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3 Things That Should Never Be In An On Hold Voice Over

An on-hold voice over helps to establish a tone and set an impression of your business. That’s why professional-sounding voice overs can help a customer’s perception and actually improve their overall experience when dealing with you.

With that in mind, here are 3 things you should include and 3 things to avoid in your on-hold voice over message.


  1. Really long message bites 

You don't want the caller to hear your company’s entire history in an on-hold voice over. Keep the message interesting and focused on what you can do for them. Just like with all marketing - it’s not about you - it’s about your customer. Also, long messages can seem more like white noise to the caller. Keep the voice over bites short (about 20 seconds each) so they are digestible and memorable.

  1.  Your phone number

Your caller is on the phone already. Giving them a ‘number to call’ just doesn't make sense, and can make you seem inauthentic.

  1.  Off-brand music 

If you're a professional services business, cheesy elevator music will likely not be the best brand fit. Music is powerful and it can communicate a great deal about your business, so that’s why using the right music is important - even for an on-hold message.

Here are some tips to remember when choosing music for your on-hold voice over.

  1. Stay away from dated music tracks, as this could make your business sound tired and irrelevant.

  2. Don’t choose music that’s a repetitive loop, as it’s a great way to frustrate the caller and make them feel as if they’ve been on hold for a longer period of time.

  3. Use music that has some ‘lift’ or a ‘hook’ to help hold their interest.
    Just like your favourite song, a good piece of instrumental on-hold music should generally follow the format of a verse, a pre-chorus, and a chorus (or hook).



  1. Information about how you can help the customer 

Callers who are on hold expect that their questions and queries will be answered by your business. People also want to know why they should care/what's in it for them.

On-hold voice overs are a good opportunity to promote your business, products, and services, but you should always do this through the lens of what value you’re providing the customer. What you do should always be followed up by a ‘so’ - with what’s in it for them.

For example, “At ABC Mechanical, our workshop is open till 6pm every day - so you can drop in after work and pick up your car once we’ve got it back on the road.’

Another way to keep your callers engaged when they’re on hold is to provide tips and content that will catch their interest. This can also increase loyalty and satisfaction.

As I’ve said earlier, make sure that your hold message contains bite-sized pieces of information that the caller can retain and explains to them how you’ll solve their problem.

A well-written on-hold voice over shouldn’t just focus on your latest promotional content. Your goal is to make your caller's experience better and provide information that shows how you’ll make their life easier.

  1. A general wait time estimate

The key to dealing with customers is setting clear expectations and meeting (or beating) them. When it comes to on-hold voice overs, this means letting your callers know how long their usual waiting time might be.

You don't need a complex IVR system installed to do this. The voice could simply say ‘we’ll be back to you in a couple of minutes - because we understand how frustrating long wait times can be.’ Also, be sure to mention the efforts that you or your employees are making to speed up the process and attend to their call.

  1. Other ways to contact you

At the end of each voiceover, telling the caller other ways to contact you is important because it means that you have multiple ways to engage with them - not just through a phone call. This can also be handy if they have additional questions that they have not raised during the call. It shows that you have excellent customer service and your clients will surely appreciate that.

On-hold messages can often be overlooked as they might not seem overly exciting or an important part of your marketing plan. However, because your callers are a captive audience when they’re waiting on the phone, on-hold voice overs should be seen as a very important part of your communication.

Abe Udy

Abe is the founder of Abe's Audio and started the business in 1998 from his bedroom with an old computer, fax machine, dial-up internet, and a microphone in his wardrobe. Today, he leads a team that provides audio production and voice overs to media, agency, eLearning, video & creative clients around Australia and beyond.

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