Start Up Blog

The authentic phone message challenge

Posted in entrepreneurship by Steve Sammartino on October 16, 2010

I’ll start by saying the concept of getting customers to “hold” on a telephone is a pretty bad idea. Then I’ll tell this story….

Today I was on hold for Optus telecommunications, which gave me a reasonably standard phone message:

“Your call is important to us. At this time we experiencing high demand for our telephone support staff, and we’ll be with you as quickly as we can. Please hold the line for the first available operator.”

Here’s what I seriously would prefer to hear:

“We’ve made a deliberate choice to only have X number of people to answer our phones. They are incredibly expensive and having any more than this would impact our profit too much. We’ve done studies which have worked out the number of people that hang up for waiting too long, and how much revenue the average phone call generates or loses for us. The number of people employed to answer our phones is just about optimal. We check this every few months. The average wait is about 5 minutes, so it’s a cool idea to put the phone on load speaker while you wait. Then you can do other stuff. If we answer and you’re not at the phone immediately, we’ll do you the the same favour of waiting a bit while you run to the phone to talk to us once we actually answer. We hope you appreciate our honesty. We reckon it’s better than giving you a load of shit that tells you how important you are. Cheers.

And so the challenge goes out to any startup or business is prepared to develop the worlds first authentic phone message be sure to let us know here at Startup blog so we can spread the awesomeness.

There’ll also be a prize for the best comment with a phone number to a company that has a message of this ilk – and the prize is $100 Amazon gift voucher.

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7 Responses

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  1. dekrazee1 said, on October 17, 2010 at 12:43 pm

    “Yo, I’mma goona get to your call, but first lemme turn this off and on again”

    Hey, if you’re gonna keep someone waiting, might as well make em laugh in the process :P

    • Steve Sammartino said, on October 17, 2010 at 7:03 pm

      Love that – I reckon people would be happy with that. The question is – have you put this on your message bank or business hold?

      Steve.

  2. [...] The authentic phone message challenge What if a company was honest with the message you hear over and over when they put you on hold?  http://startupblog.wordpress.com/2010/10/16/the-authentic-phone-message-challenge/ [...]

  3. sunnyandfine said, on October 18, 2010 at 1:50 pm

    There is a local company here in Nth Qld, can’t for the life of me now remember who it is! They have a cool message and instead of putting you on hold, it takes your phone number automatically and you get called back. I’m yet to meet someone that hasn’t been called back within half an hour. It’s great.

  4. Colin8ch said, on October 27, 2010 at 6:06 am

    Hah it would be awesome to hear an honest message like that!

  5. @brandmusic said, on October 31, 2010 at 6:56 am

    We ask our callers to sing their messages, sometimes we give them a key or count them in.
    Feel free to call 0395099005 as our Irish on hold guy tells you we are ‘unable to answer the call because we’re all down the pub’

    The best on-hold songs will one day go on a best of album, maybe w’ell pioneer answering machine idol!


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