5 Steps to a Professional Message on Hold Script

Posted by Tristan Barnum on Sep 17, 2013

What’s the easiest way to get your phone system to sound more professional? Start with some professional audio recordings! A Message On Hold program is a great place to start, since it’s heard by most people who call your businesses. The benefits are numerous. Professional on hold programming can:message on hold

  • Offer options for self-service, freeing up representatives
  • Help your marketing and sales objectives
  • Enhance your Image
  • Keep Callers Entertained and waiting patiently

Implementing Message On Hold on your phone system starts with a script, and it’s not that hard to put one together yourself. The better your script writing, the more professional your on hold communication will sound. Here’s how to approach your script:

1. Plan

Any time you sit down to write, the first step isn’t writing, it’s planning. How can you know what to write if you don’t know what you need to say? When planning your Message On Hold program, here are two frequently-asked planning questions:

How long should my program be?

The length of your on hold content should be determined primarily by one question: How long does your average caller wait on hold? A secondary concern might be, “How often do your customers and prospects call us?”

As a general rule, it’s a good idea to have more programming than your average hold time. The objective is to avoid repetitive messaging. If your callers hold for an average of 1 – 2 minutes, a 3 – 4 minute program is ideal. For each minute of on hold programming, you can estimate about 100 words of written (ultimately, spoken) content.

What Topics Will You Discuss?

The easiest way to figure out what to say on hold is to ask your marketing, sales, and customer support teams what they think callers need to know. Marketing and sales will likely want to include current promotions or offers, which is appropriate in small doses – you don’t want your Message On Hold to be a sales pitch! Your Customer Support team is a great resource for helpful content. They’re on the front lines of customer interaction. Some best bets for script topics are:

  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Information about the help or support section of your website
  • Current offers or promotions
  • Information about your web presence, including your blog and social media accounts


2. Write

With your planning complete, it’s time to write. You may want to start with an outline or a draft. Organize that main topics you want to discuss, then fill in the details. Shorter paragraphs work best. Although you’re writing this script on paper, it is a script, which means it will be read out loud and listened to by your callers. If your paragraphs get too lengthy, they’ll get bored, confused, or tune out your messaging.

3. Review

With your draft finished, review your script. I recommend printing out the script or changing the font on your computer to make the content look “new”. Then, read the script out loud. This will help you find and fix errors grammar and punctuation. It will also help you weed out awkward sentences and repetitive language.

This is also the time to pay attention to the tone of your writing. Does it match your brand? Will your customers want to listen to it? Write for your customers, not for yourself.

4. Share

After you’ve reviewed the script yourself, share it around the office. Ask representatives from marketing, support, and sales to review messages, see that they fit with your brand, service needs, current promotions, and products or services.

Sometimes, when you’ve worked on a project yourself, it’s hard to see the big picture. Getting input from others within your organization can help you see obvious flaws you missed because you were too close to the project. (Don’t worry, it happens to all of us!)

5. Finish

Ahhh… you’re done. Kick back and relax! Actually, before you do that, you need to have your script fulfilled. Find the right voice over talent and music to accompany your content (Keep your customers’ tastes, not your own, in mind). When selecting music, be sure you use a legally licensed option—playing the radio, music you’'ve pulled off of YouTube, or a CD can leave you facing major fines and legal problems. Work with a production company that supplies professional talent and covers music licensing for you.

Getting your phone system to sound great doesn’t mean you need a major overhaul – a simple yet professional Message On Hold program can enhance your image, provide customer service, support marketing objectives, and help your sales team. But before you pick the music and voice over talent, make sure you have a great-sound script – it’s the first step to making a professional impression, even to callers waiting on hold.

Juli Durante is a Marketing and Communications Associate at Holdcom, a production company specializing in audio for phone systems and internet applications, voice over recordings, and video production.

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Tags: Top Tip List, Voice Communication, Communication