On Hold Messages Made Easy

How to write an On Hold Message – Healthcare


How to write an On Hold Message – Healthcare

Healthcare workers….  sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but you’re in an industry known for placing callers on hold for extended periods of time.  Obviously this isn’t optimal.  It’s not like you wake up in the morning and plan to add to your caller’s pain.  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.  When you need to check a caller’s medical records, looking for their test results, making appointment times, taking deliveries from the courier at the counter, transferring callers to other lines that don’t pick up immediately.  All these very common daily activities often make you reach for your on hold button

Now what your clients hear at these times is totally up to you.  The options are pretty open, silence, some bell-type muzac that comes with your system, the radio, a cd from your collection, any other audio source you can plug in or a purpose crafted on hold message.   Pretty obvious which one we’d recommend, not just for personal interest.  Any of the ones I just mentioned come with a bit of baggage. Some may need specific licences to use, the radio or CDs specifically.  And research shows and you don’t need to Einstein to figure out that if you just get silence on your line, you’re not going to hang around for long.

So that’s why we recommend you put some thought into this opportunity you’ve been presented with.  Focus your on hold time and communicate to your callers.  Market yourself to them in an effective, consistent manner.

Ok then, so what sort of things should you include in your message?  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 minutes and then loop back to that start.  That gives you about six thirty second marketing opportunities, with a ten second gap between.  So you can cover a fair amount in that time.  Like what?

They Probably Know About You

Well, a well-crafted message will not include all the obvious things that people already expect.  You don’t want to state the bleeding obvious, as the Brits say. We know McDonalds sell burgers, and we’d expect a dentists do fillings.  So mentioning these things wouldn’t be the wisest use of the time.

That doesn’t mean basic information isn’t valuable.  It’d be great to communicate things like your opening times, where to park, how you prefer your payments to be made, your referral process and even the location of the nearest pharmacy; something every patient with a prescription wants to know.  But you could cover that in a single paragraph if you put some thought into it.

What should you include in your On Hold Message?

  • Your on hold message is also an excellent way to educate your existing patients about any other services you offer and the things that set your surgery or clinic apart from the rest.
  • If you’re a chiropractor, do you offer any massage services?
  • If you’re a GP, do you offer natural medicine alternatives?
  • An optometrist who performs laser surgery?
  • What do you do that others don’t?

Here’s another one… use your on hold to offer helpful tips, advice to your callers.  A great use of this time, not only it’s a wonderful service to the community, it’s also a wonderful promotion of your brand – as a caring, concerned healthcare professional.

What can you say?

  • Well, you can remind callers of important issues that should be addressed but are often overlooked.
  • Is it flu shot time in winter?
  • What about sun protection in summer?
  • Tips on sitting properly at your desk for chiropractors?
  • Tooth care suggestions?
  • Wearing sunglasses to protect your eyes, what sort do you recommend?
  • What about reminders to get breast, prostate and melanoma examinations?

You’re the professional – you’d know far more than me what are the best things to mention.  But when you do, rest assured it will be received well, and leave callers with a very positive impression of you and your business.

  • You can also reinforce your client’s positive perception by highlighting any community involvement you may have, such as local sponsorship of sporting teams, community health programs you’re involved in or free classes you conduct.
  • What about any awards you’ve earned?   You don’t want to spend too much time blowing your own trumpet, but the occasional reference to yourself is totally acceptable.  Just do it in a non-abrasive humble manner and you’ll be fine.


As a healthcare professional, you aim to build trusting relationships with your patients or clients. An on hold message may be just a small aspect of your business, but the impression it conveys when used well, can go a long way in supporting your  professional, supportive and reassuring manner.  If you include some of the things we mentioned just now, 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.