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.

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 an ongoing 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.