Allen Gaughf, the president of Com­mercials On Hold, founded the company in 1982. He has been active in broadcasting and voicing since he was 15, when he became a radio announcer. In addition to doing voice work for broadcast, Gaughf has been an “on-camera” talent for television commercials; and for more than 10 years, he has produced and hosted a weekly local television program that promotes real estate in his area. He has served on committees and boards of directors for organizations such as the Central Georgia Advertising Federation, and he is currently on several committees of the National On Hold Messaging Association.

How does Commercials On Hold enhance a practice’s image and promote procedures and services?

When patients phone a plastic surgery practice, what they hear—or don’t hear—will affect their perceptions of the professionalism of the practice. Many physicians tell us that their patients respond positively to hearing pleasant music and informational messages about the practice’s physicians, staff, procedures, and facility. They say that those messages, when produced with a professional script and voice and a copyrighted “music bed,” project an image of competent expertise and provide the practice with an opportunity to inform patients about its elective procedures and facility. Many times, patients may ask for additional information about something that they heard about while they were on hold, or they may refer a friend or relative for a procedure or service that was presented during the on-hold message.

You advertise that fully customized music and messages with equipment are available as a full-service subscription with scheduled updates—or as a buyout. What is the difference between the two?

To stay abreast of changing technology and to keep their messages fresh, most of our plastic-surgery-practice clients prefer to change their music and messages on a regular basis, at least twice per year. For those clients, it is most cost-efficient to sign up for “full service,” in which they pay an annual fee and we provide everything they need.

Under our full-service plan, we keep track of when our clients’ next scheduled production should begin, and contact each client about 4weeks in advance to begin working on a new script. We also provide the equipment, along with an overnight replacement guarantee in case of equipment failure. With full service, which we also call “hands-free,” our clients can remain focused on what they do best, and leave their music and messages on hold to us.

Sometimes we have clients who prefer to purchase a player and an on-hold production, and then call us when they want a fresh production. The only drawback for those clients is that often the client will forget to change messages, and will find that 3 to 5 years later, outdated messages with incorrect information are being played.

What type of equipment is needed to implement your services?

Many types of equipment are available—from digital players to Internet downloads to computer software. We can determine what type will interface best with each client’s phone system. We interface with 99% of all current phone systems, including voice-over-Internet protocols. PSP