How long have you been in business?
We've been providing on hold messages under the trade name Commercials On Hold since 1982. Our parent company, Transmedia Advertising, Inc., began modifying radio station cart machines specifically to play customized messages on clients' phone systems. Once exposed to this exciting marketing concept, clients immediately started requesting the service.
How many clients do you currently service?
We currently service more than 4000 clients. Service intervals range from one new production annually, to monthly updates - even weekly for some clients!
What type of businesses or industries do you work with?
Our service is customized for all types of businesses, industries and professions. Wherever there is phone traffic, there is a need for customized messages. So, whether you are a single-practice physician, or a corporation with hundreds of locations, we can professionalize your on hold message to keep callers informed and to generate inquiries. With degrees in Journalism, English and Communications, our copywriting department has the ability to research and write on any subject with expertise.
Are references available?
Now in our 30th year of business, we are happy to provide you with references from most any profession or industry. We have customized messages for all types of industries and professions, from a company that dredged the Panama Canal, and banks with hundreds of locations, to hospitals and clinics, internationally.
Where is your office located?
Our corporate office is located just south of Atlanta in Macon, Georgia, in the center of the state. It is a beautiful southern city, with many historical landmarks and a wonderful music heritage, which includes: The Allman Brothers Band, Little Richard, Lena Horne, Otis Redding, Capricorn Records and Chuck Leavell, keyboardist for The Rolling Stones, among others.
Of course, we work with businesses around the globe. Through our website and our 800 #, we are only a click or a call away.
Do you service clients nationally? Internationally?
While most of our clients are in the United States, we are the on hold message provider for clients in Canada, the UK and other locations around the globe. With the ability to provide Internet message delivery, we're as close to our clients as their local area network!
How does the copywriting process work?
As soon as your order and copywriting information arrive, the sales department delivers it to the copywriting department. We analyze the profile you submit and research your industry further to make sure we create the image you desire. We write your script and contact you within 3 business days with the first draft. Once you have reviewed the script and submitted any edits or changes, we send the final version for approval. Upon your authorization, we process the approved script through our production department. From there, the script is voiced, mixed with music, and shipped out with your player, or alone, depending on your needs. This process usually takes about 10 business days from approval of the script. However, we can expedite it, upon request.
How experienced is your staff of copywriters?
Our copywriters have more than 65 years of combined professional writing experience in the on hold industry. With degrees in Journalism, English and Communications, our copywriting department has the ability to research and write on any subject with expertise. Our commercials are heard on phone systems throughout the United States and internationally. We have written for all types of industries and professions, from Fortune 500 companies and national manufacturers, to hospitals, clinics, and even a company that dredged the Panama Canal. Commercials On Hold is also used by banks with hundreds of locations, and companies with multiple phone systems within the same building. If a phone system has the capability to place a caller on hold, we can create messages to keep that caller connected.
How involved do I need to be with my on hold messages?
Many of our clients prefer to let us do the "driving," so to speak. Our clients are primarily among the most successful in their field or profession, and most of them prefer to let us do the work so that they can focus on their many other responsibilities. Once we have established a foundation and understanding of how you want to present your image, it is an easy transition for us to take the raw data or the focus of your marketing, and bring it to life through your on hold messaging. There are some clients who prefer to write their own messages, and take a more "hands on" approach. We are happy to work with you in whatever way is most comfortable for you. It is up to you; we can "drive," or we can simply "put the fuel in the car."
How customized are the messages?
Here at Commercials On Hold, we believe thatcustomization is the key! Your messages are often the first representations of your image, and therefore should be one of the most professional. If someone calls your place of business, and the first thing they hear is, "could you hold please?," you want to make sure that the next thing they hear is a pleasant, professional message that is marketing your best image. So, customization is the key. Tell those callers what sets your business or practice apart, whether it's your mission or your products and services. It is a teaching opportunity you don't want to miss.
When do I need to provide my voice and music preferences?
We will need to know your preference before your first script is sent to production. We have samples on our website for you to peruse. However, many clients prefer that we make suggestions for them.
What if I need to make a change to my production?
