Are You Missing an Opportunity

We call random companies out of the blue just about every day to check on their caller experience, and we’re often amazed by what we hear. Or don’t hear.

A surprisingly high number of large national brands - names you’d know - subject their callers on hold to nothing but silence.

…Or the same 30-to-60-second loop of music, interrupted by a single generic message over and over.

…Or the canned music and messaging that came installed with their phone system.

That lack of care and attention speaks volumes to callers on hold. It says to them that the company they’re calling doesn’t value their time. It says they haven’t thoughtfully considered this touchpoint or that they don’t think it’s worth worrying about.

Instead of using the on hold environment to provide concise, useful information that benefits their callers, those companies must believe that the phrase “your call is important to us” repeated with a minute of looping music is “good enough.”

Of course, callers are left to wonder, “how important could my call actually be if it’s handled like this?”

So, regardless of your company’s size or how well-known your brand is, ask yourself if you’re missing an opportunity. No matter how short or infrequent you think your hold times might be, are you missing the chance to treat your valuable callers - each one a current or potential customer - to a better, more unique branded experience?

We’re ready to talk about all the possibilities. In the meantime, you’re sure to find inspiration in the stories and audio on our On Hold Marketing of the Month page.

Man Listening to the BusinessVoice Spotify Playlist

We were surprised recently when we learned how many songs feature titles and lyrics related to telephones, calling or holding.

There are so many, in fact, that we could easily put together a Spotify playlist to showcase them and still just scratch the surface. So, that's what we did. Find the music here.

Of course, the words "hold" and "holding" have meaning beyond the holding you might experience after calling a business, but a few of the songs refer to a similar type of wait or not being able to reach a certain person at all, such as Blondie's "Hanging on the Telephone," and ELO's "Telephone Line."

The importance of connecting by phone has deep roots throughout our culture. The proof is in 1) the range of artists that use the telephone as a vehicle to tell their stories and 2) how long they've been doing it.

In our list alone, the musical genres range from pop, new wave and country to southern rock, blues, electronic and classic rock.

And the release dates span more than five decades. The oldest song in the playlist, Sam & Dave's Stax classic "Hold On! I'm Comin,'" was produced in 1966. "On Hold" by The xx is the newest recording. It came out in 2017.

We hope you enjoy listening.

Your Callers Need to Laugh

“Did you smile or laugh a lot yesterday?”

That was a 2018 survey question The Gallup Organization asked people in more than 140 countries. Most respondents in their teens through early 20s replied “yes.” But, for the majority of those 23 and older, the answer was “no.”

According to the results, people are much less likely to laugh - especially at work - between the ages of 23 and 70.

“Humor can diffuse tension and bring us together like nothing else,” said Shankar Vedantam, host of the radio show / podcast Hidden Brain. “And yet, [it’s] often missing in many parts of our lives.”

In the episode entitled “Humor Us,” Vedantam talks with Jennifer Aaker, a Behavioral Scientist and Professor of Marketing at Stanford Graduate School of Business. And because she’s not quite busy enough, she authored the book, “Humor, Seriously: Why Humor Is a Secret Weapon in Business and Life.”

“Humor is completely under-leveraged at work,” said Professor Aaker, noting that people who apply it on the job are seen as more competent and confident. Humor can be used to create “a more inclusive environment, where you feel like you’re on the same team. It shortens the distance between people.”

“Once you’ve laughed with someone it feels like you’ve bonded with them,” said Vedantam. Aaker agreed, adding that feeling can have a positive impact on the relationship for years.

She said, “Humor allows you to interact with someone in a way that cultivates trust.” In fact, just tossing in a humorous line at the end of a sales presentation has been shown to boost a customer’s willingness to buy by 18%.

“Many of us think we need to be serious in order to be taken seriously,” said Vedantam. “But researchers are finding that humor is a powerful way to unlock creativity and productivity.”

Laughter releases endorphins and the feel-good hormone oxytocin, and produces a sense of calm by reducing cortisol. With all those positive chemical changes in the brain, laughing “is like exercising, meditating and having sex all at the same time,” according to Vedantam.

He also pointed out that humor can be used as an educational tool. “[It] allows the message to get in, in a way that’s very sticky.” That’s why it can be an ideal delivery vehicle for marketing content.

And that’s one of the reasons our Humor On Hold is so effective. That humorous “spoonful of sugar” helps the “marketing medicine” go down.

So many people - including your callers - are working from home these days and may not have the opportunity to interact with co-workers in a fun way. They need laughter more than ever. By converting the negative of holding into a pleasant surprise, Humor On Hold can be an unexpected bright spot for your customers. We can apply a humorous approach to your other marketing channels, too, including your website, online videos and social media.

As we’ve said many times, humor is a great gift you can give to your callers. A line from Professor Aaker’s book echoes that sentiment: “When humor exists love is not far behind.”

RELATED POSTS: The Serious Value of Humor On Hold
The Value of Unexpected Humor

Inventor of Cassette Tapes Dies

Want to blow your mind?

