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If you’ve been in the business world for more than a decade, you’ve likely experienced the telephonic evolution from simplistic message on hold features to the more sophisticated professional voicemail greetings.

Advances in voice-over-internet-protocol (VOIP) technology have revolutionized telephone communications systems, offering a number of advanced features and enabling companies to save money.

“As more and more small businesses adopt technology that facilitates the transition from message on hold to professional voicemail greetings, we find that small business owners and marketing managers often have questions about the differences between the two systems,” says Bryant Wilson, president of On Hold Company. “And when considering your options, it’s important to understand the features of each system and which one is right for you.”

Message on Hold

Although telephone systems with message on hold features are one generation behind current state-of-the-art systems, they remain viable and still serve a purpose, albeit a limited one.

With these telephone systems, if a company representative isn’t available to answer the phone, the caller is automatically put though to the message on hold feature. While this feature is limited in scope, it is better than previous systems which only allowed callers to leave a message.

If you’re company still uses message on hold, the best way to optimize this system is to write and record five to seven on hold messages that communicate relevant information. These messages can feature new products and services, special promotions, office hours, and even direct customers to your website for more information. Normally, the messages are looped on a bed of background music, giving the caller a more engaging listening experience.

Some companies use this feature to provide music on hold for their customers. This can work as long as you are licensed to use the music (for example: it’s illegal to use music from radio stations). If you aren’t licensed for the music, you’re breaking copyright laws and could pay stiff fines. So it’s best to use professional music on hold services, which can provide licensed music as well as music that’s targeted to your demographic audience.

In summary: always use message on hold or music on hold or a combination of the two to keep your callers engaged, informed and entertained while waiting.

Interactive Voice Response Systems and VOIP

The development of interactive voice response (IVR) systems is key to the proliferation of professional voicemail greetings. But when these systems first came on the market, the software to run them was so sophisticated that only the largest of businesses could afford them.

But today, the proliferation of VOIP technology has leveled the playing field so that interactive voice response systems and professional voicemail greeting features are not only accessible to most businesses but economical as well.

These systems allow callers to use voice prompts to navigate their way through a maze of options which route them to the right department.

VOIP not only eliminates the need for expensive monthly telephone contracts and costly long distance charges, but the technology also enables small businesses to get big business IVR features on a small business budget.

Those features include:

  • Automated greetings
  • Customized departmental messages
  • Personalized messages
  • Mobile phone interaction
  • Conference calls
  • Smart phone integration

Phone system prompts are the recorded greetings and instructions that callers hear as they navigate through your professional voicemail greetings. These are used to greet callers, allow them to choose a preferred language, route them to the proper extension or department, give information like your businesses location and hours, or allow them to leave a voicemail.

But just because you have professional voicemail greetings doesn’t mean you’re destined for smooth sailing. If an inexperienced phone tech sets up your system, it’s likely to be clunky, awkward and ineffective due to poor design. The quality of the voice and audio recording used in your professional voicemail greetings can make all the difference and have a direct impact on how callers respond.

In summary: Don’t settle for the phone tech installation of your professional voicemail greeting. Use an experienced professional to design your professional voicemail greeting from the initial call flow to professionally writing and recording your messages.

Your phone system is the frontline of your business and you want to make the first impression a lasting one.

Still Have Questions?

If you still have questions related to message on hold or professional voicemail greetings, give us a call at On Hold Company and let us help. With more than 15,000 satisfied customers throughout the United States, our experts stand ready to help you optimize your current telephone messaging system or help you transition to the next generation.