Avoid Corporate Speak In On Hold Messages

confusing street sign


confusing street signHere’s a quick marketing tip: avoid corporate speak in on hold messages.

The sound of a phone ringing is amazingly similar to the sound of opportunity knocking. If a potential customer gave you 30 seconds to say anything you want, would you take that time to make yourself sound smart? Or would you want to show them a direct path to success with your solution?

Yes, every customer touchpoint deserves attention, and one that’s often overlooked is the message on hold. Customers call (70% of them get put on hold, on average) and will form an “image” or opinion of your company in about 3 seconds. This is based on what they hear while holding. How will they feel?
  1. abandoned (silence on hold)
  2. cornered (high-pressure sales pitch)
  3. unimportant (music with no communication included)
  4. insulted (“your call is important to us…”)
  5. patronized (corporate speak in on hold messages)
Today, let’s just check ourselves for “corporate speak”. It has no place in the on hold message because you’re trying to make the caller feel welcome; among friends. Friends have a way of talking. It’s honest and plain. Sincere.

Elwood Said It Best

In the delightful 1950 movie Harvey, starring James Steward as Elwood P. Dowd, provides a  worthwhile bit of advice:

“‘In this world, Elwood… you must be oh so so smart, or oh so pleasant…’ I recommend pleasant. You may quote me.”

People prefer pleasant, especially on the phone!

Example of Corporate Speak in On Hold Messages

Consider this dizzying verbiage:

At the genesis of any systems integration, one of the most salient challenges is the constant need to upgrade technology. Therefore, in an ongoing effort to become a more efficient and relevant organization, we have assumed a leadership position in the industry, to assure you that your trust and confidence shall not be misplaced.

So refined! So polished! So off-putting.
An alternative might be:
One thing you can always count on: technology continues to change. When you choose to to business with us, you can be sure the technology and tools we offer are up to date.
Simple, friendly, conversational ideas are important. Instead of trying to sound smart, why not sound friendly?

Avoid Jargon in On Hold Messages

There are many lists of business-talk “watch-words” to be avoided. For example, Forbes Magazine published an article based on The Most Annoying, Pretentious And Useless Business¬†Jargon.

  • bleeding edge
  • core competency
  • best practice
  • leverage…

Forbes says, “all that meaningless business jargon makes you sound like a complete moron.”

Here are a few sources to learn more about great On Hold Messages from Easy On Hold:


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Founder of Easy On Hold and Brandi Music. Thinker, writer, speaker, tinkerer, husband, father, musician.