What is custom music on hold?

Custom music on hold is a service that allows users to upload custom audio files to play for customers while they are on hold. This is opposed to the default music that is played by some phone systems, or no music at all. This feature is a great way to make a caller's wait time more pleasant and presents an opportunity to promote a brand by playing marketing messages.

How long do we all spend on hold each year?

Whilst ideally, no one would want to keep a customer on hold, it is inevitable from time to time during peak service hours. The average UK consumer spends up to 4.5 hours per month on hold. That adds up to a whopping 135 days over a lifetime!

consumer statistics regarding custom hold music and caller satisfaction.

A poll of business owners showed that 39% of them had received complaints about substandard on-hold music. Additionally, 43% reported complaints about silence. Interestingly, callers were just as likely to complain about their time on hold as their time speaking with someone.

According to two studies, when waiting in silence or being forced to bear irritating poor-quality on hold music, callers perceive being kept on hold for much longer. With 83% of businesses reporting the telephone as the most important means of communication, it is important to ensure that time on hold doesn't adversely affect a customer relationship.

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Playing pre-recorded messages to customers while they wait

Integrating your own custom hold music into your phone system doesn't just allow you to play music more fitting to your brand, it also allows you to insert pre-recorded messages to those in the calling queue. This might be news and information about your business or details on special offers, promotions, or new services.

Benefits of custom music on hold

There are many benefits to using custom music and its features for your business, below are just a few.

  • Make the caller's wait time more pleasant - If the default music that is played by the phone system is not particularly pleasant, or if it is repetitive, more fitting custom music can be used to make the wait time more bearable for the caller.
  • Broadcast information - Inserting marketing messages can be a great way to promote the business to callers in the queue. The marketing messages can be about products, services, or special promotions.
  • Use audio branding to increase recall - Having music aligned with a brand identity makes it 96% more likely to be remembered according to a Leicester University study.  Only 20% of businesses use custom hold music exclusively composed for their brand meaning that it's a great way to get an edge in your industry.
  • Personalise the caller's experience - multiple custom hold music files can be uploaded and played based on a caller's selection. This can make time on hold feel more personal and increase a caller's satisfaction.

A happy caller enjoying custom music on hold.

Use cases of custom hold music

There is a variety of beneficial ways in which custom music on hold can be used. Below are a few use cases which might give you some ideas for a suitable configuration for your business.

1. Increase caller satisfaction

Keeping a waiting customer in a caller queue can be a delicate matter. Just the addition of a short message can help to keep the experience positive. For example, "we are sorry to keep you waiting, your call is very important to us, we are experiencing an unusually high volume of calls and ask that you please be patient".

2. Make announcements about procedures before answering a call

For example, a doctor's surgery could announce that all patients are advised to attend their appointments no earlier than 10 minutes before the scheduled time. When the incoming call is answered, they have already been informed saving valuable time for the receptionist.

3. Tailor marketing messages based on selection

When a caller makes a selection, they are providing information which can be used to play a more targeted message. For example, if a caller presses 'one' for 'Service A', their selection can assign a message informing them of related promotions and add-ons, or raise awareness of 'Service B'.

A chart detailing some of the use cases of custom music on hold.

Professionally recorded messages

T2k offer a simple three-step message recording service using professional voice artists and licensed music. If you would like to have an expert team provide you with a recording created just for you and perfectly optimised for VoIP, please contact us.

Tips for using custom hold music

If you are ready to start using custom hold music and its features for your business phone system, here are some tips to help make your recording as appealing as possible.

1. Keep marketing messages friendly and concise

A short message can sometimes give more information than a long one. Overburdening callers with too much information might make them zone out and retain nothing.

2. Avoid selecting custom hold music with a high dynamic range

Try and avoid custom hold music that has a high dynamic range. This prevents sudden loud distortions or particularly quiet parts from being cut out by noise cancellation.

3. Listen to your recordings in situ

It's important to test different volume levels on the audio file and listen to the recording as it will be heard by the end-user. Keep going back and re-listening as it might take some tweaking before you get the configuration right.

4. Play steady inoffensive music with a wide appeal

Try and play music that has a universal appeal such as pop or classical, and avoid more niche genres like metal or hiphop. When choosing a song, ensure that it doesn't have shrill or high-pitch vocals and be sure to check the lyrics to avoid offensive or inappropriate words.

5. Consider providing users a way to opt-out

If callers are frequently expected to be on hold for a lengthy period of time, it may be worth giving them the option to turn off the custom hold music. This can prevent frustration and make the caller feel like they are in control.

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Frequently Asked Questions