Humor On Hold A Competitors Praise

Have you ever experienced two competing emotions at exactly the same time?

It happened to me yesterday.

While in a meeting to discuss the new BusinessVoice website we’re building, I asked Joe, our front end developer, to search the phrase “Funny On Hold Messaging.”

At the top of the search engine results page was a blog post titled “5 Funniest On Hold Messaging Service Scripts.”

Joe clicked on the link. We thought we’d see or hear examples of funny On Hold Marketing that the article writer’s company had produced.

Instead, we saw five examples of Humor On Hold copy that I wrote for five BusinessVoice clients.

No attribution. No admission that his company did not create the unique content.

My reaction: instant outrage, followed very quickly by a simultaneous feeling of flattery.

On one hand, the writer played fast and loose with our content, suggesting by association that his company had created it and using it to draw visitors to his website. Not cool.

On the other hand, he obviously thought highly of the humor, having labeled it the “5 Funniest On Hold Messaging Service Scripts.”

So, along with earning more than 135 awards and many years’ worth of client compliments, our Humor On Hold has now been recognized by other On Hold Marketing providers at least twice, most recently via the “5 Funniest” article. Another competitor referred a client to us after realizing their team couldn’t satisfy the client’s desire for “something original.” (Read the story and listen to the production.)

After icing myself down for a few hours, my rage subsided, but our team’s commitment to creating innovative On Hold Marketing content that surprises and delights callers has never been stronger.

Consider the “5 Funniest” article as another recommendation to use BusinessVoice Humor On Hold.

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National Humor Month Can Be a Year Round Inspiration

April is National Humor Month. It began in 1976 as a way to reinforce the value of laughter in our lives - its ability to ease stress, release feel-good endorphins and even unite people.

Despite humor's many benefits, though, relatively few brands take a humorous approach with their marketing. While that's bad news for consumers, it's a good opportunity for you and your company to stand out by applying a funny attitude to your copy and content.

Dan Kazmierczak is the CEO of Binkelman Corporation, a company that's used Humor On Hold from BusinessVoice since 1996. He said, “When I would be at conventions, I’d tell people about the kind of On Hold Messaging we have. Then, when I was out in Vegas one time, I called back to the office and had myself put on hold so the people at the convention could hear it. And they were laughing because it’s just so funny. Your service is very valuable to us.” (Listen to a sample.)

The company's Marketing Manager Rebecca Conrad agrees. "We love the laughs BusinessVoice has provided to our customers over the years through their creative On Hold Marketing."

Chris Hamman is another believer. He's the President of Lakeland Auto and Marine in Port Clinton, Ohio. He wrote, "I wish I had more time to forward you all the great feedback we get." (Have a listen.)

It's important to remember that the Humor On Hold audience has already made the decision to call the company. That means that, unlike funny TV or radio commercials, humorous content on hold doesn't need to do the heavy lifting of driving people to an initial action - in this case, making a phone call.

Being placed on hold, though, is almost always perceived as a negative. That's why Humor On Hold shines. It can change that negativity to a feeling of surprise and delight.

When executed well, Humor On Hold stands in dramatic contrast to the typically underwhelming on hold content that most companies provide. Using humor in the on hold channel is, in fact, a unique choice. So, callers may even interpret it as a thoughtful "gift" the company has chosen to give its customers.

Susan Penman is the Sales Director for Town and Country Hotel in San Diego, a BusinessVoice client. She said, “We have people call us back and ask us to be put on hold because they want to share it with their friends. We love the humorous approach.” (Listen here.) 

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Test Your On Hold Experience

Want to get a sense of what your callers feel like while they're waiting on hold?

Call your company's main telephone number and ask to be put on hold. Let the CSR or operator know you'll hang up when you're ready. Then, stay on hold for five minutes. (Use your phone's stopwatch to keep track of the time.)

After you hang up, consider these questions.

1) Did your time on hold feel like more or less than five minutes?

2) Which word or phrase would you use to describe your time on hold?

3) Did you hear anything on hold that caught your attention or that you'd want to learn more about?

4) Were there any topics you wanted to hear about on hold but didn't?

5) Did you hear any specific calls to action while on hold?

6) Did what you hear on hold create a positive impression of your company?

Based on your answers, how would you rate the on hold experience your company provides on a scale of 1 to 10?

