Bad Caller Experience

If you have something to say about the overall customer experience your company provides or, more specifically, the caller experience, take a look at the video in the bottom right corner.

See if you can sit through all three minutes and not feel frustrated.

Are you able to listen and not hear the wasted opportunity?

The video features in-queue messaging that bluntly interrupts the music and consists of the same four sentences repeated every 30 seconds:

“Thanks for waiting. Your call is important to us. Please continue to hold for the next available customer care specialist. We appreciate your patience and understanding.”

I was in queue with the company for about ten minutes, so I heard that message 20 times.

Anyone on hold or in queue knows what’s happening. They don’t need to be reminded that they’re “waiting” and that they should “continue to hold” even once, let alone 20 times.

“Your call is important to us” has long been the set-up to a very tired joke. The punchline: “If my call’s so important to you, pick up the damn phone!”

And when you tell your callers that you “appreciate their patience and understanding,” you’re basically apologizing - in this case, over and over again.

This lazy approach provides NOTHING to callers in exchange for their time. No good information. No valuable insight. No offers. No reason to engage further with the brand. No incentive to stay on the line. And the repetition of the message only accentuates the caller’s perceived wait.

Are you inflicting this type of needless pain on your valuable callers?

If so, it might be leading to increased caller abandonment, lost business, even brand damage. And it can be especially harmful if you have long average hold or queue times.

Don’t lose customers and revenue to a problem that’s so easily fixed. Let’s talk soon about improving your caller experience.

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 419/724-7311.

Radio Commercial Production

I worked in radio for about a dozen years. During that time I was often frustrated by how little care went into creating commercials.

The discovery process (if there was one at all), the writing, voiceover and production were consistently rushed in order to “just get it done.” One take was good enough. The first mix was fine.

That assembly line mentality left little room for creative thought. And the attitude was maddening because it almost always resulted in an inferior product for the client and the audience.

I still hear that lack of effort in local radio spots today.

The main reason: radio stations are not in the business of creating memorable commercials; they exist to sell air time. And since radio’s ownership regulations were relaxed in 1996, the creative void has only deepened.

So what do you do if you want to make lasting impressions on radio listeners?

Start by talking with us or another agency whose creative and strategic ideas you like.

Our process includes at least one deep conversation about your short and long-term needs, how radio can address those needs, where you should place your spots, the creative direction of your radio campaign and how it will reinforce or complement your brand. Then, we carefully craft your copy and the audio elements that make up your radio commercials - all with the goal of helping people remember and react to your message.

Here are a few of the responses our clients have had to our radio creative and production:

“I love you! You have been amazing to me. This is spot on. No pun intended. Thank you for your professionalism and your patience with my radio spot!” - Joanna Hunter / Kingston

“It sounds awesome! Well done, as usual.” - Chris Mitsos / Mountain View Tire

“I think the commercials are brilliant.” - Nick Heath / Revere

“I got the scripts and rough cut of our new commercials yesterday and they sound great.” - James Cook / Ray’s Trash Service

Take a listen to a few of the radio commercials we’ve created in the video players below. And This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call me at +1 419.724.7330 to talk about your radio spots.

On Hold Stories

I admit it: whenever I hear a certain On Hold Marketing production, I get a little choked up.

It's the work we produced for Notre Dame Academy, an all-girls school in our hometown of Toledo, Ohio.

The production features segments from real interviews conducted with six bright, articulate students. Their words are inspiring; full of hope, emotion and gratitude. They paint a wonderful audible portrait of what life is like at the school.

And I'm drawn into what they have to say every time I hear the piece.

In a sense, those young women are Notre Dame's customers. And the short stories they tell are testimonials about what NDA sells.

Does your company have passionate supporters? People who are truly thankful for what you do? People whose lives you've affected for the better?

If so, ask them to tell their story about why they value what you do so much.

We can help. We'll call your customer to ask them a few questions. They can record their answers on a smart phone and then send us the audio file. Or they can just leave their comments in one of our voicemail boxes.

Satisfied customers who eagerly speak for you are just about the best advertising you can get. And when their enthusiasm shines through, you can end up with some truly engaging stories.

By the way, our production for Notre Dame Academy won the Best Branding and Best of Show honors at the 2017 MARCE Awards, an annual competition that acknowledges the world's best On Hold Marketing. You can listen to it here

Still Not Using On Hold Marketing

One of the most overlooked marketing opportunities is the chance to connect with callers on hold.

If yours is a typical company, your staff will place 70% of your callers on hold at some point in their phone conversation.

