On Hold Messages Made Easy

How to write an On Hold Message – Accountants

FinanceHow to write an On Hold Message – Accountants

If the accountants I’ve been to are anything to go by – the finance field is a busy industry.   No surprises if callers get placed on hold for extended periods of time.  Now obviously you’d like to avoid it if at all possible but the on hold function comes into play often enough even if you’re totally focussed on customer service.  When you need to check a caller’s account details or similar, taking deliveries from the courier at the counter, you need to ask a colleague a quick question that you’re unsure about, when you’re transferring callers to other lines that don’t pick up immediately and a dozen other daily tasks, all these very common daily activities make you reach for your on hold button quite regularly.

Now what your clients hear at these times is totally up to you.  The options are pretty open, from just silence, maybe something that comes preloaded with your phone system, your favourite radio station, a cd from your collection, or the one we obviously prefer – an on hold message – literally any audio source you can plug into the input jack of your phone.  Keep in mind any of these comes with a bit of baggage.  Some may require specific licences to use them legally, a financial outlay, and if your taste in music is out of kilter with your clientele or you just play silence down your line, the research numbers show your callers aren’t going to hang around for very long.

So that’s why it’s worth putting some thought into this opportunity you’re presented with, to think about how you can focus your on hold time to communicate (stroke market to) your callers.  You want to use this time to provide them with some benefit while they wait – like a little reward for their patience and to do so in a planned, effective and consistent manner.  And no matter whether you run a fortune 500 accounting firm or it’s just you on your own in the spare bedroom, the positive impression you present at this time goes a long way to attract new and retain exisiting clients.  You can be as big as you like on the telephone line.

Before we speak about specific things you could mention in your message, we probably need to keep in mind first how most on hold messages are structured.  Usually they have with a bit of information, bit of a gap and then another paragraph and so on.  It’ll probably run for a few, maybe four or five minutes and then loop back to that start.  So adding that up – you have about six thirty second or so marketing opportunities, with a ten second gap between them.  So you can cover a fair amount in that time.  Like what?

They Probably Know About You.

Well we don’t want to spend this time relating obvious things people naturally expect you to offer or they can find out elsewhere.  That’s not to say covering some of the basics isn’t beneficial, we just don’t want to waste this opportunity by loading it up with light-weight content.  If you think ahead you can maybe cover these basic things in a single paragraph.  Communicate things like your range of services, your exact street location, how to find you, where clients can park when they arrive, how you prefer your bookings or payments to be made, your opening times etc.  By all means include some of these – but not to the exclusion of more solid content.

What should you include in your On Hold Message?

When it comes to the meat and potatoes, ask yourself “what value can I provide my clients, what would I like them to know about me that they don’t already know?”

  • Things like – do you have expertise in any specialised field of accountancy?
  • Are there any particular industries that you can cater for that stand you out from the crowd?
  • Do you provide for your client needs in a way others don’t (your location, speed, capacity)?
  • Have you recently won any industry recognition?
  • What’s changed in the accountancy field that you can bring people up to speed on?
  • Are there any specific seasonal activities that a reminder may be useful for – tax time, reporting responsibilities and the like?
  • What about taking your most commonly asked questions and pre-empting them with some helpful tips and tricks?  You know – “Here at Smith Finances we often get asked – what’s the best way to keep track of so and so… we find the easiest way to do that is… and so on”.  So you’re providing value, rewarding your callers.

So jotting down the answers to these questions will provide a solid foundation for a very powerful and purposeful on hold message.  One that will benefit your callers, increase their satisfaction with you and also improve the opportunity for you to expand your activities with them.

  1. What about your website?  How powerful is that?
  2. Do you have any tools or calculators on there that would be worth drawing your caller’s attention to?
  3. Any customer feedback that you could subtly point to?
  4. What useful links or articles are no your site that can benefit your clients?

So in brief – what type of content works well for an accountant’s on hold message?  Well…

  • Refer to your basic products and services – in brief.
  • Provide timely reminders (BAS lodgement, Tax).
  • Reassure your clients by mentioning your industry accreditations.
  • Highlight any specialised expertise and experience.
  • Mention any industry awards you may have won.
  • Prove you’re local by mentioning your community involvement
  • Can you offer any training or information to your clients.
  • Let clients know how to find you easily.
  • Clarify your fees up front.
  • Focus on the benefits offered on your website. (tools or useful articles)
  • Highlight positive customer feedback.
  • Mention your turn-around times.
  • Refer to any guarantees and assurances you offer.
  • Focus on what makes you different from other accountants?

Sell the Sizzle

Your on hold message speaks volumes to a captive audience, so use it to keep them informed, motivated and reassured.  Time may be money, but it’s also a golden opportunity you’ve been given to provide something of value to your callers and something that shows you appreciate that their time is important.  Being in the finance field – you are known for your attention to detail and keen focus.  Extending this to your on hold message only serves to strengthen that image.

To sum up things then, if you put a little effort and forethought into it, you can have full confidence that when you press that on hold button on your phone system, your callers are going to feel respected, that you value their time enough to provide excellent tips and thought out content that they can derive immediate benefit from.  And leave them with a very fine impression of yourself.


When used well, an on hold message:

  • Enhances your image.
  • Ensures your clients are well aware of your key points.
  • Upsells your clients to other services you provide.
  • Answers commonly asked questions.
  • Sets your clients’ minds at ease – reassuring them they’ve come to the right place.

Use your on hold message to provide informative, motivating and reassuring information that will bridge the gap and communicate on a balanced level.  Your professionalism over time builds trusting relationships with your callers, one which should be reinforced in everything you do … including your on hold messages.  If you include some of the things we mentioned, it certainly will.

We hope you’ve found this information of value in helping you plan and write your on hold marketing successfully.  If you’d like any more information or have any questions,please contact us anytime – here at On Hold Messages Australia – we’d be happy to help out more.