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Where on hold meets online

Posted by Olivia Howlett - Head of Audio Branding at PHMG on

The results are in. ICM’s recent omnibus survey of more than 2,000 consumers tells us that 60% of callers are sitting at their computer when they pick up the phone. So while your callers may be on hold, they’re certainly still plugged in. It’s an opportunity to bring more enquiries your way.

Modern business communications come with a set of expectations. Call a business, and it won’t be unreasonable to expect a branded message, auto-attendant service or even a handler’s greeting; a scripted welcome. And just as we have to navigate complete call-routing menus to find the right department, we can also expect to be put on hold.

To explore the stats and figures behind these calls – and even the habits of callers themselves – PH Media Group commissioned ICM Research to conduct an in-depth omnibus survey. It’s a survey that’s given us some invaluable insight, and revealed an interesting relationship between traditional telephone use and the digital world.

Today, more than 70% of people are put on hold during more than half the calls they make. Of these people, 60% are sitting at their computer. This isn’t unusual in itself – 72% of personal calls to businesses are made at home on a landline, and we can imagine that many of these callers will have used their computers to find the relevant number. But consider that the caller is not only connected to you, but connected to the internet, and you have the opportunity to capture imagination and interest, and direct it straight to your front door.

Callers waiting on hold or being transferred are essentially a captive audience – and they want to be entertained. The ICM Research highlights that 73% of callers want to hear something more than beeps and silence. Play targeted messages instead, and you have somebody engaged and listening. Now, you can cross-market services, provide handy information… and drive traffic directly to your business online by promoting your website. Suddenly, your On-Hold Marketing isn’t just a useful customer service tool (though it can certainly be used to show you care) – it’s a lead generator.

Make an offer that can’t be refused, complete with a web URL as a call-to-action, and your callers will take a look – arriving on your landing page while they’re still on the phone. After all, it’s going to beat twiddling their thumbs. You can even measure the effectiveness of a campaign by including a specific, phone-only URL on the message.

It’s a tactic that works. Howarth Timber, one of the UK’s largest timber groups, used On-Hold Marketing to announce and promote its upgraded website to waiting callers. As MD Neale Brewster explains, “We’ve invested a lot of time and resources in a great new website, which we’ve designed to improve our customers’ experience of dealing with us. On-Hold Marketing allows us to promote these services and facilities, no matter how the customer contacts us.”

Keep this in mind while you consider that 68% of surveyed callers say they are put on hold for longer than one minute, and it’s clear you’ve more than enough time to make a meaningful connection – and make your On-Hold Marketing service work in perfect synergy with your website.

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