The concept of on-hold messages has been around since the ’80s, and it has weathered a bad economy, changes in the telecommunication industry, and the emergence of social media and internet advertising. Yet on-hold messages and music is still very widely used by businesses in the US and abroad.
Telecom has changed a lot in the past 20 years, with VOIP systems becoming more common. This often means that multi-location businesses share one central phone system. These systems created challenges for the on-hold industry – in the past each location had its own phone system and would be able to have its own customized on-hold recording. Now, all locations tend to share one recording.
Many of the new VOIP systems also don’t play the on-hold message on a continuous loop, but rather always start in the beginning, posing another issue for on-hold companies who have always maintained that the recordings work best when they play continually, thereby providing a caller with a message that begins at any point in the recording. These issues, although valid, have not had a significant negative impact on the use of on-hold messages.
Traditional advertising such as the Yellow Pages have given way to internet advertising and social media. Office phones are used less today than they were years ago, as more business is done by email. For many businesses, it’s a simple fact that the phone rings less throughout the day.
There are still many types of businesses that use the telephone as the primary means of communication, however, such as doctors’ offices and retail establishments. Others may use the phone less, but haven’t abandoned it entirely, so there is still a need to convey a professional image to callers on-hold.
On-hold messaging was born before the internet, before iPhones, Instagram and Twitter were a part of our lives. As phone systems have evolved and as Facebook and mobile devices have become the new forms of communication, it’s nice to see that on-hold messaging is still used widely, and that business owners still want it and benefit from it.