PHMG (company)

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Private limited company
Industry Audio branding, Music on hold, On-hold marketing
Founded 1998 Manchester, England
Headquarters Chicago, London, Manchester, Toronto
Number of employees

PHMG is a provider of audio branding services, with major offices in London, England, Manchester, England and Chicago. It provides audio branding, music on hold and on-hold marketing to more than 28,000 clients in 39 countries worldwide, including Coca-Cola, Adidas and Audi.[1]

Founded in 1998 as PleaseHoldUK in Chester, England, the company experienced rapid growth in its early years, reaching 250 clients and moving to Manchester in 2000. In 2008, the company rebranded to become PH Media Group and, three years later, opened an office in London.[2][3] PHMG expanded its London presence in October 2013 by moving to a new office in City Tower, based in the City of London, which now acts as the company's headquarters.[4]

In 2014, the company was named by Investec in their Mid-Market 100 list - as Please Hold (UK) - ranking it as one of the 100 fastest-growing private companies in the UK and recognising it as the world's largest audio branding agency.[5] Continued growth saw the company move up the Investec Mid-Market 100 list in 2015, from 48th position to 35th. [6]

In 2015, PHMG was also named on the list of '1000 Companies to Inspire Britain' by London Stock Exchange, which aims to recognise some of the fastest-growing and most dynamic businesses in the UK.[7] It was once more named as one of the '1000 Companies to Inspire Britain' in the 2016 list.[8] PHMG was then nominated for the third year running on the 2017 list.[9]

The rebrand from PH Media Group to PHMG followed in September 2016 and was also accompanied by a change to the company's logo.

Also in September 2016, the company opened a permanent office in Chicago, initially housing 35 staff. This Chicago base replaced PHMG's office in New York City as the organisation's North American headquarters, headed up by CEO - North America, Peter Evans.

Aside from its business operations, PHMG also runs a charity called the PHMG Foundation that aims to raise money for selected causes in the main territories where the company operates - the United Kingdom, the USA and Canada.[10]

Market research[edit]

PHMG has commissioned several studies to gauge perceptions among both consumers and business of music on hold and on-hold marketing.

In November 2011, a survey was conducted among 2,000 UK consumers concerning phone calls made to businesses. Findings included: 70% of consumers are put on hold for more than 50% of their calls; 68% of consumers are put on hold for longer than one minute; 73% of consumers want to hear something other than beeps or silence while on hold; 72% of personal calls to businesses are made at home on a landline; 60% of consumers are in front of a computer while on hold.[11] [12]

Research into the use of regional accents and dialect by UK businesses in their on-hold marketing found a 27% rise in the use of accents between January 2012 and January 2013. The research also looked into perceptions of accents. For example, it found the Scottish accent is perceived as trustworthy and reassuring while the Yorkshire accent, used by brands such as O2 (United Kingdom) in television and radio advertising, is seen as wise and honest.[13][14]

Another study, conducted among 3,630 UK companies in March 2013, looked into the amount of time customers spend on hold while making calls to business. The average hold time was 33.48 seconds. During this time spent on hold, 34% of businesses left callers listening to silence, 26% played music, 26% played beeps and 7% used on-hold marketing messages.[15][16]

In 2014, PHMG conducted a further study among 1,000 UK consumers to determine attitudes towards British businesses' call handling standards. It found just 23% of Brits are happy with the way their calls to business are handled, with satisfaction levels being particularly low among the older generations - just 12% of 55 to 64-year-olds claimed to be satisfied.[17] Despite this, it also found 45% of UK consumers are happy to hold longer than a minute during calls to businesses and only 6% are not willing to wait at all.[18] The study also discovered that Brits will not tolerate poor call handling standards, with 73% saying they would not do business with a company again if their first call was not handled satisfactorily. [19]

PHMG has also conducted similar research in the USA to discover how perceptions of call handling standards and audio branding compare with the UK. A study of 2,234 in 2015 discovered only 32% of Americans are happy with the way businesses answer their phone calls, with people in the South and the Northeast found to be most satisfied (33%), followed by the Midwest (32%) and the West (31%). There was also a gender split, as older people were found to be more dissatisfied, with only 28% of 45- to 64-year-olds claiming to be happy with how their calls are handled, compared to 37% of 18- to 34-year-olds.[20]

The study also found Americans are more patient than the British.More than half (55%) of those surveyed said they were prepared to wait on hold longer than one minute during calls to companies, compared to 45% of Brits. American women are more patient than men - with 60% willing to remain on the line for longer than a minute, compared to 49% of men - and people also became more patient with age - 59% of 45- to 64-year-olds will wait longer than 60 seconds but the figure is only 50% for 18- to 34-year-olds.[21] Americans were also found to be more tolerant of poor call handling practice than their British counterparts, with 59% saying they would never do business with a company if their first call was not handled properly. However, older customers were found to be least tolerant with 63% in the 55 to 64-year-old group claiming an unsatisfactory phone experience would stop them buying again, compared to 54% of 18 to 24-year-olds. [22]


  1. ^ "Hotels among best in Britain at handling customer phone calls". Hospitality and Catering News. 
  2. ^ "Manchester's PHMG opens in London". The Drum. 
  3. ^ "Sound move for PHMG". Manchester Evening News. 
  4. ^ "Great Portland Estates Leases City Tower Space To Porta Communications". Morning Star. 
  5. ^ "Investec Mid-Market 100 2014" (PDF). Investec. 
  6. ^ "Investec Mid-Market 100 2015". Investec. 
  7. ^ "1000 Companies to Inspire Britain". London Stock Exchange. 
  8. ^ "1000 Companies to Inspire Britain". London Stock Exchange. 
  9. ^ "1000 Companies to Inspire Britain". London Stock Exchange. 
  10. ^ "PHMG staff raise over £28,000 for charity". HR News. 
  11. ^ "Seventy per cent of consumers put on hold for longer than a minute". Fresh Business Thinking. 
  12. ^ "Customers perennially on hold". 
  13. ^ "By 'eck accents are back in fashion tha nos". Prolific North. 
  14. ^ "Business Diary: January 29". Yorkshire Post. 
  15. ^ "Research reveals lost calls spell danger for UK business". British SME. 
  16. ^ "Drive profitability with good call handling". Ingenious Britain. 
  17. ^ "Consumers want businesses to improve their phone manner". My Customer. 
  18. ^ "Brits prepared to play the waiting game". 
  19. ^ "Shoppers ditch businesses with poor phone manner". Fresh Business Thinking. 
  20. ^ "Company phone manners suffer according to survey". Central Valley Business Journey. 
  21. ^ "Music to Marketers' Ears: Americans Don't Totally Hate Waiting On Hold". Entrepreneur. 
  22. ^ "Why the First Call From a Customer Is the Most Important". Entrepreneur.