If, for whatever reason, you find that a change is necessary after you have given us your final approval, please call us as soon as possible, so that we can try to catch it before it is voiced, mixed, and shipped. If it has not been sent to a voice talent, we can make the change prior to any charges being accrued. If it has already been voiced, we would simply charge a nominal fee for a redo. However, we do offer a one-time only "get out of jail free card," which amounts to a single no charge redo that can be used just once during your entire service.
What if I'm not completely satisfied with my production?
Our primary goal is to make you a satisfied client, so we will do whatever we can to ensure your satisfaction, even to the extent that we offer a money back guarantee within the first 60 days. Our success over the past 26 years has been to meet or exceed our clients' expectations. So, if after the first 60 days, you find that there is any part of a production that is not to your satisfaction, just call us, and we will do everything within our power to exceed your expectations.
How long should my on hold productions be?
Our experience in the industry tells us that you should always keep the information going out to all of your callers fresh. In other words, you don't want a caller to hear the same message more than once while waiting. The industry standard is 4 minutes, which should work for most businesses, but you can get any length you need. We had one client who required a 12-minute on hold production! Can you imagine?
How many different messages can you have on a production?
On a 4-minute production, the industry standard, we recommend four to five 20 to 30 second messages with short music intervals in between. Keeping the messages brief allows the listener to hear the communication, without tuning it out. Then, the music interval provides an oasis before the next message is broadcast, keeping your callers attuned to your message. This is the most effective format in on hold marketing. If you require a longer production, the format remains the same, but is spread over a longer time, according to your on hold time needs.
How long is each message within a production?
We think the most effective message should be 20 to 30 seconds with pleasant music intervals in between. Keeping the messages brief allows the listener to hear the communication, without tuning it out. Then, the music interval provides an oasis before the next message is broadcast, keeping your callers attuned to your message, maximizing the effectiveness of it. If your queue time requires longer productions, the format remains the same; but more messages are spread over a longer time.
How often should I update my on hold productions?
You've probably heard the saying, "variety is the spice of life." There is truth in this old saying, especially when you are placed on hold. You want to hear something new and fresh, not something you have heard many times before. Keeping your productions fresh, not stale, is very important. It keeps your listeners listening, and your callers holding patiently. Updating your productions on a regular basis, whether it is 12 times a year or at least 2 times a year, depending on how often you answer to repeat callers, is the variety that will keep them interested in your spice.
How do I choose my voice talent?
Our voice talent is made up of some of the best voices in the industry. We offer English, Spanish and French voice talent, which will charm, soothe, and educate your callers, and bring life to your image on hold. Please enjoy listening to our samples, and then choose your favorite. You may choose male, female, or a combination of one male and one female. If you need translation and voice talent in another language other than English, some restrictions and additional fees may apply. Just ask your COH representative for more details.
Are holiday messages provided in my on hold production?
You may have heard "there is no free lunch." That might be true, but here at Commercials On Hold, we like to offer a BONUS to our clients. If you are a full service client who receives regularly scheduled updates, we provide you with a complimentary "holiday" remix production. Using your latest script, we mix the voiceover with holiday music and insert holiday greetings of your choice. It is included within your last production for the year. Those using a digital cassette or CD download will find it on the reverse side of your cassette or on a separate track on your CD, respectively. This special bonus production, a $75.00 VALUE, may be used from Thanksgiving until New Year's. It's our gift to you. Happy holidays! If you have any questions, we are here to help. Simply give us a call.
How do I sign up for 24/7 access to review my scripts?
We are so happy you asked. You can access your account 24/7, by simply calling us for a username and password. Once you have those, you are set to go. You can review scripts, send us edits or changes, or make special requests, just by logging on. Enjoy COH from the comfort of your home or office 24/7. Call us at 800-832-4653, and we'll help you get set up.
Will your on hold message system work with my phones?
Commercials On Hold is compatible with most phone systems. Every phone system is different, and then there are differences in the way the same systems are installed. But most phone systems have a port or connection for music on hold (MOH). One way to know for sure is if you have something on hold currently - that's usually a good sign. If not, you can check with your phone vendor, the company that installed and services your phone system. They should have the specs on it and be able to tell you if you have the capability and where you can connect to it. If you don't have a "system," but instead have purchased phone sets with a hold button, you may require an adapter in order to connect our Commercials On Hold player to your phones. If you want to call us and ask about your particular situation, we are happy to help. Our number is 800-832-4653.
