Google Change

You can't ignore how prevalent mobile Internet use is, mainly because the world's leading search engine isn't ignoring it. (Check the stats here.) 

Google will implement a change on April 21, 2015 that will impact how easily your website is found by people conducting online searches with a smart phone or tablet. Yes, change can be frustrating and even costly, but there's sound logic behind Google's shift. Plus, it represents an opportunity for you to move up in search results, while those who ignore the change are sure to slip in the rankings.

Read this WebArt blog post to learn what Google is doing and how you can benefit from it.

Inside the Box

In a February 2015 AdWeek interview, Cadillac's Chief Marketing Officer Uwe Ellinghaus was asked why his brand would not be taking on the better-selling German luxury vehicles head to head.

His answer: "We need to build the brand on things that make it different [from] the Germans."

Some On Hold Marketing companies provide a generic list of messages to all of their customers that are in the same vertical market, and then say "Choose a few of these and we'll use them to put together your next OHM production."

But your brand is unique. It deserves more than "what everyone else is getting."

And it's worth the effort that's required to elevate it.

Differentiating your company. Creating memorable impressions. Those are custom processes; solutions that can't be selected from a communal list.

It may be quicker and easier to follow in the footsteps of competitors, but it won't help you stand out from that competition or allow your brand to make its own impression on your shared audience. (We can.)

To learn about a custom On Hold Marketing program for your company, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call +1 800.473.9005.

Connect

Your company's average hold times may be pretty short.

But what about those instances when you keep callers on hold longer?

I called a national office supply chain store earlier today, and was put on hold for six minutes.

It wasn't the length of the hold that bothered me. It was how this huge company had clearly not thought about their callers who hold for longer than 30 seconds.

Here's what I heard: "Thank you for your patience. We apologize for the delay. Your call will be answered momentarily." A slow, schmaltzy piano tune played for half a minute. Then, the same message and the same 30 seconds of music repeated. ELEVEN TIMES!

Not only was the repetitious audio irritating, it was a waste of my time, and a wasted opportunity for the company. Their single message delivered no useful information. It didn't provide insight about products or services. There were no helpful tips. No advice on how I could save money with them. Nothing about any added value they offer.

And the company threw away a six-minute connection with a customer. Not only did they miss the chance to build stronger ties with me, they forced me into an annoying, negative environment.

No matter how short you think your hold times are (and they're probably longer than you'd like to think), why risk wasting that kind of opportunity? Even if your hold times actually are short, your frequent callers are sure to be alienated by On Hold Marketing that isn't designed with their experience in mind.

Every touchpoint is a chance to build love and loyalty for your brand. Take full advantage of it. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Phone Skills

This really happened. And even though this one instance may not seem like a big deal, consider the cumulative effect.

One of our team members, Jessica, called a medium-sized medical facility just to ask if they provide a particular service.

After replying with a curt "Hold on," the receptionist transferred Jessica to a doctor's extension. Yes, a doctor.

But the doctor wasn't available, so after her voicemail message began playing, Jessica hung up, without the answer she needed.

How Many Mistakes Did You Count During That Brief Encounter?

Here's what we noticed, and why you may want to handle your incoming calls a bit differently.

1) The receptionist's reply of "hold on" was simply inexcusable. It was rude, dismissive, and showed no regard for Jessica's value as a potential customer. When you need to transfer a caller to another person, let the caller know why and to whom she'll be speaking. Then, ask the caller for permission to make the transfer.

2) The receptionist could not answer a basic question about her company's services. As a result, she had to forward the call to a doctor, someone whose time is far better spent with other matters. And if the receptionist knows the services the facility offers, she might be able to schedule appointments on the spot, ensuring that callers don't take their business elsewhere. 

3) Because Jessica didn't get the answer she needed, she had to call another provider. The first facility she called lost her business - maybe forever - all because of a mismanaged phone call.

Don't you wonder how many times each day that receptionist alienates callers? Interrupts doctors? Loses a potential lifelong revenue stream? And just as scary: management may never even realize how much she's costing the company. 

Starting to see the huge negative impact poor phone skills and manners can have on a business? 

You may spend a lot of marketing money to get people to call. Don't let any interest in your brand be destroyed by careless or unskilled employees who are manning your telephones.

Read about our TelArt CD, or contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for details on a more in-depth, on-site telephone skills training program.

Music

Many businesses rely on music as an on-site branding tool or to set a specific mood for their customers. Because of its unique value, music is protected by copyright laws. Most music can only be played publicly with a proper license.

You Have Options

As a business owner or manager, you can pay for a service that provides music, in which case, the provider is responsible for maintaining the license.

Another choice is to license music from a company that owns a music library.

A third, but unlikely, option is to negotiate separate licenses with the copyright owners for each piece of music you play.

Whichever path you prefer, it's important that you choose one if you want to use recorded or live music in your company's public areas.

The Bad News

There are severe penalties for copyright infringement. They can include a civil suit in federal court, damages of up to $20,000 for each copyrighted song played, and legal fees. Criminal charges can be brought against those who willingly use copyrighted music without a license. Penalties include a fine of up to $25,000 and/or up to one year in prison.

If you would like fully licensed music for your lobby, restaurant, retail environment, telephone system, or any other application, talk with your BusinessVoice Account Executive or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. at +1 800.473.9005.

Telephone Skills Training

Seth Godin is one of the most popular and respected marketing bloggers on the planet. Here's a dose of his common sense applied to the subject of your callers and the person who may be responsible for creating their first impression of your business.

"...When a homeowner decides to put his house on sale and calls a broker...When he calls the moving company...When a family arrives in town and calls someone recommended as the family doctor...When a wealthy couple calls their favorite fancy restaurant looking for a reservation...Go down the list. Stockbrokers, even hairdressers. And not just people who recently moved. When a new referral shows up, all that work and expense, and then the phone rings and it gets answered by your annoyed, overworked, burned out, never-very-good-at-it-anyway receptionist, it all falls apart. What is the doctor thinking when she allows her neither pleasant nor interested-in-new-patients receptionist to answer the phone?"

Given what's at stake each time your phone rings, this is a question worth asking yourself: "Could our staff use a refresher course on telephone skills and etiquette?"

Click here to learn about TelArt, a 35-minute CD that teaches your staff how to treat callers like the valuable customers or prospects they are. It may be the best $39 you ever spend.