One of the primary reasons for a small business to require an actual “telephone system” is the need to handle multiple incoming lines. How does a single receptionist handle multiple incoming calls at the same time? He/She places some of the calls on Hold or Park. This is essentially a location for that phone call to reside which frees up the receptionist’s phone to handle the next call. Music on hold was discovered by Alfred Levy, an inventor, factory owner, and entrepreneur. In 1962, Levy discovered a problem with the phone lines at his factory. He discovered that a loose wire was touching a metal girder on the building. This made the building a giant receiver so that the audio broadcast signal from a radio station next door would transmit through the loose wire and could be heard when calls were put on hold.[Levy patented his work in 1966. While other advancements have come to change and enhance the technology, it was this initial patent creation that began the evolution for today’s Music On Hold. Most MOH systems are integrated into a telephone system designed for businesses via an audio jack “audio jack”) on the telephone equipment labeled “MOH”. There are also some units with built-in message on hold capabilities.
MOH can be a great tool for your business but it has to be setup and deployed correctly. How many times have you been placed on hold and were forced to listen to some annoying ad over and over again? Or maybe you were placed into a blaring or inappropriate radio station? Or my personal favourite … an off-tune station.
Lets face it we are all in business to sell a good or a service and if you have a prospective customer calling in and you can’t get to him right away .. what better opportunity to provide information on all of your goods and services! You essentially have a forced audience so why not use the time to promote yourself? How many opportunities do you have in business to tell a prospective customer about yourself where they are “forced” to listen?
Call your own business, listen to your hold music for a minute or two, and see if that doesn’t have you reaching for your blood pressure medication. For many business owners and managers, it’s obvious that the wrong style of music, illegal radio, or dead silence is irritating to callers, but others can’t seem to figure out why they even need a custom on hold message in the first place. Have you ever been put on hold and on the other end is silence? You may think for a moment that the person hung up on you. After you realize that you’re still on hold, you may wonder if they’re ever coming back to your call. After another few seconds, you’re probably considering hanging up. And by the time the person returns to the phone, it seems like an eternity has passed even if it’s been just one minute. Do you want your customers to have those negative thoughts about the customer service at your business?
You may not feel like trying to figure out a message to send to your callers. You may not think there is much value for the hassle. I am not saying that it is mandatory to have a custom script playing in every business out there. There are businesses that, for a variety of reasons, something simple is more than adequate. What I am saying is PLAY SOMETHING!. Tune a radio to a classical music station, use one of the built-in MOH options that many telephone systems provide, download an audio file that is appropriate. Do something, anything but play “Dead Air”! It has been shown consistently that callers will remain holding on the line much, much longer if they are, for lack of a better term, being entertained. Not only will the caller remain holding on the line longer but they will also be less agravated upon your return to the call.
Music on Hold (MOH) can be looked at as a small piece of the customer experience you are trying to create but don’t disregard it as insignificant. Of course the best service scenario is to never put a caller on hold but assuming you will have to on occasion why not make maximum use of the opportunity? Your onsite or hosted Telephone System certainly has the capability to provide this feature.