Calling Style

I managed to get on a list.

I’ve been receiving a lot of unsolicited phone calls at the office lately from people trying to sell me software and services.

But no matter what the callers are pushing, they all seem to have a rather aggressive or inauthentic approach.

They barely introduce themselves and then launch into their pitch.

No “How are you?” No “Do you have a moment to talk?” No “I’ve been looking at what BusinessVoice does and I think we might have a cool solution for you.”

Their bullish style and obvious lack of interest in my unique needs immediately put me on the defensive, and I very quickly interrupt with a “No, thank you” or by hanging up.

Then there’s this voicemail message I got a few weeks back: “Hi, this is (Name). Something just came across my desk that I thought you’d be interested in. Give me a call back.”

Really? I’ve never met or spoken to you before, yet, somehow, you know what I’d be interested in? Oh, and it just happened to come across your desk? My, what are the odds?

Lying is no way to begin a relationship.

Around our place, we’re all about creating positive inbound caller experiences, whether it’s through On Hold Marketing, contact center solutions, telephone etiquette training or other tools. But making great impressions and genuinely helping people work in the other direction, too.

When your team calls potential customers, make sure they do it thoughtfully, politely, and with the knowledge that a tremendous first impression can mean the difference between a quick disconnect and earning a lifelong customer.

Telephone Etiquette Training

I love to tip well - 35 or 40%, or maybe ten bucks on a $12 lunch.

And I love writing cards to business owners to tell them about the tremendous experience their employees provided. In fact, I did that today. Twice.

But I don't get to do either enough, because great service - the kind that makes people write cards and gladly tip far more than expected - is so rare.

That's a shame. But that rarity makes amazing service even more valuable. So, when you're on the receiving end of a higher level of service, you remember it. You feel it. You may talk with others about it. And you come back for more.

Right? You come back for more! That’s what service-oriented brands know: their special way of treating people brings customers back again and again.

But great service doesn't just happen, at least not consistently from an entire staff. The basics of great service and providing a great customer experience need to be taught, and then reinforced. Earning and maintaining a reputation for the type of service that people seek out requires a continuous systemic effort. Achieving that goal every day has to be embedded in the company’s culture.

That includes the service effort the staff provides to callers.

Just because a man can use a pencil doesn't mean he's an accomplished writer. And just because your employees can use a phone doesn't mean they provide the type of service that encourages positive word of mouth and repeat business for your company.

When you make formal telephone etiquette training a priority for every person who answers your incoming calls, you'll start to show your team that you're committed to providing a higher level of customer care. Your callers will hear the difference, too.

Telephone etiquette training gives you an edge. It separates you from the crowd. It helps your business deliver the kind of customer experience that keeps them coming back. And it can be the spark that ignites your customers’ love affair with your company.

It’s so easy to make the decision for providing memorable service to your callers. Yes, it requires day-to-day, caller-to-caller execution, but no investment costs as little, yet returns as much in the form of positive brand image and repeat business.

Let us know when you’ve made the commitment to telephone etiquette training.

Interactive Voice Response

Are you considering adding Interactive Voice Response (IVR) capabilities to your call center or business telephone system? Or maybe you're already using IVR technology, but you've not enjoyed the results you were hoping for.

The term Interactive Voice Response pretty much defines what the system does. Employing pre-recorded greetings, questions and responses, IVR software uses the human voice of your choice to “interact” with your callers, guiding them through tasks, providing answers they may need, and allowing them to self-navigate to live operators and other options.

An IVR system can provide many benefits, including:

  • An improved caller experience
  • A simplified customer service process
  • Increased company efficiency
  • A more professional telephone environment
  • Reduced operational costs

But as beneficial as Interactive Voice Response technology can be, it still requires a human touch to maximize its effectiveness and deliver a caller experience that reflects your brand standards.

Primarily, that means your IVR recordings must provide the prompts and information that are important to your callers as clearly and concisely as possible.

Wordy, confusing IVR recordings that don't “feel human” can lead to high rates of caller abandonment and disillusionment with your brand.

