- Written by Scott Greggory
Here's a reminder that's especially appropriate for the holiday season: Don't make your callers guess why your office or store is closed.
A co-worker emailed this story to me on the Friday after Thanksgiving. "I called a company today and their office was closed, presumably for the holiday," she wrote. "But their phone system sent me immediately to the receptionist's voicemail, which made no mention of why they were closed, when they'd re-open, or when they might return my call."
She added that "the voicemail message didn't include the name of the company either, so I could have easily thought I had called the wrong number, and then tried to call again."
Don't frustrate your callers that way. Provide a great caller experience instead.
If you'll be closed for a holiday, scheduled downtime, inventory, or any other reason, make sure your call processing announcements / call center recordings give callers all the information they'll need, including an alternate number they can call in the event of an emergency.
It's certainly not the best option, but if your telephone system sends callers to an individual's voicemail when your company is closed, please make sure that person updates the outgoing message as often as necessary to prevent caller confusion.
You may even want to use your website, social media or email to proactively inform customers when you'll be closed.
- Written by Scott Greggory
Then, each time we create new content for you, we'll consider those goals and apply specific strategies and tactics to help you meet them.
And here's a tasty detail: We'll also work to identify specific calls-to-action that we can use in your copy.
What makes that so important?
A lot of On Hold Marketing copy doesn't do a very good job of helping callers respond to information they've just heard. The calls-to-action are vague - or even non-existent - so callers don't know what to do after learning about a product, a service or an offer.
But we make it easy for your callers to take the next step in the buying process. We'll tell them which employee or extension to request for more details, or which promo code to use when speaking with your sales rep or ordering online.
And with our exclusive Heard On Hold feature, we can give your callers quick access to any page of your website or social media channels, no matter how long the URL or how buried the page may be. (Your callers' actions are measurable, too.)
- Written by Scott Greggory
Before you invest in a product or service, do you make sure it'll deliver good value?
If so, you'll love our Hold Time Calculator.
By entering just five numbers into the blank fields, you'll see how long your company's incoming callers spend on hold each year.
For instance, let's assume your company receives just 10 calls per hour during a nine-hour business day, and that only 50% of those calls are transferred or put on hold. (Studies show the average is 57%.)
Let's also assume that your shortest possible hold time is ten seconds, your longest possible hold time is two minutes, and your average hold time is 45 seconds.
That means that your company puts callers on hold for a total of 205.3 hours each year.
Here's Where Value Enters the Equation
In 205 hours, you could run 24,600 30-second radio spots. Even if each spot cost just $50 to air, you would spend $1,230,000 to broadcast to an audience that may not have an immediate or even potential need for what you sell. Radio and TV certainly have their strengths for many B-to-C marketers, but by its very nature, broadcast advertising is wasteful.
With On Hold Marketing, you can up-sell, cross-sell, strengthen your brand identity, and deepen relationships with existing or likely customers for as little as a penny per call. THAT is excellent value. And when the On Hold Marketing content is as thoughtful and focused as ours, the value is even greater.
If you're not using On Hold Marketing yet, take our Hold Time Calculator for a spin, and see how many smart marketing hours you could be adding to your arsenal.
- Written by Kelly Thompson
Already in 2014, we've lost many great voice personalities. Here are five we miss the most, as we acknowledge and celebrate all that they brought to our lives.
James Alexander Gordon was the football (soccer) announcer for BBC Radio for more than 40 years, and is considered to be one of the most recognized voices in British broadcasting history. His distinct Scottish accent and delivery style added thrill to an already thrilling sport. Learn how he got his job.
Steve Post was heralded as "New York's Lenny Bruce," and his show, "Morning Music with Steve Post," aired from 1982 to 2001 on WNYC. Post garnered a huge listening audience for a program that featured classical music, but it was always punctuated by his deep baritone and off-color comments. Known for his wit and sardonic sense of humor, the radio host referred to weather forecasts as "weather lies." Listen to this rememberance of Steve Post.