Try to imagine all the thinking, research and invention that's gone into the technology you rely on - and take for granted - every day.

Everything you use to do your job was developed out of thin air or as an outgrowth of a previous innovation.

In both large and small ways, we all stand on the shoulders of those who came before us.

All of us at BusinessVoice stood on Lou Ottens' shoulders.

But we never met Lou. In fact, we never even heard Lou's name until March 10th when we read of his death at age 94.

Lou Ottens invented the cassette tape.

While the head of new product development at Philips in the early 1960s, Ottens saw the potential in a portable, affordable alternative to large reel-to-reel tapes. So, he invented it.

In 1963, Philips released his first cassette tape. It launched a revolution in easy home recording that impacted a wide swath of musical genres, from punk to hip hop to garage rock.

If you grew up in the 1970s or '80s, chances are you made at least one mix tape, compiling your favorite songs from your own record collection or by capturing them from the radio.

BusinessVoice, too, owes a huge debt to Lou Ottens.

When we were taking some of our industry's first steps in 1989, we relied on his cassette tapes to distribute content to our clients. We've since advanced to digital, no-touch remote download systems to send On Hold Marketing productions to companies all over the United States, but it's no exaggeration to say that our agency wouldn't exist today without Mr. Ottens' foresight.

You never know how what you think and do might impact others, today or years into the future. We consider On Hold Marketing an opportunity to connect with people; a chance to turn the negative of holding into a valuable touchpoint.

We use our time with your callers to share your company's unique perspective. In the process, we hope to spark fresh ideas and ignite new inspiration, adding yet another set of shoulders for those to come, just like Lou Ottens did for us and so many others.

Podcasting Questions

Thinking of starting a podcast for your brand? Here are a few questions to consider.

1) Why are you doing it? Producing a great podcast consistently takes a lot of work, so it's important to believe in its mission. Is your goal to educate your potential customers or the community at large? Do you want to create awareness of your industry and encourage a larger conversation about it? Are you hoping to tell stories about your company's employees or showcase your products in action? Whatever your motivation, make sure everyone on the team understands and is committed to the same purpose.

2) How will you serve - and build - your audience? There's no shortage of podcasts these days, so it's important to differentiate your content and/or the style of your presentation. What's your plan to create must-hear audio for your target audience? Does your brand have a unique perspective that's likely to engage listeners long-term? Then, how will you spread the word about your podcast? Develop an ongoing marketing plan to maintain your fans and attract new listeners.

3) Do you have the resources? Depending on the budget, your podcast might have a large production staff or the effort might be yours alone. At the very least, you'll need a host; a producer to generate topic ideas and book guests; a writer / researcher to create questions and provide background information on those topics and guests; and a tech-savvy person to record, edit and distribute your podcast. Selling advertising or sponsorships? You'll need a salesperson, too. If only one or two people will handle all those tasks, remember to consider their other responsibilities. The podcast will require a lot of time.

4) What's the end game? How do you hope to benefit from your podcasting efforts? How will you define victory? By the way, there's no rule that says your podcast has to live forever. You could design it to have a limited number of episodes or a specific end date. Later, you might start another podcast with a different focus or personality.

With our team of writers, recording engineers, voiceover talent, strategists and account managers, we can serve as consultants or help you design and execute your podcast. For details, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call him directly at 419/724-7311.

Don't Let the Radio Station Produce Your Commercials

This is an image of telephone CSRs

We are drawn to people who care for us; people who take a sincere interest in our well-being.

So, when you and your team provide exceptional customer service - in any form and at any touchpoint - you’re letting people know you care about them and their experience with your company.

National Customer Service Week 2020 is October 5th through the 9th. It’s a reminder to renew your commitment to delivering a high level of care to those who keep you in business. When you do, you’ll encourage customer loyalty and positive word-of-mouth advertising about your brand.

You have many opportunities to wow customers: face-to-face through friendly, helpful interactions at the point of sale; online through intuitive design and valuable content that helps visitors make smart buying decisions; in your advertising by providing practical information your audience can apply; even through your company’s telephones.

When your prospects and customers are treated to a thoughtfully designed caller experience, they can sense that they’re in for a higher level of service from your employees, and that can encourage them to stay on the line longer and call more frequently.

That positive caller experience consists of clear, efficient contact center messaging that’s professionally written and recorded; short hold times; caller-centric On Hold Marketing content that provides actionable information; and well-trained CSRs, each with a heart for service.

When you work hard to build a better product or deliver a smarter service, you can’t afford to lose potential customers to a weakness in your call handling. A caller experience audit will reveal your comapny's opportunities for improvement. Schedule yours today by This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or calling 419/724-7311.

Celebrated annually during the first full week of October, National Customer Service Week was established by the International Customer Service Association in 1984 and proclaimed a national event by the United States Congress in 1992.

RELATED POSTS: 4 Steps Toward a Better Caller Experience
How Much Are You Losing to a Weak Caller Experience?