How do I choose the best on hold player for me?
Once you have determined that you have the capability to connect Commercials On Hold with your phone system or phone sets, you should consider the type of player to use. There are several digital players to choose from. Choices of players range from, "hands free," to "hands on," and then a couple in between.
For those of you who prefer to let it all happen behind the scenes, seamlessly, we offer remote download players. These players allow us to download your message directly to your location, making it "hands free" for you.
We also offer a USB Flash drive player that enables us to email productions to you, which you, in turn, load onto a furnished standard flash drive and plug into the player. The USB Flash player, with good reason, has become very popular since shipping can be eliminated, and your productions can be emailed to you from our studios.
Should you prefer a more "hands on" approach, there is an auto download player, which automatically downloads your hold message to a memory chip once you insert the physical media, either a CD or a cassette. If you would like to discuss the best choice for you, please feel free to ask for a recommendation. You can email us (click here) or call us at 800-832-4653.
Do I own the equipment or is it furnished?
Under our "full service" agreement, we furnish and maintain the equipment for you. That way, if there is ever a malfunction, we can overnight a replacement player to you immediately, at no additional cost.
If you prefer to own the equipment, you may purchase it. Most of our clients prefer that we maintain the equipment and handle any malfunctions, so that they can enjoy complete, continuous service, without any interruptions.
How are on hold players different from CD players?
On hold players are specifically designed for their intended purpose, to play an on hold message 24/7. Plus, they have several design features that are not found on CD players. On hold players have a computer chip inside, which is the actual source that broadcasts the message down the phone to the listeners. The on hold player also has "non-volatile memory" which means that, if there is ever a power surge or outage, the player will automatically start playing the message as soon as the power is restored.
CD players may get "stuck" in a loop of repeated sounds, due to dust particles or scratches on the CD—not a very pleasant representation of your business. Also, they will require a restart and reprogram if you should lose power. And since they run 24/7 (or require daily programming), they will wear out rather quickly.
On hold players are, for the most part, "plug and play," with little need for "hands on" time. Our players are designed for commercials use...continuous 24/7 play. We will be glad to answer any questions you might have about the different on hold player options available to you. Just call us at 800-832-4653.
Do you offer advanced Internet and remote download players?
We do offer advanced Internet download and telephone remote download players. Both are excellent choices, and are solutions to very different preferences or needs. The remote download player is the most "hands free" of all the players that we offer. With this type of player, we send the messages directly to your location from our studios through the Internet or phone line.
Once installed and the volume is set correctly, you never have to be involved with the transfer of the updated messages. We do it all right from our studios.
Our 'fax share' remote player shares the fax line in your business and allows us to dial in from the studio and download your message.
In the case of the Internet player, we have two options. One allows us to transfer your messages directly over the Internet using a player that 'pulls' the message from our server. Another Internet solution is our USB player. It allows us to email your production, and you simply retrieve the production to a provided USB drive and transfer it to the player by plugging in the drive.
This too, is a very simple way to get your updated messages. We would be happy to explain the details of any of these player options to you. Just call us at 800-832-4653.
What if I already own some equipment?
We do have clients who have come to us from other companies, and own a player. We can provide productions for all non-proprietary players. We simply need to verify the make and model to be sure that there is complete compatibility. We are happy to work with you in whatever way is most convenient for you.
Will your equipment work outside the USA?
We have many clients outside the USA who choose us as their on hold provider. So, yes, our equipment is working in many parts of the world.
How easy is the installation of your 'plug and play' system?
If the player you choose is an auto download player, it will have two cords: one connects into the electrical outlet, and the other plugs into the "MOH" port of the phone system. Our technical support team will be happy to assist you with hookup. If an on-site installation is required for one of our players, we'll be happy to help find a qualified technician at a competitive price. If you would like to speak with a representative about any part of the equipment or how it works, please call on us. Our number is 800-832-4653.
Do the messages play continuously?
Yes, the messages play in a continuous "loop" and callers join in to hear the current message playing to the on hold queue. The length of the loop depends on how long your production is. The industry standard is 4 minutes. The messages are written and designed to be brief, about 20 to 30 seconds, with an appreciative greeting and location identification within each message.
What happens if the furnished player malfunctions?
