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Legal firms risk losing custom by playing generic music on hold

By Victoria Basham

16 August 2016 at 09:02 BST

Legal firms' call handling standards have come into question as the result of a major new study into telephone practice.

Ion Chiosea

Audio branding specialist PHMG audited 766 firms in the legal trade and discovered the large majority risk losing custom by subjecting customers to generic music and audio while on hold.

The research found that 51 per cent of legal firms still leave customers listening to nothing but generic music, 25 per cent subject callers to beeps, 18 per cent leave them in silence and four per cent force them to listen to ringing.

Only one per cent employ brand-consistent voice and music messaging – viewed as the best practice approach to handling calls – which is less than the national average of two per cent.

Mark Williamson, sales and marketing director at PHMG, said: ‘Call handling remains a critically undervalued element of customer service and marketing. A previous study of 1,000 UK consumers found 73 per cent will not do business with a company again if their first call isn’t handled satisfactorily.

‘Therefore, it is important companies do their utmost to improve the experience. The research shows there is still work to be done in providing an experience that keeps callers engaged and entertained.

‘Generic music, beeps, ringing or silence convey a message that the customer is not valued, which will only serve to compound any annoyance felt as a result of being made to wait on hold.’

The research also found 96 per cent of legal firms do not even use auto attendant messaging to greet customers who call outside of normal working hours.

It also seems call handling standards have not significantly improved when comparing the results to a similar study conducted in 2013, with the number of companies playing repetitive music increasing by 24 per cent.

‘The trends over the past three years suggest legal firms believe generic music is enough to keep callers entertained but this can actually have the opposite effect,’ added Mr Williamson.

‘An existing, generic piece of music should not be repurposed to convey a message it was never intended to, as its characteristics may not match those of the company.

‘Hearing is one of our most powerful emotional senses so the sounds customers hear when they call a business will create a long-lasting impression. Every element of a music track, whether tempo, pitch or instrumentation, will stir different emotions so traders should ensure they convey the appropriate brand image.’


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