of these phrases think carefully about whether it’s a strong selling-point for your business or simply a throwaway line for the sake of something to say. Is there another way you could say “one stop shop”? Will the caller respond to a long list or would it be better to take each aspect of the business as a separate feature? And do you really do “much much more” or have you run out of things to include?
"A member of our friendly, experienced team will answer your call shortly"
The caller expects to speak to somebody friendly and experienced, as opposed to rude and unable to answer their queries. Stating the obvious can have the opposite effect to the one you were hoping for.
"Please continue to hold, or why not visit our website at…...to find all the answers you need?"
Including your website and other vital business information in your on hold message is important. The problem comes when it’s made to sound as if you really wish the caller would hang up and go to your website instead. Perhaps that’s exactly what you’d like, but is that the impression you want to give? Word references like this carefully so that it’s clear you’re offering useful information not attempting to force them off the phone.
Do You Agree?
Do you agree with our choices? What phrases annoy you most when you’re on hold? Would you add something else to the list? Feel free to message us on Twitter or Facebook and let us know. As mentioned, none of these phrases is completely taboo although we’d probably try to talk you out of using them and help you find a different way to convey the same meaning.
Visit our On Hold Messaging page to find out more about how we can help you with your On Hold Marketing (minus the clichés).