Your Telephones

When the telephone was invented in 1876, there weren’t many other communication options; the telegraph and hand-written letters were about it.

Today, we can reach out to people in many ways, including email, texts, social media, even online video chat.

With all that convenient technology at your fingertips, it may be easy to dismiss the old, reliable telephone as a point of contact for your business.

But don’t.

Your company’s telephones are a channel you can use to create and maintain meaningful relationships, from those initial cold calls you may make to attract new customers, to the warm, affectionate conversations you have with long-time clients and partners.

Your telephones give you the chance to reinforce your brand and strengthen your reputation with every call.

They allow you to hear the concern in a customer’s voice, and enthusiastically share exciting news and good information.

And your company’s phones connect you to all the people who are important to your business on a more human level than any email or text ever could.

So, always know that the caller experience you provide is worthy of your best effort. From the moment an inbound call is answered - whether by a live operator or a pre-recorded contact center announcement - to the time your callers spend on hold, to the one-on-one interaction your team has with customers, each call is an opportunity to deliver value and the type of positive encounter that people remember fondly and tell others about.

Upfront Agreements

Does this sound familiar?

A young man you’ve never spoken to before calls you at work. After a quick introduction, he launches into the reason for his call, and it soon becomes obvious that he’s not the least bit concerned about what you want or having interrupted your workday.

Permission-based email marketing has been standard for years now, but many companies have not applied the same thoughtful concept of asking for permission to their outbound calling.

If your telephone sales strategy is “talk as quickly as possible so the prospect doesn’t have time to object to the call,” you may want to 1) re-examine the value you claim to provide, and 2) consider the negative experience you’re creating and how that may immediately turn off the people you’re trying to convert into customers.

Before we begin an on-site or telephone meeting in our offices, we open with what we call an upfront agreement. The person running the meeting reminds the attendees why we’ve come together, how long the meeting will take, and what we hope to achieve during our time together. Anyone who has their own goals for the meeting can add them to the agenda at that time.

Upfront agreements are a courtesy you can also extend any time you’re cold calling an existing or potential customer.

Don’t steamroll the people you call. Find ways to pique their interest legitimately, and build a relationship based on mutual interest and - at the very least - basic respect. Your polite and considerate approach will make you all the more memorable.

Reduce Caller Hang Ups

Are too many of the callers you're placing on hold hanging up before your CSRs can serve them? If so, you may be losing immediate revenue and, even worse, potential long-term customers.

Here are a few On Hold Marketing tactics that will encourage your callers to stay on the line.

1) The Secret Code - Throughout your On Hold Marketing content, we can mention a code or keyword that callers can then repeat to your customer service rep. That code might entitle the caller to free shipping, additional loyalty points, or some other type of reward for holding. That's especially valuable if you consistently have long hold times.

2) Give Callers What They Want - We can use your On Hold Marketing content to answer your callers' most frequently asked questions. One caveat: these can't be questions you think they want answered; they need to be the real thing. That means we'll need to interview your frontline phone staff to find out what your callers are asking. An option: we can provide a portion of the answer to each question, followed by the name of the person or department that can deliver the remainder of the answer.

3) Make 'Em Laugh - If a light-hearted approach is right for your brand, we can apply our Humor On Hold™. One client wrote, “I absolutely loved the humorous material. Couldn't stop listening!" Several of our clients have expressed this type of praise: “We get people who ask us to put them back on hold.” And an award show judge said that our humor “would keep an on-hold caller waiting to hear what comes next." All that feedback suggests that humor keeps callers on the line. 

4) Tease What's Coming - We can end each message with a quick preview of the content that's next. Or we could suggest a benefit in one message, and then explain how your callers can achieve that end result in the next message.

5) Use the BVNN - When you subscribe to the BusinessVoice News Network, we incorporate three new messages into your existing On Hold Marketing content each weekday. Your callers will hear fresh news and information interspersed with your marketing content. And you don't have to lift a finger to make it happen. The BVNN is especially effective at keeping your customers on the line if they call frequently. Read all of our BVNN stories here.

Salvator Mundi

On November 15, 2017, Christie's Auction House helped write another chapter in the ongoing story of a painting known as Salvator Mundi, or “Savior of the World.” The oil-on-walnut depiction of Christ was painted by Leonardo da Vinci. It's one of fewer than twenty Leonardo works known to exist.

The winning bid: $400 million, plus more than $50 million in fees, making it, by far, the most expensive painting ever sold at auction.

Salvator Mundi (shown above) was created during the early 1500s. It was owned by several English kings.

Then, in 1900, the painting was purchased by a British collector, whose descendants sold the piece in 1958 after it was damaged by restoration attempts. The sale price: about 60 bucks American.

Sold again in 2005, the image had been so heavily painted over that the work was thought to be merely a copy of a Leonardo. But, after more than six years of research and its inclusion in a 2011 National Gallery exhibition, the painting was accepted as authentic.

It's an amazing story that begins at the hands of history's predominant creative genius, and includes royalty, a good amount of mystery, dismissal, and a re-emergence of the work. It's that provenance and the 500-year adventure the painting's been on that justifies - or at least explains - the world-wide interest and the record-smashing auction price.

People love a great story. And they're often willing to pay more for the privilege of being associated with it.

So, what's your story? We can help you tell it, just as we help Christie's. We provide Caller Experience Marketing services to their New York City, Los Angeles and London offices.  

Shorter On Hold Marketing Content

In early August 2017, FOX announced it would begin experimenting with six-second TV spots. 

As shocking as that news seemed, we have seen this coming.

Decades ago, radio and TV commercials were routinely 60 seconds long, but they gave way to :30s and :15s.

Then came quick-cut editing, five-second pre-roll videos, six-second Vines, and 144-character Tweets.

Spurred by a seemingly endless number of channels and more ways than ever to access them, the American attention span has been retreating for years.

So, in July of 2014, we started adapting.

We began tightening our On Hold Marketing copy, limiting ourselves to just 45 words per message.

We knew that, in this increasingly impatient world, we had to get to the point. And quickly.

Maintaining a 45-word standard forces us to pack more value into each message. There’s no room for fluff. And since we shortened the amount of music in between each message, we can now share more information and calls-to-action with each caller.

Because we’ve increased the total number of messages we write for every production we’re actually writing more copy these days. Our work just feels lighter and quicker now, and it’s more impactful.

We’re staying flexible, though. We allow ourselves the option to stretch out word-wise whenever a creative concept calls for it.

On Hold Marketing is what we do, so we’re always thinking of how to make it better for you and your audience. Ready to talk?

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.

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