You Don’t Want “Something On Hold”

 

This is for all the businesses and practice managers that feel like they need “something on hold”…that is, they’re not sure what to do about callers who are On Hold.  They realize that leaving callers on hold to silence or beeps is probably not the best, but which of all the options is the right one?

Begin with the reasonable expectations.

When a mission is assigned to get “something on hold”, the result  is likely to be under-appreciated and proportionate to the effort that went into it.  The person who is On Hold is important, as an existing or potential customer or patient, and whatever “something” ends up being, it’s likely to be less than engaging and will likely diminish their opinion of your image, reputation, and service level.

The big miss in all this is that expectations are so low for what could be gained from a properly planned On Hold experience.  For starters, a proper On Hold program engages the caller’s attention so they focus less on their wait time…fewer callers hang up.  Businesses can use On Hold moments to assure callers that they’ll be helped, while delivering soft-marketing messages that complement concurrent marketing on TV, radio, print, web sites, and social media.

“Something on hold” is a lose-lose proposition.

Are medical and dental practices immune to competition?  Not according to the diverse advertising we witness on TV, radio, print, web sites, and social media.  Is the patient experience important?  They tell us it is…and being On Hold is part of the patient experience.  When the practice manager applies the same expectation of results (and effort) to On Hold as is expected of other marketing and patient experiences, the result is better informed and more patient patients.

That’s right; On Hold messaging can create an engaging patient experience while educating the patient about the practice, encouraging use of the patient portal, or health tips.  To put it another way, proper On Hold messaging distracts callers from the fact that they’re not receiving service….with messages about the things you provide that enhance their lives.

“I simply didn’t know” = low expectations & low results

The benefits of on hold messaging are different for every kind of business or practice.  Generally, businesses will increase the time a customer is willing to hold (important because callers can hang-up and call a competitor), feature new products and services, enhance their branding, or increase enrollment in seminars or incentive programs.

Practices benefit from a better hold experience because patients must often stay on the line to make an appointment or speak to a nurse.  Being captive, their frustration can build if they aren’t engaged with content and distracted from the wait time.  Practices also benefit by sharing news about new screenings or health prevention measures that patients can request.  Practices often share their community involvement and new features and resources on their web site.

Benefits, goals and results take shape.

What is the right On Hold experience for you to deliver?  That depends on  myriad factors that can be evaluated in a short conversation with someone  who is experienced…and willing to learn about your listening audience, typical hold duration, the frequency of repeat calls, and opportunities to make changes in the content of the messaging.

Content that makes you uniquely competitive in your market builds your reputation and branding.  Other elements such as the right genre of properly licensed music and broadcast quality voice talent further enhances your professional image.

“Something On Hold” may be low cost….but is it?…  If the consequence of a mediocre “Something On Hold” is a poor customer or patient experience, then the answer is a resounding “NO.”

Dan Bryant

About Dan

I’m one of five seasoned professionals here at On Hold Marketing where we all have over 10 years’ experience. On Hold Marketing services are custom produced to produce the benefits and results required by each individual customer.