How to Engage Your Patients, Even On-Hold

The phone rings at your practice. At this moment, a returning patient or potential new patient is on the other end. In the case of a new patient, this is the culmination of your hard work and marketing dollars spent to get this individual to call in and make an appointment. In the case of a returning patient, this is the culmination of the work you have done to acquire and keep this patient comfortable.

The front desk answers the call. After engaging in conversation, the caller needs to be placed On-Hold for a moment. Now, we all know that most practices don’t like to put a patient On-Hold. However, the reality is that it does happen.

What do you want the caller to hear when they are placed “On-Hold?” Would you want the caller to hear nothing but silence? With today’s cell phone use, they may think the call has been dropped. Would you prefer a slightly out of tune radio station playing a commercial about a competing practice? This does happen. I’ve heard this while following up with a potential customer. Or would you prefer an annoying version of “green sleeves” that sounds as if it’s being plunked out on what sounds like a children’s tiny keyboard? Or perhaps maybe a worse option, only a beep every few seconds?

There is a better alternative. You can professionally engage your patients even while they are On-Hold. On-hold time is great for quick messages about the following:  the doctor and the practice, technologies that make the dental visit less stressful, orthodontics, endodontics, clear aligners, general dentistry, cosmetic dentistry, same day crowns, oral health tips, areas of specialization, website location, or your total health approach to care.

Did your practice just invest in same day crown technology? Your on-hold message could be: “a crown in just one visit? Yes, we can do that, ask about this when we take your call.” With most consumers consistently online, you can remind patients how to engage you on social media. You could even talk about how you’re involved in the community or events you’re a part of that you’re passionate about as a practice.

Yes, On-Hold time is a valuable one-on-one opportunity to engage with patients. Proper On-Hold messages can inform and entertain your patient base and also educate. Let your patients know that you truly do care about them and their family’s health and well-being. You are building awareness and have complete control of what your patients are hearing while you have their undivided attention.

Keep in mind; most patients don’t know everything about your practice. Inform, entertain, educate and engage using On-Hold messages. This is an essential and cost-effective marketing tool you can utilize to communicate with patients, or potential patients, who have already taken that first step to becoming a patient at your practice; they called you.

World Wide Audio Media provides on hold messaging and music to 1000’s of businesses nationwide, including dental offices. Contact your Henry Schein representative for more information on engaging your patients while On-Hold.


Audio production and marketing has been John Nordstrom’s passion and profession since he started his career in radio in 1986. As one of the founding partners of World Wide Audio Media in 1994, He moved on from radio in 1996 to be a part of World Wide Audio Media full time. For well over 20 years World Wide Audio Media and John have been helping businesses nationwide with on hold messaging and many other forms of commercial audio production.