Poor Phone Skills Cost You Money

Given the time and money your company spends on urging people to pick up the phone, it’s in your best interest to make sure all calls are handled with care. If they're not, much of your work as a marketer could be wasted.

Valuable new prospects may never stay on the phone long enough to talk with one of your salespeople if an operator or receptionist gives a bad impression.

So ask yourself these questions:

• Do the people who answer our phones treat callers politely and with respect?
• Do they provide efficient, focused customer service?
• Do they give callers the impression that their calls are of the utmost importance?

Before you answer "yes," think how often you've received that type of treatment when calling other companies; the type of treatment that immediately endeared you to that company.

It's pretty rare, isn't it?

Now, is your staff treating your callers as well as they could…or should?

If not, it’s time to remind your team of how their phone skills and etiquette affect your brand and your company’s bottom line.

People who take the time to call your company - whether it's to buy your product or merely ask a question or two - should be treated as if they are your best customers, because one day they may be. When you "tolerate" them as if they're just another caller or, worse yet, an interruption to your workday, you may never know just how valuable they could have been to your company.

Treating callers with indifference is the equivalent of dirty, broken glass in the front door of your store, or an illogical, poorly designed website: it leaves a lasting impression of carelessness that can easily turn off prospects.

How to Improve Your Staff’s Telephone Presentation

1) Take the time to analyze how your employees are talking with callers. Listen with a critical ear and note the weak spots. Then, develop a written guide as to how calls are to be answered.

2) For a truly impartial analysis of your employees' phone skills and etiquette, hire a "mystery shopper" service.

3) Many people are unaware of the how they sound on the phone, or the effect their less-than-enthusiastic phone personality can have on callers. Record your employees on the phone. By allowing them to hear themselves, you'll provide them with a unique perspective, and a chance to evaluate their own strengths and weaknesses.

4) If you decide that your employees still need to improve their phone skills for the betterment of your company, consider providing professional training.

People often do business with people they feel good about. Help your callers feel good about themselves and your company, and you'll be on your way to creating more lifelong customers. Promote that idea daily, not just to operators and receptionists, but to every employee who has phone contact with the public.

Consumers have more options than ever, and your every encounter with potential customers is a chance to prove your company worthy of both their trust and their business, so take advantage of it.

Don't dismiss proper telephone etiquette and technique as anything but vitally important to your company's success. Approach the development of your employees' telephone skills as an aspect of your company's ongoing marketing plan. It's an investment that can bring substantial dividends.

Building Trust with Callers

While your telephone connects you to customers, it also keeps you separated.

Your callers can’t see you, shake your hand or pick up on your body language, which means they have no visual or physical clues to your trustworthiness.

What the phone does, though, is focus your customers on what you say and how you say it.

So, one way we can help your callers trust you is by incorporating your values into your On Hold Marketing content.

The process begins with your introspection. What do you believe in? What lessons do you want to pass on to your kids? What phrase would you want on your tombstone?

Once you share that insight with us, we can filter the copy we create through your values, making sure that what we write reflects what’s important to you personally and/or as a brand.

That type of marketing content can be more human and more relatable. And, ideally, it will draw customers closer, making it easier for them to begin a relationship with you and your company.

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.

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.