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Getting creative on-hold

May 18, 2018

A growing number of companies are opening their eyes and ears to the potential opportunities of hold time – and are finding increasingly creative ways of using it to their advantage. But as we're about to discover, there's nothing more powerful than an audio branding production that uses this time in unexpected and effective ways.

Myer is one of Australia's biggest department store chains – and a company that's made one of the biggest impacts on-hold. As a premium retailer, the customer experience is among their biggest focuses – but one they were neglecting to address when clients phoned in to the business. Back in 2016, Myer's owners realised that more than 40% of their callers were hanging up before being answered – amounting to nearly a quarter of a million dissatisfied customers. It was time to do something about it. Next time people phoned in, instead of waiting in silence, callers were told that every second they were on hold would generate a royalty that Myer would donate directly to The Salvation Army. Just by waiting on the line, callers were making a difference to people and families in need – and Myer's call abandonment rate dropped to just 5%. Not only did callers feel good about themselves for not hanging up, but their impression of the company changed too – making it an extremely valuable endeavour by the department store.

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While Myer's callers were influenced to remain on the line to help those in need, providing customers with a more personal incentive has proven just as effective for companies in recent years. Multinational financial services corporation American Express ran a successful Twitter campaign to engage their customers, offering a range of rewards in exchange for tweets and shares of their purchases. In a similar vein, businesses are exploring the potential for asking customers to complete a survey or review while they wait on-hold – and incentivising them for doing so. A study by ICM found that 60% of callers are sat in front of the computer when they make a call, which means inviting callers to complete an online task can produce instant – and meaningful – results.  

At PHMG, one of the ways we allow our clients to show their creativity on-hold is through their exclusive Brand-Sound-Track™. This custom piece injects real personality into an audio branding production, and our in-house composers have really seized the creative brief by incorporating real-life samples into tracks for many of the businesses who work with us. For a jungle-themed children's activity centre, we incorporated subtle zoo animal noises at the opening of the upbeat track, while for an upmarket yacht seller, we carefully deployed the calming sounds of running water to relax callers into their time on-hold. And when a client from the transportation industry came to us with a brief to balance their modern approach with their rich heritage, we cleverly fulfilled this by mixing the unmistakeable sounds of a horse and cart into an emerging modern arrangement – combining the old and new in a uniquely creative way.

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The aforementioned creative music examples stand out to callers because they're unexpected, but the most important thing is that they engage listeners – as do every one of our Brand-Sound-Tracks™ and audio branding productions. This exclusive piece of music is carefully composed to showcase a brand's identity in a memorable, emotive way – increasing a customer's recognition of the brand with every listen. And when it's combined with our creative copy – detailing a business' key products, events and offers – it not only entertains, but leads to increased sales enquiries too. By filling this untapped time with engaging content like this, a customer's perception of hold time is immediately reduced, and they'll feel instantly more valued that a business is taking steps to connect with them in this important communicative channel.

There are many ways to get creative on-hold – but the most creatively effective will always be an exclusive audio branding production.