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What can you do in 30 seconds?

Posted by Olivia Howlett - Head of Audio Branding at PH Media Group on

Stick the kettle on. Make some toast. Get nearly halfway round Silverstone in a Formula One car (if your name’s Michael). From the conventional to the unconventional, you can do a lot in 30 seconds. But what if we told you 30 seconds was long enough to build your brand – and see a genuine return on investment?

A PH Media Group survey of 4,000 UK businesses has revealed that the average on hold time is 33 seconds. For organisations of all sizes, that’s 33 seconds of genuine opportunity. Here’s some advice and useful tips on how you can do even more with that time.

Imagine a conversation in which nobody speaks for 30 seconds. Well, it’s not a conversation at all. It’s just plain awkward. That’s the kind of experience a caller might have with an organisation playing silence on hold. Now imagine 30 seconds of music, blended with short but sharply informative messages that give your callers something to think about, and benefit from.

You won’t need to know that this is the basic tenet of On-Hold Marketing. By understanding that you can communicate with your callers, even when you’re not necessarily talking to them directly, you can build confidence in your service. You can build awareness of your products and services. And you can build your name. Add special offers and cross-selling opportunities into the mix, and that 33 seconds of on-hold time has been transformed into a platform for relevant, targeted advertising. Now it sounds like you’ve thought of everything.

One of our major clients in the dental industry found an inspiring way to generate extra revenue with On-Hold Marketing. Wanting more dental hygienists to buy their products over the phone, their team decided to look closely at the profile of their callers. Typical callers were found to be 20 to 25-year-old women, which led to an offer designed specifically for that demographic. For every purchase over £1,000, the On-Hold Marketing said, the caller would receive a free pair of GHDs.

With the offer in place, our client saw its average order value increase by an impressive 20%. It’s the perfect example of understanding your callers, and using that 30 seconds of hold time to deliver something of real value. Like that slice of toast you made in 30 seconds this morning: simple… but satisfying.

How does your organisation stack up? Here are the average hold times for five key industries:

  • Sign makers kept callers on hold for 72 seconds
  • Handling and access equipment firms kept callers on hold for 54 seconds
  • Organisations in the legal services industry kept callers on hold for 42 seconds
  • Car and van dealerships kept their callers on hold for 38 seconds
  • Financial service providers kept callers on hold for 36 seconds



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