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How to Set Up a Professional On-Hold Recording for Your Business Phone System Blog Feature
Courtney Casey

By: Courtney Casey on September 11th, 2019

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How to Set Up a Professional On-Hold Recording for Your Business Phone System

Tech Girl

Technology gives us the ability to market our businesses in many ways. One way that has been around for decades is the “on-hold” recording for your phone system. It’s one of the most underappreciated methods for showcasing your company and making sure callers have a good experience.

I’m sure you’re familiar with these messages.

You call into a business. While you wait to get to the right person, you listen to music, information about the company and its promotions, or maybe even a recording that reminds you that your call is important to them.

Most business-class phone systems come with a library of pre-recorded on-hold messages or music for you to choose from. They also typically allow you to upload your own, giving you the opportunity to customize your callers’ experience while they wait.

Ways to Create a Custom On-Hold Audio Message

The idea of creating a custom on-hold message may sound daunting, but advancements in technology have made it a lot easier in the last few years.

In its simplest form, all you need is an audio file.

Before you start, check with your IT support team or phone system vendor to see if there are any special requirements you need to be aware of. Things like: How long can the recording be? What type of audio file does it need to be? Is there a maximum file size?

Once you have these basic specifications, let the creating begin.

Do-it-Yourself (DIY)

You can create a professional sounding on-hold message with a few tools that you may already have on-hand. All you need is an audio recorder (this could even be your cell phone), a good microphone, and someone who’s willing to be your voice actor.

Record the clips of what you want your callers to hear, then use an audio editing software to arrange the clips and add background music.

Outsource It

If you don’t have the capability in-house, or if you’d prefer to let someone else handle it, this task is easy to outsource.

There are many online companies that specialize in creating on-hold recordings, such as Snap Recordings, On Hold Company, or On Hold Marketing. They each offer a range of services at varying price points.

Don’t know what the messages should say? You could engage a marketing or branding firm to help with this.

A Combination of Both

If you’re comfortable doing the recording in-house, but you aren’t sure how to put it all together, you could find a freelancer from a service like Upwork to handle this part for you. You’d select a freelancer to work with, provide them with your files and directions, and let them handle the rest.

Lessons Learned With On-Hold Messages

We’ve implemented on-hold messages for many companies and have learned a few tips along the way.

Less is More

Frequent prompts can make people feel like they’ve been on the phone longer than they actually have. I’m sure you’ve been there – you’re on hold and the voice keeps telling you that your call is important and someone will be right with you.

The more frequently your callers hear that (or any prompt), the less they believe you. 

Make Sure the Recording Is Long Enough

Whether it’s music, marketing messages, or a combination of both, the recording should be long enough so it doesn’t loop back to where they started when they were first put on hold. If you don’t typically have long wait times, this should be no problem. If calls get stacked up sometimes, you’ll want to make sure that the recording is at least as long as your typical wait time on a busy day.

It Should Sound Like a Recording

This may sound odd, but the audio track needs a bit of grit or background music, or it should clearly sound like an automated recording, so the caller knows that it’s a recording.

Ever heard a recorded message that sounded so clear that it made you think someone had answered your call? We’ve all been there. It’s frustrating when you realize you just got excited about a recording. Even worse when it happens multiple times on the same call!

We don’t want that happening to our callers. Adding a little background music or making sure the audio file sounds like a recording will help prevent this.

No matter how you choose to create the on-hold recording, once the audio file sounds exactly like you want it, simply ask your IT team to update your phone system with the new recording. You’ll be giving your callers a better experience in no time.

If you need any help with your business phone system, reach out to a trusted IT support or phone system provider.


About Courtney Casey

In an industry dominated by men, Courtney Casey, Director of Marketing for Accent Computer Solutions, Inc., is making her mark on the world of information technology. Courtney has been immersed in the IT field most of her life and has been molded into the tech savvy expert she is today. She began working for Accent while earning her Bachelor's degree from California State University, Long Beach. Known in the Inland Empire as the "Tech Girl," Courtney is a regular columnist for the region's newspaper of record, The Press-Enterprise. Her columns address topical news trends, new technology products, and offer advice on how to embrace technology or avoid common IT pitfalls.