How to Write an Engaging On-Hold Message Script

Intentionality is crucial when it comes to generating positive on-hold client experiences. Customers can be informed, engaged, and even encouraged by what you say to them when they contact your company, but only if you carefully craft an on-hold message script that communicates and resonates. Use these on-hold messages, samples and ideas to enhance your customer calling experience while creating opportunities to increase income the next time you change your on-hold message scripts.

What is the Purpose of an On-Hold Message Script?

When your callers are on hold, they should be presented with a pleasant, pre-recorded message. On-hold scripts are the perfect chance to market your company, products, or services. It's also a chance for you to offer essential advice and material that will pique your callers' attention.

Hold messages can help you keep your callers engaged and decrease the likelihood of dropped calls.

How to Write the Ideal On-Hold Message Script

writing in a notebook

While every on-hold message might sound a little different, most follow a few best practices. Understanding what they are and how they work can help you craft the perfect message for your potential customers.

Follow these steps to write the perfect message:

  1. Start with a greeting. Thank your customers for calling you, and explain that they’re listening to a recorded message (and not a real person quite yet).
  2. Explain who you are. Let customers know that they’ve called the right business by providing your company name, location, or both.
  3. Provide sales content. Talk to your customers about one very specific thing, such as an upcoming sale, recent reviews of your company, or a crucial service you offer.
  4. Thank your listeners. Your customers don’t want to be on hold. Thank them for their patience, and tell them you’ll get to their request.

Examples to Inspire You

With the right script, tone and voice, and background music, you can turn an annoying on-hold service into an engaging and informative one. Here are some easy guidelines to follow for writing a compelling script, as well as on-hold script examples to ensure you're on the right track:

The Who, When & Where

Give details if you have a physical store, showroom, and website. Include any relevant store hours or additional information. The right on-hold script can also highlight some of your company's accomplishments. Here are a few on hold message script examples:

  • "Thank you for contacting XYZ Auto Repair, America's most dependable auto repair shop for more than two decades.”
  • "Thank you for contacting Maggie’s Dog Grooming, winner of the Dog Lover’s Award in Pittsburgh for three years in a row.”
  • “Thank you for calling Missy’s Nails and Toes! We’re hard at work from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. making everyone feel beautiful.”
  • “Thank you for calling Northside Paint. You can visit us in person at 123 Main Street, or stay on the line and we’ll get to you as soon as we can.”

The What & the Why

Inform callers on your services, but don't be overly sales-y. When people are on hold, they’re likely already feeling impatient and are more likely to become irritated if they believe they are being sold something. Try these formulas for advertising your services without it sounding like a sales pitch:

  • "Did you know that we do more than clean carpets? Our technicians can also clean curtains, couches, and so much more."
  • "Are you a member of our customer loyalty program? If you aren't already, speak with one of our representatives about how you can begin saving money by signing up."
  • "By introducing your friends and family to Smith’s Grill, you can save money on your next visit. Ask about our referral incentives program for customers."
  • “We offer a 10% discount for new customers here at Barry’s Birds. Come in and check us out!”
  • "For a limited period, clients who arrange a service one week in advance will receive a 25% discount."


Do your items come with a warranty? Is it possible for them to test your services or have a new customer discount? Do you have any specialists on hand? Be sure to include these in your on hold message script.

  • "Do you have an unusual request? We have several specialists in-store who are experts in everything auto repair.”
  • “Is this your first time working with XYZ Auto Repair? We offer a 10% discount for new customers!”

Social Media Validation

Have you gotten a lot of positive feedback online or gained a lot of social media followers? Do you offer relevant information on your social media pages? Make the most of this knowledge and share it with your callers:

  • "Visit and like our Facebook page for advice and information on how to take care of your car."
  • “Check out our services and pricing online on our Facebook page.”

Educate Them

Use any small details that will keep your callers interested while also teaching them something new. Make sure it's relevant to your business and that it's not overly sales-y.

  • "Winter is here. To minimize your chances of having an accident due to black ice, consider switching out your current tires to winterized ones."
  • “Do you remember the last time you got an oil change? You should get an oil change every 3,000 miles, or approximately every six months.”

Special Offers

There are a number of basic techniques you can use to inform clients about offers and events while they're on hold.

  • "For a limited period, clients who arrange a service one week in advance will receive a 25% discount."
  • "Call us if you have an oil leak, and we'll come out and look at it for free."