Think of all the money and effort your company spends encouraging customers and prospects to call. Now, think of the people who finally do call being put on hold for 20 seconds...30 seconds...60 seconds or longer, listening to nothing but the sound of their own breathing.

Sweating yet?

To any busy person, a minute or more of silent, unproductive hold time can feel like an eternity. And while the need to put callers on hold is often unavoidable, wasting your callers' time is preventable.

On Hold Marketing is an extremely versatile and cost-effective tool that allows you to achieve many marketing goals, from increasing revenue and strengthening your brand image, to improving top-of-mind awareness and customer service.

Do your employees field a lot of the same questions from callers? We can provide the answers in your On Hold Marketing.

Are callers hanging up because of your long hold times? We'll keep them on the line longer with information they can really use - from tips on how to get the most from your products to the latest industry news.

We can even entertain your customers with Humor On Hold™ and on hold contests, or inform them with daily news updates from the BusinessVoice News Network.

And, of course, On Hold Marketing is a very powerful tool for cross-selling and up-selling your products and services.

The applications for On Hold Marketing are virtually unlimited, and for all that it does for your company 24 hours a day, it's remarkably inexpensive.

When you invest in a great caller experience, your customers will perceive their hold times to be much shorter, and they'll willingly hold longer.

Poor Phone Skills Cost You Money

Given the time and money your company spends on urging people to pick up the phone, it’s in your best interest to make sure all calls are handled with care. If they're not, much of your work as a marketer could be wasted.

Valuable new prospects may never stay on the phone long enough to talk with one of your salespeople if an operator or receptionist gives a bad impression.

So ask yourself these questions:

• Do the people who answer our phones treat callers politely and with respect?
• Do they provide efficient, focused customer service?
• Do they give callers the impression that their calls are of the utmost importance?

Before you answer "yes," think how often you've received that type of treatment when calling other companies; the type of treatment that immediately endeared you to that company.

It's pretty rare, isn't it?

Now, is your staff treating your callers as well as they could…or should?

If not, it’s time to remind your team of how their phone skills and etiquette affect your brand and your company’s bottom line.

People who take the time to call your company - whether it's to buy your product or merely ask a question or two - should be treated as if they are your best customers, because one day they may be. When you "tolerate" them as if they're just another caller or, worse yet, an interruption to your workday, you may never know just how valuable they could have been to your company.

Treating callers with indifference is the equivalent of dirty, broken glass in the front door of your store, or an illogical, poorly designed website: it leaves a lasting impression of carelessness that can easily turn off prospects.

How to Improve Your Staff’s Telephone Presentation

1) Take the time to analyze how your employees are talking with callers. Listen with a critical ear and note the weak spots. Then, develop a written guide as to how calls are to be answered.

2) For a truly impartial analysis of your employees' phone skills and etiquette, hire a "mystery shopper" service.

3) Many people are unaware of the how they sound on the phone, or the effect their less-than-enthusiastic phone personality can have on callers. Record your employees on the phone. By allowing them to hear themselves, you'll provide them with a unique perspective, and a chance to evaluate their own strengths and weaknesses.

4) If you decide that your employees still need to improve their phone skills for the betterment of your company, consider providing professional training.

People often do business with people they feel good about. Help your callers feel good about themselves and your company, and you'll be on your way to creating more lifelong customers. Promote that idea daily, not just to operators and receptionists, but to every employee who has phone contact with the public.

Consumers have more options than ever, and your every encounter with potential customers is a chance to prove your company worthy of both their trust and their business, so take advantage of it.

Don't dismiss proper telephone etiquette and technique as anything but vitally important to your company's success. Approach the development of your employees' telephone skills as an aspect of your company's ongoing marketing plan. It's an investment that can bring substantial dividends.

Building Trust with Callers

While your telephone connects you to customers, it also keeps you separated.

Your callers can’t see you, shake your hand or pick up on your body language, which means they have no visual or physical clues to your trustworthiness.

What the phone does, though, is focus your customers on what you say and how you say it.

So, one way we can help your callers trust you is by incorporating your values into your On Hold Marketing content.

The process begins with your introspection. What do you believe in? What lessons do you want to pass on to your kids? What phrase would you want on your tombstone?

Once you share that insight with us, we can filter the copy we create through your values, making sure that what we write reflects what’s important to you personally and/or as a brand.

That type of marketing content can be more human and more relatable. And, ideally, it will draw customers closer, making it easier for them to begin a relationship with you and your company.