On Hold Messages Made Easy

How to write an On Hold Message – Education Providers


How to write an On Hold Message – Education Providers

As an education provider, you’re in a busy industry that can quite easily place callers on hold for extended periods of time.  Obviously this isn’t your prime goal and you’d like to avoid it if at all possible.  But you may be surprised how often the on hold function on your phone comes into play, even if you’re totally focussed on customer service.  How many students or potential students call daily chasing up information,  mstly at the same time – when class gets out?  When you need to check a caller’s information, you’re taking deliveries at the counter, transferring callers to other lines that don’t pick up immediately and dozens other daily tasks, all these very common daily activities can make you reach for your on hold button often.

Now what your potential guests hear at these times is totally up to you.  The options are pretty open, from plain old silence, maybe some bell-type muzac that comes with your system, your favourite radio station, a cd from your collection, or an on hold message. Literally any audio source you can plug into the input jack of your phone. It’s pretty obvious what we’d recommend and I can honestly say that’s not just for personal interest.  Any of the ones I just mentioned comes with a bit of baggage. Some may require specific licences to use and if your taste in tunes is out there or you just play silence on your line, research shows your callers aren’t going to hang around for too long.

So that’s why (apart from the fact it’s what we do) we recommend you put some thought into this golden opportunity you’ve been presented.  Spend a moment and think about how you can focus your on hold time to best communicate to your callers.  To provide them with some benefit while they wait in a planned, effective and consistent manner.  And no matter whether you run a multi campus college or a little craft school by the sea, you rely on that positive impression you present to impress new and existing students.

They Probably Know About You

Now I’d think by the time someone calls you, they will already have a rough idea of what you do.  So now it is up to you to splash in some more colour and substance to flesh it out with the amazing things that they may not yet be aware of.  Your on hold message lets you do this effortlessly to a motivated, captive audience as they await your return to their call.

What should you include in your On Hold Message?

Ok then, so what sort of things should you include in your message?  Firstly, keep in mind how most on hold messages are structured – usually with a bit of information, bit of a gap and then another paragraph and so on.  It’ll probably run for about a few, maybe four or five minutes and then loop back to that start.  That gives you about six thirty second marketing opportunities, with a ten second gap between them.  So you can cover a fair amount in that time.  Like what?

Well we don’t want to spend this time relating too much of the obvious things people naturally expect you to offer but covering some of the basics would be beneficial.  If you think ahead you can maybe cover these things in a single paragraph.  Communicate things like your exact location, how to find you.  Where students can park when they arrive, how you prefer your submissions or payments to be made, when reception is open and what help they can get from there and the like.

So write that one down, it’s good to cover the basics in your message.

But you’d do much better if you inform people about the services you offer and the things that set your institution apart from your competitor.  You want to make the best use of this valuable time, provide value and to remind your callers about who you are and what you do best.

So what can you mention in your on hold message?

  • The obvious one is the range of courses that you offer.
  • As they say – sell the sizzle so mention the future prospects of those who take your courses.
  • Paint the future with a bright brush that builds up that aspirational part of us… your students will save lives when they study nursing, they’ll open up new frontiers in the engineering course, they’ll work for the fortune 500 companies, they’ll travel the world etc.  You know much better than me what the prospective outcomes of your courses are.
  • If you can back this up by mentioning any awards that your institution or its students may have won, that would stand you in a positive light,
  • Are there any outstanding achievements by your departments?
  • Awards, product creation, successful industry results?
  • Are there any prominent former students you could mention?
  • Any education related services you may offer such as extra tutoring, after school care and facilities for the disabled?

On the social side….

  • maybe mentioning your facilities and the excellent environment students will learn in would be appreciated.
  • The range of extra curricular activities that are available, the academic and sporting areas in which your institution excels or any clubs students can join?
  • These sort of things would not only be interesting to your prospective students but provided a more balanced view of your college, school etc.
  • Answering any of your more frequently asked questions is a great use of your on hold message.
  • Enrolment information, when and where results can be found.
  • Any upcoming events and calendar dates to be aware of?
  • Of course if you provide all this information on your website, which you probably do – then by all means save your caller’s time and point them in that direction.

Sell the Sizzle

As an education provider, you’re not just selling a course, you are selling an experience and a bright future and an on hold message can play a part in communicating that to your students.

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 callers are well aware of your key offerings.
  • Upsells your guests to other services you provide.
  • Answers commonly asked questions.
  • Sets your students minds at ease – reassuring them they’ve come to the right place.

As an education provider, you work hard to build a trusting relationships with your students, 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.

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.