Meeting Caller Expectations

When people watch TV or listen to radio, they expect the programming to be interrupted by commercials now and then. That’s the price we pay for “free” programming.

But when customers call your company, they expect to talk with you right away. Any time they spend on hold - interrupted from their reason for calling - is potentially frustrating.

Steve Ferrante, the expert sales trainer who leads our Telephone Etiquette program, says that “resistance is greater on the phone.” In other words, if a person walks into your store, she’s committed herself at least somewhat to buying from your company. But when calling your store, it’s much easier for that same person to end any hope of a conversation, simply by hanging up.

That’s one of the reasons it’s so important to invest in On Hold Marketing that contributes to a valuable caller experience.

At BusinessVoice, our internal discussions about OHM content are always centered on delivering value to callers; creating a unique and memorable experience; and producing On Hold Marketing that eliminates any desire for callers to disconnect.

Long ago - 1989, more precisely - we committed ourselves to the on hold channel, and to helping our clients make the most of the time their callers spend on hold.

To us, On Hold Marketing is not fluff. It’s a legitimate opportunity to inform, excite, and even entertain callers, all while ushering them into your business and the next step in your relationship.

Holiday Humor On Hold

People like people who can laugh at themselves.

Besides, if you can’t take a joke or make fun of yourself, you might get elected president, and who wants that gig?

When you poke fun at your own business or products in your marketing content, you invite your audience to share a giggle at your expense, and that lets people know that you’re easy to work with and that they can relax around you.

We’ve taken that self-deprecating approach with our own On Hold Marketing and on behalf of our clients countless times.

Listen to an example of us crackin’ on our own agency’s services in the Humor On Hold™ video to the right. And then let’s talk about using humor to draw your customers closer to you and give them a unique and fun caller experience.

Audio Logos

The average American’s attention span: 8 seconds.

That doesn’t leave a lot of time to make a memorable impression.

But you don’t always need a lot of time; maybe just 2 or 3 seconds.

Your marketing mission includes making your brand easy to recall, right? In a fast-paced, visually crowded world, the best way to do that may be with sound.

Not a song. Not a jingle. An audio logo.

One component of sonic branding, an audio logo is a quick, custom audible abbreviation that stands in for - or beside - your company name, and captures the essence of your brand, your energy or attitude.

When your audio logo is tied to the mention of your brand name, then repeated at every opportunity (on air, online, on-site, on the phone), the two can become inseparable.

Soon, your audio logo will be reinforcing your brand’s value each time your audience hears it - all within a few seconds. In the case of Intel, the five-note audio logo is arguably more powerful than the brand name. (Hear it and others here.)

Before we create your audio logo, we’ll ask you a lot of questions. We’ll take your answers back to our team, mix in their input and creativity, boil it all down, and produce an audible “mark” that states your case.

Add a new element to your brand identity. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call him at +1 419.724.7311 to get started on your audio logo.

Gerald Daugherty

Have you heard of Gerald Daugherty?

If not, you may be the only one who’s out of the loop.

Daugherty is the Travis County, Texas Commissioner whose online video is the talk of the political world these days.

The 60-second piece shows Gerald’s boundless passion for solving his community’s problems, and how his non-stop thought process has left his wife and friends exhausted.

It’s the funniest campaign ad I’ve ever seen. It’s been viewed more than 3.5 million times on YouTube alone. And it’s been featured on national TV and radio shows.

The earned media that the video has generated is staggering. Google “Gerald Daugherty” and you’ll quickly see how appealing it is.

Why all the hubbub?

Because during a typical political season, the candidates’ commercials are virtually indistinguishable from one another. The advertising doesn’t communicate how candidates will apply their skills or why they’re uniquely qualified for the office. And their messages certainly don’t use humor.

But Gerald and his team zigged when everyone else zagged.

The humor and honesty in his video keep viewers watching - and sharing and liking and talking about Gerald.

As a result of the campaign’s fresh approach, voters know Gerald’s name. They know he can laugh at himself, while still taking his duties very seriously. And they’ve been given specific insight into why he’s the best man for the job.

The video incorporates two concepts that we’ve promoted for nearly three decades:

1) Using humor in an unexpected environment to surprise and delight your audience, lower their defenses, and create a memorable caller experience.

2) Telling the truth: focusing on the unique value you bring to your callers without hyperbole or exaggeration.

To get a sense of our creative On Hold Marketing and how we approach the caller experience differently, take a look at our On Hold Marketing of the Month page and our Humor On Hold page.

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.