If a player malfunctions, and you are a current client under our full service agreement, you simply notify us by 2:00 p.m. EST, and we will overnight a replacement player to you AT NO ADDITIONAL COST. Simply return the malfunctioning player in the same box. We even provide a pre-paid return shipping label.
Will your service work with VOIP?
Yes, we provide on hold messages for many VOIP systems. Some clients download their message file to their VOIP server, while many choose to use a digital player on-site to avoid 'streaming.' We'll be glad to discuss the choice with you.
I am switching to a VOIP system, what do I need to do?
Just let us know, and we will walk you through the process.
Am I locked into a long-term agreement?
We have a money back guarantee, with a 60-day cancellation notice, so you take no risk when you sign up for our service. The reason we do this is because we know that if you are happy, you will be a longtime client, and you will let others know about us. Our success has been built on this basic concept: if a customer is satisfied, they will tell others; if they are NOT, they will also tell others. Approximately 45% of our new business comes from referrals of satisfied customers. We think that is the best testimony for doing business with us, and that is why we have no "locked-in" agreements.
What if the service does not meet my expectations?
If you're not delighted, you won't be held to a long-term contract. If you have prepaid for your service period, we will provide you a prorated refund with a 60-day cancellation notice, less shipping and handling. If you are billed monthly, we only require a 60-day cancellation notice, plus shipping and handling.
This is not a lease and we have a money back guarantee! We hold all agreements in house, so there is no 'leasing company' to demand that you pay a 36 to 50-month agreement.
What are the fees for the service?
Our fees are based on the needs of our clients. In order to make an appropriate bid for your business, we consider several things:
- The number of updates that will best serve your location
- The amount of time that most of your callers spend on hold, which translates to the required length of your productions
- The number of locations that require on hold service
- Message requirements for each location - duplicates or customized
- The digital player that will be best suited for your needs
What's the difference between full service and buyout?
We offer two types of on hold service: full service and buyout.
Under full service, we provide the on hold equipment, with an overnight replacement guarantee, and we update your productions on a regular basis, keeping them fresh and timely.
Under a buyout, you purchase whatever you need, and are responsible for maintaining your equipment and for contacting us when you need updates for your messages.
Although we are happy to work with you in whatever way you prefer, more than 95% of our clients prefer to leave the responsibility in our hands, so that they have more time to do what they do best.
Do you offer multiple location discounts?
Yes, there are discounts available for multiple locations. Items that determine the discount are:
- Will all the locations be served by the exact same messages, or will each need messages that are customized with their specific information?
- Will there be one contact for copy information or several?
- Will the billing be centralized, or will there be individual billing to each location
Can you customize a program for my multi-location firm?
We have many different forms of customizing productions for multiple location firms. Some have their own direct link to a page on our website; others have co-op options with the use of specific scripts. Imagination is all it takes to design an on hold program around your needs. Let us know what you are imagining, and we'll make it happen.
Can I set up an automatic charge to my credit card and pay monthly?
We have many clients who prefer to pay monthly and who have their accounts set up on an automatic credit card payment.
What are the methods for making payments?
We have two methods for making payments to your account. You can pay annually or monthly. If you wish to pay annually, we will send you an invoice each year. If you prefer monthly payments, we can bill your credit card each month.
What should I look for in an on hold company?
There are many things to consider when choosing a company: How long has the company been in business? Are they a member of The On Hold Messaging Association (OHMA)? Will they provide references? What type of satisfaction guarantee do they provide? How do they handle malfunctioning equipment? What type of equipment do they provide? How do they handle billing/invoicing? If I should need an immediate update or change, how quickly can they respond? How much do they charge for an extra update or change of a production?
How quickly can you get us up and running?
We can expedite your production as quickly as you need it. There may be an additional charge for overnight shipping. Our average turnaround time is 10 business days from script approval to shipping.
What are the key benefits that I can gain from your service?
Our clients tell us that their callers often ask about products and services that they hear about on hold, which in turn, creates additional revenue. They also say that sometimes callers will ask to be placed on hold so that they can hear the rest of the message, which means that callers are listening intently while waiting for assistance. Consistently, our clients tell us that the return on investment is evident, and that it is one of the best investments that they make in marketing.
What other services does your company provide?
We provide three important services to our clients: Commercials On Hold, Website Design and Hosting, and Appointment Reminder Service.