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Improve your customer experience with hold music.

Play relaxing music and promotional hold messages through your VoIP phone system.

Learn more

What is hold music?

Hold music is the type of music played to a caller when a call is placed on hold or waits to be answered. A company's phone system plays custom music tracks to callers automatically from its Private Branch Exchange (PBX).

This feature is also known as Music On Hold (MOH), On-Hold Music, and On-Hold Messages. Your on-hold music doesn’t have to be background music. It can include promotional messages, information on new products, and answers to popular FAQs.

Cloud-based VoIP systems offer this feature as a part of a telephone system. Employees can manage a playlist consisting of short audio files, which are uploaded to the VoIP phone service.

Benefits of hold music

Both enterprises and small businesses alike use Music On Hold to engage callers and keep their hold experience enjoyable.

Here are some of the reasons why businesses use hold music:

  • Reduce hangups with custom music tracks proven to increase retention.

  • Educate customers about new products and services.

  • Build your brand with the right music that matches customer interests.

  • Announce custom messages like product sales and long wait times.

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How to set up hold music

It's easy to set up your on-hold music in Nextiva's hosted PBX. Business owners enjoy the fine-grained control they have of their hold options.

  1. Access the Nextiva Voice Portal and click on Features located at the top.
  2. From the Voice Admin Dashboard, click on Manage in the Locations tile.
  3. Hover over the desired location and select the pencil icon on the right.
  4. Scroll down and click on Location Features.
  5. Select the pencil icon that is next to Music On Hold.
  6. Choose the default hold music or upload your custom music files. Adjust your settings as desired.
  7. Press the Save button when you're satisfied with your music on hold settings.

For more guidance, including free music files (WAV), please read this support article.

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Hold music FAQs

While no one enjoys being on hold, there are times when employees must place a call on hold. Music On Hold informs customers that the call is still active and can be informed with hold messages about products and special officers.

The hold music feature has been proven to decrease hang-up rates. A study conducted by USA Business Telephone Today discovered that a combination of on-hold music and a hold message resulted in 98% of callers staying on the line. The stats also revealed that the perceived hold time was dramatically shorter.

Music on Hold provides customers with something to listen to while they wait. It's not only when you place a caller on hold. Hold music also applies when people wait in a call queue to be answered.

Add a little variety from official music licensing providers. Such service providers will provide approved music on hold files that you can load into your hosted phone system.

Originally created on accident, hold music dates back to 1962. A factory owner and entrepreneur, Alfred Levy, accidentally connected their phone system to the building's metal beam. A neighboring radio station's music played for callers.

Since then, it was patented and an entire industry built on creating the perfect audio file for callers. Such services are dubbed Music On Hold (MOH) and can offer affordable, royalty-free MP3 files for use in a VoIP phone system.

One of the most recognizable hold music tracks is "Opus One" created by hobbyists Darrick Deel and Tim Carleton. Later, Darrick joined Cisco Systems. While there, he included it with Cisco CallManager PBX software.

Yes, you can customize your music on hold settings. Modern cloud PBX systems offer the capability to customize selections based on the time of day or the extension that was dialed. This applies to both music and messaging.

You can also create a longer playlist that consists of a mix of on-hold messages and music.

To improve the hold experience for callers, use a 70/30 blend between music and hold messages. This messaging can include frequently asked questions, news about new services or features of your business, new promotions or marketing messages, or your business' hours or directions. This is sometimes called hold marketing.

For music, opt for royalty-free, licensed music that is approved for playback in PBX systems. Look for music that can be easily looped. Ideally, you want to have people wait on hold for less than one minute.

For optimal customer experience, give them an option to leave a voicemail. Ensure your team reviews and returns voicemail messages in a timely fashion.

When callers are being given information that they find valuable, they're more likely to stay on the line.

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