A Receptive Audience: How to Learn When You’re on Hold
Paul English, a fellow U Mass Boston alumni, set up a site to get human assistance when calling a toll free number. While a useful service, there is also the problem of what to do while on hold. Generally you’re stuck listening to music that you would not normally add to your playlist, to say the least. With a speakerphone or wireless headset, it is easy to do something else while waiting. But instead, why not make it a teachable moment?
I was on hold today, trying to reach someone at the Delray Medical Center, and listened to their “Health News Network”. I learned about the signs of diabetes and the advantages of early detection, anxiety disorders and their symptoms, what a heart attack feels like, and other medical information. Each snippet ended with a phone number to learn more, get a physician referral, or join a support group (I think that was for diabetes). While it was ultimately advertising, the emphasis was on being informative. Since I was on hold for a while, I got to hear it repeated a few times, which can aid learning. Furthermore, anyone who is calling a medical center has or has a loved one with a health concern and is likely to be a receptive audience.
Note: Stephen Downes and I turned this into a column, Advertising or Education? Sometimes It’s Hard To Tell.