The Facts Message on Hold

North American Telecommunications Association

  1. The average hold time for businesses with more than two lines is 55 seconds
  2. 55% of callers who were put on “silent” hold abandoned their calls within the first 40 seconds
  3. Callers who hear music on hold stay on the line an average of 60 seconds longer than those on “silent” hold
  4. Callers hearing information on hold stay on the line up to 3.5 minutes longer


  1. Customers left on-hold without any background music felt that a 30-second on-hold call actually lasted 90 seconds. Furthermore, customers thought a 30-second on-hold call that used music-on-hold lasted only 15 seconds. – AT&T Survey
  2. 94% of all advertising budgets are spent to induce phone calls, while only 4% is spent on handling the new calls.
  3. 88% of all callers surveyed preferred message recordings to radio or silence.
  4. 70% of all business callers are put ON HOLD.
  5. 60% of all callers left unattended hang up.

Sales & Marketing Management Magazine

  1. 93% of the average marketing/advertising budget is spent to entice potential customers to call a business
  2. Only 4% of the average marketing budget is spent on caller/customer retention
  3. The average cost in lost potential business from a mishandled call is $34

Other Facts and Figures

  1. Executives spend 15 minutes a day or 60 hours per year on-hold. – USA Today
  2. The average hold time is 38 seconds. – Electronic Distribution Today
  3. 88% of callers preferred on-hold messages to other hold options, and 16 – 20% made a purchase based on an on-hold offer. – Stan Rapp and Tom Collins of Maximarketing
  4. On average 7 out of 10 business callers are placed on hold. – Inbound/Outbound
  5. One study found that of the 8 – 15% of a company’s customer base is lost each year, 68% is due to indifferent or negative phone treatment. – Oren Harari of The Tom Peters Group
  6. The average person will spend 1.2 years on hold. – Woman’s World Magazine