Keep in mind there's a good chance you'll go into that experiment with the bias of a loyal employee. You also have knowledge of your company that many callers don't have. So, you might not notice if, while on hold, you didn't hear examples of how your team goes above and beyond to care for customers or provide unique added value. And since you already like your company, you may not care that the content on hold doesn't include compelling reasons to buy your product or trust your brand or call again. That's why you may want to consider asking a few impartial friends to call, hold and then answer the same six questions.

You can't see or hear your callers on hold, so they can be easy to forget. Some people even assume that once their phone system's self-contained 60-second loop of hold music is playing, their company's on hold experience is set in stone and they won't need to think about their callers on hold ever again.

But that approach doesn't consider frequent callers or those who hold for long periods.

Or your changing business and the evolving expectations of callers.

Or the countless chances you have to turn the negative of holding into an informative, enlightening, memorable, even entertaining experience that can make buying decisions easier for people.

Your callers on hold may not be your largest marketing audience, so they might not be your top priority, but they should never be ignored. When you entrust their experience - and your telephone brand - to us, you'll have a partner that's known for proactive content updating, caller-focused content and award-winning creativity.

When you're ready to strengthen your caller experience, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call him at 419/724-7311.

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Voice Actor Peter Robbins

The name Peter Robbins may not ring a bell, but his voice might.

In 1965, when he was just nine years old, Robbins provided the voice of the title character in “A Charlie Brown Christmas.” He worked on a Peanuts movie, too, as well as other TV specials in the series.

His soft, gently textured tone was the perfect expression of Charlie Brown’s inner suffering and lack of confidence. While other actors played the role in later productions, Robbins’ distinctive voice is arguably most closely associated with the character.

Because he did his most recognizable work as a child, Peter Robbins established his unique legacy long before dying at age 65 on January 18th, 2022.

His work serves as one of the countless examples of how important voices are to storytelling, whether it takes the form of an animated television show or the audible representation of your brand.

Authentic, human voices communicate beyond the mere words they deliver. They can paint vivid pictures, weave memorable textures and press powerful feelings into our hearts.

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Caller Experience Audits

You started out with the best intentions.

You answered each incoming call quickly.

You emphasized the importance of providing genuinely friendly service on the phone.

You worked to keep callers on hold only as long as necessary.

You valued callers as much as any customer standing right in front of you.

But, as they often do, things changed.

Your company grew and, as you added employees, the quality of your telephone training dropped.

You let technology pass by, so your callers had fewer options than those of your competitors.

Your company’s new leadership team didn’t prioritize callers, even though they were customers.

Your IT department took over the company’s phone system. Since their priority wasn’t customer service, marketing or delivering a memorable experience, call abandonment rose, cross-selling opportunities dried up and your reputation suffered.

While growth can be positive, it often comes at the expense of customer care at many touchpoints, including the telephone.

The first step to fixing the problem is a Caller Experience Audit. It’s a third-party review of every aspect of what people encounter when they call your company, plus an in-depth analysis and recommendations on how to fix any weaknesses. The process can also be applied to your other marketing channels.

Establishing high standards and solid systems doesn’t guarantee flawless execution. It won’t account for changing technology and evolving customer expectations either. Putting your caller experience through an audit will identify problems you likely haven’t noticed yet and help you meet your high standards. Details here

Simon Sinek Says

Simon Sinek is an author and speaker known for his popular TED Talks and his many best-selling books, including “Start With Why.”

His personal “why” is “to inspire people to do the things that inspire them so that, together, each of us can change our world for the better.”

In his December 10, 2021 Facebook Live Q&A session, Sinek addressed a question about helping people feel heard and understood when communicating virtually.

“In-person [communication] is always great," he said, "but I actually think the phone is better than Zoom.”

One reason: “When we’re [on| Zoom, we fake eye contact. I’m staring down the barrel of [this] camera right now. To you, it feels like I’m looking right at you. To me, it’s sort of impersonal.”

He also noted the problem of Zoom burnout, and that it can be tough to focus when there are lots of people on a screen, especially when it’s clear some of them are multi-tasking while on the call.

Phone calls can also be much more intimate since your voice is so close to the other person’s ear.

“I think picking up the phone is actually pretty great. We’re more present on the phone. You can do a good job of hearing tone of voice and you can be really close with them. So, I’m a huge fan of the telephone.”

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