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On Hold Messaging
for Healthcare:

5 Best Practices

On-hold messaging may seem trivial, but the truth is that it’s a critical tool that provides a broad range of essential benefits for the provider and the patient.

Beyond managing call traffic and retaining callers, hold messaging also maximizes staff efficiency. As we mention in 6 Steps to a Better Patient Experience, content can be used to promote your practice, provide wellness tips, immunization reminders and answer FAQs, to name a few of the many uses.

Considering the power and purpose of on-hold messaging, it’s important to leverage this tool to the fullest. Ultimately, messaging can truly be an invaluable contributor to an exceptional patient experience when executed the right way. Here are five best practices for implementing and maintaining an effective on-hold messaging strategy.


#1: Identify Purpose, Understand The Primary Goal.

Above we mentioned some of the most common applications for healthcare messaging, but your strategy won’t be effective if you don’t align those uses towards your most important business objective: Providing the best possible patient experience.

As you brainstorm messaging content ideas, ask yourself whether or not the message would promote patient satisfaction. If the message won’t fulfill this purpose, then it’s one to exclude. A qualified healthcare messaging consultant can help you determine what types of messages are most suitable for this purpose. Consultation is typically complementary when you work with a professional healthcare messaging provider.

#2: Keep Messages Short, Cycles Long.

Aim for 10-20 seconds in each message, and make sure that each message has a single focus. Brevity ensures greater comprehension of your messaging content, especially when it comes to senior callers. Additionally, if your average hold times are relatively short, it’s even more important to ensure that your content is concise.

Since messages should be short, it’s a good idea to utilize longer messaging cycles so that callers don’t hear the same messages over and over during longer hold periods. We recommend a 2-3-minute music & messaging loop


#3: Choose the Right Voice(s).

On-hold wait time doesn’t have to feel like an inconvenience for your callers. The idea is to engage them with a professional voice talent that truly expresses the nurturing personality of your practice. In fact, Franciscan Health Alliance uses multiple voice talents to provide greater variety in their messaging and keep their callers engaged. Learn more about their messaging strategy in this case study.

If you need help selecting voice talents, reach out to a dedicated hold messaging consultant. These experts understand the art behind on-hold and they can help you pick the right voice talents for your unique brand.

#4: Incorporate the Right Hold Music.

We all know about the benefits of music in a healthcare setting. As such, it should be no surprise that callers are more likely to stay on the line when they hear hold music. Select a professionally-designed music bed that supplements the energy and tone of your messaging production. Also, make sure that the music you use is licensed for business use. Otherwise you’ll have to pay the licensing fees on your own, which can be costly. Learn more about music licensing HERE.

#5: Update Regularly.

Playing the same exact messages all year round is an easy way to reduce attention to your content and further irritate regular callers during long wait periods. Aim to update your messages at least every quarter, and make sure that the content is relevant to the time of year and your patients’ seasonal needs (i.e., flu shots, school immunizations).

On-hold messaging is still one of the most important tools for providing an exceptional patient experience. Following these best practices will help you establish a strong foundation for your messaging strategy.


To learn more about On-Hold Messaging, contact us today. Our Brand Messaging Specialists are happy to answer any questions and show you the many possibilities for implementing a successful solution for your callers.


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