Even when your IVR recordings are written and recorded well, they need to change as your company's offerings grow, as your brand advances, even as language, culture and your callers' expectations of a telephone experience evolve.

That's where we can help.

In addition to creating On Hold Marketing content, we develop scripting and recordings for IVR systems.

When you’re ready to talk about your total telephone experience or any individual aspect of it, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call him directly at +1 419.724.7311.

Create Unique Caller Experiences

We've been writing and recording Humor On Hold™ since the early 1990s. Yet, people are still so often surprised by it. “You can do that?" is a common response when we tell them about it.

After hearing our work played at marketing and advertising award shows, a few emcees over the years have said to the crowd that they'd never heard humor applied to that "on hold stuff" before.

Even some of our newer clients have told us that it was hard to find a company like ours - with a creative team that specializes in effective Humor on Hold™. Most other providers don't or, frankly, can't do it.

For most people, being put on hold is immediately negative. If your company places a high percentage of callers on hold - especially for longer periods of time - you can easily earn a reputation for not caring about your valuable customers. And that can affect the bottom line.

But providing an unexpectedly positive caller experience - whether it includes humor or any other creative or thoughtful approach - can instantly endear you and your brand to callers. It lets them know that, no matter how brief their time on hold may be, you care enough to make it more enjoyable, unique and even memorable. That translates into good feelings about your company.

Embracing humor as a brand element can also make you more likable to customers. It shows you don't take yourself too seriously; that you can have fun with your image. Your humor may even help customers relax and de-stress a little bit.

The video below is just one example of our work. You'll find many quick samples on our dedicated Humor On Hold™ page, plus several full-length productions here, here, here, and here.

Ready to embrace the unexpected?

You Cant Ignore These Numbers

Even in this Internet age, 40% of customers pick up the phone first when they want to resolve an issue with a company.

That’s according to a LinkedIn article citing two leading research and advisory firms - Forrester and Gartner.

Sure, that percentage is lower than the pre-Internet days, but the telephone is still an extremely important customer service and communication tool.

In fact, those same researchers found that only 20% of people will fulfill a need or solve a problem to their satisfaction when they attempt to do it via a company’s website. That means, they say, that a full 85% of customers looking for help will end up on the phone!

No company can afford to neglect a channel that so many customers use to ask questions or solve problems.  

So, is it time to re-think the telephone experience YOU provide?

1) Your call center announcements need to be clear, concise and well presented. And the path that callers take - from first contact to reaching a member of your team - needs to be logical and as streamlined as possible.

2) Consider your callers on hold. The content they hear after dialing a dedicated customer service number should be much different than what they’d hear when calling to buy something from you. The music, the time between each message, even the voice might be different in those two scenarios.

3) And what about your CSRs? They should be expertly trained in not only the specifics of your business, but communication, conflict resolution and customer service. (See what could happen if they’re not here, here and here.) They also need to be keenly aware of their role in strengthening your company’s brand image - how the outside world perceives your brand.

We’re ready to talk about your total telephone experience or any single aspect of it. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call +1 800.473.9005. 

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A Phone Call Like This Should Be a Real Eye Opener

Writing On Hold Marketing Content

Do you write the content for your company’s On Hold Marketing?

Or maybe you’re searching for an On Hold Marketing provider and weighing your options, considering the unique value of each.

Either way, I’d like to invite you to spend 20 minutes with the video on the right. It’s the audio portion of a webinar I presented to members of OHMA, the On Hold Messaging Association.

I spoke to the group about developing creative and humorous content for the on hold channel. As of the date of this post, we’re the only agency that’s been asked to present on a creative topic to this forum.

Listen to the entire webinar or use the index to access specific topics.

0:00 - Why On Hold Marketing matters

1:34 - Using the MARCE Awards as a guide

5:07 - Why is writing creative content important?

6:45 - A lesson in humor disguised as an email exchange

9:03 - Nuts and bolts: Breaking down a few examples of humor

12:56 - How can you be more creative?

16:59 - The importance of consistency

18:54 - Questions and opportunities for writers