Dos & Dont’s of Contact Centre on Hold Music & Messages

Inbound Customer Services


A significant amount of time, attention, and money is invested in training a contact centre workforce to handle calls appropriately and provide outstanding customer service. From recording calls for quality assurance to implementing employee training programmes, contact centre supervisors understand the importance of constant improvement as they strive to present their business in the best possible light. With all this focus on agent performance, however, another aspect of a customers’ contact centre experience falls by the wayside: the music or messages they hear while on hold. 


What the customer hears while waiting can have a meaningful impact on their perception of the overall call experience. Contact centres should strive to provide the same level of customer is speaking with a representative by taking the following dos and don’ts into consideration. 

Do Prepare Callers While They Wait On Hold 

Time on hold is usually perceived as wasted time. Change that perception by playing a recorded message reminding customers on hold to have their number handy or their payment information readily available. If customers use this time to gather necessary information, they will not only feel the time has not been wasted but will help make the rest of the call a smoother experience. 

Don’t Tell Them You’re Busy

If your recorded message repeatedly states that your agents are busy helping other customers, those on hold will not feel valued. Customers on hold already know why they’re waiting: there’s no need to remind them. Instead, thank them for waiting and remind them that their time and business is greatly valued. 

Do Entertain Customers On Hold

Depending on your customer base, this can mean playing appropriate music or playing entertaining recorded messages. Tailor your messages to your brands’ image, telling relevant stories or even jokes. Try giving a how-to explanation or sharing some helpful tips. The more you capture a customers attention, the less time they will feel they’ve been on hold. 

Don’t Repeat Messages On A Loop

Repeating the same 60 or even 300 second-long message on a loop only emphasises to a customer how long they’ve been waiting and increases their frustration each time it repeats. Aim to have a recording last only four minutes. If a customer has been through the entire rotation and the message begins to repeat, then it’s a signal they’ve been on hold for a while. This could also help improve customer service by training dispatches to not let customers wait too long.  

Do Tailor Music To The Situation

Rather than using the same music for anyone on hold, vary the tunes for each different situation. Slower music with a beat that matches the resting heart rate is perfect for calming upset customers calling to complain while faster music can help spark excitement in a customer waiting on a sales line. Your system will need to be set up so your dispatches can select the appropriate music selection. If you don’t have a system with these capabilities, then choose music that best fits your brand. Surfboard company? Play some beach-inspired tunes. Winery? Opt for music that makes customers feel as if they’re strolling through a vineyard or enjoying a nice glass of champagne outside a Paris Bistro. 

Don’t Leave Customers On Hold In Silence

Worse than annoying music or repeating recordings is simply silence. Customers become uncertain when on hold, wondering if they’ve been forgotten, and silence only reinforces that doubt, making them worry they may have been disconnected. The best you can do for your customer is to play some type of recording, even if it is a melody that alerts them they are still connected. 

Do Answer FAQs In Recorded Messages

If you provide enough helpful information in your on-hold messaging, you may end up answering your customers’ questions before their call is ever answered, thus freeing up their time as well as your contact centre workforces time. It could also help a customer formulate more questions to ask a dispatcher, ensuring that they understand the most about their situation. Now is also a good time to market (“Did you know our… was voted #1 in…” or “At…. we value…”) and reinforce your brand to your client. 

By putting these seven tips into practice in your call centres on-hold recordings, you can make your customers’ perceptions of their wait more positive, which will lead to a better customer experience overall.

BDM Talk is the trusted voice for customer communication. We regularly monitor and evaluate all forms of new customer contact technologies and practices. Ensuring we provide the best service for all of our clients, enabling your business to stay ahead of the competition.


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