Pete Van Wieren was a beloved figure in Atlanta, as the voice of Braves baseball from 1976 through 2008. Nicknamed The Professor, Van Wieren worked alongside Skip Caray to deliver Braves fans a delightfully intelligent play-by-play account of each game. He also wrote a book about his career in broadcasting, cleverly titled Of Mikes and Men. Listen to Pete Van Wieren.
Don Pardo introducing Saturday Night Live might be the most recognizable sound in late-night television. In his iconic style, he welcomed some of the greatest musicians, actors and comedians of the last 40 years, spending 38 seasons with the show before his death in August 2014. He also earned the unique distinction of being one of the few announcers who audiences knew by name. Watch this tribute to Don.
Robin Williams is known for much more than his voiceovers; he was also a brilliant actor and a groundbreaking comedian. Even though his voiceover work often went uncredited, his vocal performances in iconic movies left a lasting impression on an entire generation. Watch this behind-the-scenes look at Robin's work in Disney's Aladdin.
Did you ever think about the powerful effect your On Hold Marketing voice has on your callers? Based on the nature of the content, the voice talent can soothe, excite, entertain or instill trust and confidence in your brand.
- Written by Scott Greggory
While telephone technology has changed quite a bit since the piece was produced in the 1940s or '50s, the important lessons in the film are just as relevant today.
In fact, I was surprised to see that so many of those lessons are also highlighted in the TelArt program, our 35-minute CD about telephone skills and etiquette. (Listen to a sample here.) But the film also offers many unique points, including these:
1) Communicating via the telephone is just as important as meeting with your customers face-to-face, so it's important to do it well.
2) To a caller, being greeted by an interested voice is like receiving a warm handshake through the phone.
3) When you and your staff provide friendly, polite service on the phone, you make your callers feel welcome and valued.
4) When you talk with customers by telephone, they form a mental image of you and your company. Make sure it's a positive image, and that you're someone they want to conduct business with.
The film's approach is a little exaggerated and obviously dated, but give it a look. You may recognize some of the same basic problems in your office.
- Written by Kelly Thompson & Scott Greggory
Before your company makes the switch to a VoIP telephone system, answer this important question: Which system best serves your marketing?
Many VoIP systems limit how your On Hold Marketing is heard. If you don't want callers only hearing the same couple of messages while on hold, or if you'd like all of your branches to have customized content that applies to their audience, you'll need a VoIP system that gives you more flexibility.
Here are three things to look for in your VoIP telephone system.
1) An Easily Manageable Audio Source
While they can be tough to find, look for a VoIP system that will accept an external audio source, such as a dedicated On Hold Marketing system. This will allow us to upload your On Hold Marketing content via the Internet from our studios, without interrupting your I.T. department or other members of your staff.
If I.T. does have to upload audio files to your VoIP system, your On Hold Marketing content may not receive the priority it deserves. That problem is magnified when your OHM content contains date-specific information, such as on hold offers.
If you can't find a VoIP system that allows you to connect to an external audio source, look for one with shuffle play or multi-cast capabilities.
2) MFSP and Multi-Cast Capabilities
Sometimes it makes sense for callers to hear On Hold Marketing messages in the same order each time they call. But, more often, you and your callers will derive more value from the on hold experience when they're exposed to a greater variety of messages.
One way to ensure that exposure is by using a VoIP system with Multi-File Shuffle Play (MFSP) capabilities. It works just like the shuffle feature on a CD player or iPod, playing different messages randomly so callers will hear a greater variety of your important content. Frequent callers are also less likely to tire of shuffled content.
Another option: choose a VoIP system with multi-cast capabilities. It will play your On Hold Marketing content in an uninterrupted loop, exposing most callers to new messaging each time they call.
3) Regional or Location Customization Capabilities
If your marketing calendar or product / service mix vary by region or individual branch, consider a VoIP system that lets you play unique On Hold Marketing content at each of your locations. The ability to target content to a specific audience will make your On Hold Marketing even more effective.
To maintain the maximum marketing power of your company's telephones, ask that your Purchasing and/or I.T. teams look for these features when considering VoIP systems.
If you have questions, please call us at +1 800.473.9005. We'll be glad to offer suggestions based on your specific application.