As much as you might try to reduce the amount of time your clients are on hold when they call your practice, you will always have times when it simply can’t be helped. Sometimes this is because multiple calls arrive at the same time, but often it is because your staff must find answers for a client while that person waits on hold. The answers could be about laboratory results, an upcoming appointment, or a question about an invoice. It makes sense to use this time “on hold” for educating your clients about your service offerings, giving news about your team, or sharing upcoming events.
Sometimes businesses use music to fill the dead air when callers are on hold. When no strategy is used for hold times, callers can be left wondering if they got disconnected. Although having music playing is better than nothing, you should consider using this time to educate your clients or grow your practice.
New advances in technology have made do-it-yourself audio files easy to make. But just because you do it yourself, doesn’t mean you should. Everything you put out into the public arena needs to have a quality that indicates your professional brand. You must put a lot of thought into any message that is reaching current or potential clients, because first impressions last, and you only have one chance to make them.
Basic audio technology has its limits. It cannot always compare with the polished sound of a recording studio with top-of-the-line equipment. Your customers might hear the quality difference between a message recorded in a studio versus one recorded in an ordinary space. They might experience this as an indicator of professionalism and feel it illustrates what they can expect from your practice.
Having said that, test your self-recording on your phone system and see how good it sounds. It might work fine and be very clear and professional.
If you choose to use an outside professional recording, use a business that focuses on customer marketing for the veterinary industry so that they will understand the best vocal styling and wording, intonation and pace to get the best results from your target market. What you instinctively prefer might not be the ideal for your business.
Another factor to consider is cost versus time. During the time required for you or a staff member to organize, record and edit your message, you could likely have been producing more revenue by performing services for patients.
Multiple companies offer “on hold” messaging services to veterinary practices. They blend spoken words with music tracks in a digital format. When you contract with these firms, they learn about your business by soliciting information from you through written worksheets or interviews, then their copywriters put together custom content that showcases your practice’s unique features and personality. You can sometimes have one of your staff be the voice on the recording to have a familiar touchpoint for clients, but more important is a seamlessly inviting audio of the material, so if one of your team is not up to a long performance, rely on the professionals to create it!
The AVMA offers monthly messages for companion animal practices to use. Investigating these messages might give you ideas for your own messaging. Most message loops are scripted to last the average length of a hold time before starting again at the beginning. You will want to make sure that clients are not subjected to the same message multiple times during one phone call. By having a longer message, clients will always be hearing something unique. Veterinary “on hold” messaging companies suggest messages of 10-15 minutes of content. Many veterinary practices write a unique message and choose new music for each season so frequent callers continue to be engaged.
“On hold” messages can range from announcing your practice’s purchase of a new gastroscope to showcasing your associate’s recent acupuncture certification to inviting clients to an educational seminar. Or you could highlight the importance of regular oral examinations and dental care.
Utilizing hold time to connect with your clients is an effective and simple way to market your practice.