Express Gratitude

It's polite to thank someone for holding, but don't do it too much. As with the on-hold script samples above, sprinkle your “thank you”s in with messaging about your organization and services.

  • "XYZ Auto Repair respects your time, and we appreciate your patience."
  • "Thank you for waiting. A representative from XYZ Auto Repair will be with you shortly."
  • “We appreciate your time and patience. We can’t wait to talk with you about gardening, and we’ll pick up the call in just a minute.”

Best Practices for Writing On Hold Message Scripts

man talking on cell phone and working on laptop

The primary goal of your on-hold messaging is to provide information to customers who want to utilize your services, buy your products, or visit your shop, store, or showroom. 

Do these things to please your customers:

  • Speak directly to your target audience: Above all else, make sure you know the target demographic you're talking to while writing a script. With a captive voice, appeal to their interests regarding your business, and they'll be much more inclined to listen (and be patient while doing so).
  • Prepare enough content: You know your business better than anyone else. Therefore you're undoubtedly aware of average hold times for incoming calls. While this may change as your business grows and other variables change, make sure you record enough on hold message scripts to cover the time so a caller isn't trapped listening to the same messages over and again.
  • Stay current: Some businesses have seasonal promotions and changes, so adding this in your script as the year goes on ensures you're up to date on what's new. For example, you might say "Season's greetings from XYZ Auto Repair..." or something similar throughout the holidays. You may also insert event reminders, ads, and other information messages to help them learn more about your company.
  • Speak genuinely: Writing for the aural sense requires a different strategy than writing for a reader. Make sure you read your script aloud and test it out on coworkers or friends to make sure it sounds natural and genuine.
  • Recognize their path: What is the ultimate objective you want your caller to achieve? Based on your findings, tailor your messaging to them. If you're going to upsell, use part of your on-hold time to tell them about a company-wide offer or a fascinating fact about your business that they might not know.
  • Give a call-back option: If your phone system supports call waiting messages and a caller doesn't have time to wait, give them the option of receiving a call-back or leaving a message without compromising their line position. This might help to relieve the tension that comes with waiting.
  • Choose the right music: When was the last time you were on hold and there wasn’t pleasant music playing in the background? The number one universal tip for having an engaging on hold message script is to accompany it with pleasant, mood-setting music.

Here are some things to avoid as you work on your messages:

  • Don’t pick the wrong narrator. The person who reads your message should have a pleasant, calm voice that almost anyone can understand. While some people may want to speak up for your company, not everyone has a voice that’s meant for the phone.
  • Don’t drone on for too long. Mix your messages with music, and ensure that you leave gaps between your phrases. Your customers don’t want to experience a lecture.
  • Don’t forget to be kind. Remember that your listeners don’t want to be on hold. Thank them for their time and patience as you work to answer the phone.
  • Don’t be too time-sensitive. If you’re a busy owner and don’t have time to update your messaging regularly, don’t craft messages that will expire or be irrelevant within a few days.

The Psychology of Being on Hold

In a Consumer Reports survey, Americans were asked to score 21 common complaints on a scale of 1 to 10. The inability to reach a human being (in other words, being on hold) ranked 8.6. Very few people love waiting for people to return to the phone to answer their calls.

Researchers say we dislike being on hold because it implies our time isn’t important. Companies may put us on hold because there are other consumers out there they would rather deal with.

Reporters also say that being on hold can be a form of “metaphysical punishment” in which you’re forced to wait for the help that just might not arrive.

Never forget that your customers are on hold unwillingly. Your messages are very important to you, but they’re a distraction for your customers. The right messages strike a balance between providing information to your customers and respecting their time.

If you’re not sure that your messages are working, ask your customers. When you pick up the phone, ask your customers what they thought and what you might do better. That feedback could help you craft better notes for your next attempt.

On Hold Music That Matches Your Business Goals

Choosing the right music for your on hold message script is crucial. It softens the irritation of being on hold, and provides a pleasant experience for those waiting to speak with your representatives.

Thousands of companies trust Pandora CloudCover for their legal streaming business music solution. If you're not currently a Pandora CloudCover member, sign up for a free trial today to see how you can enhance your customers’ on-hold experience (terms and conditions apply). Learn more about Pandora CloudCover Musics’ Music For Business.


Hidden Fees Top Survey of What Annoys Americans Most. (October 2009). Consumer Reports.

Lessening the Frustration of Being On Hold. (March 2022). Psychology Today.

The IRS Phone Dirge Puts My Life on Hold. (September 2015). The Guardian.


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