This is an image of telephone CSRs

We are drawn to people who care for us; people who take a sincere interest in our well-being.

So, when you and your team provide exceptional customer service - in any form and at any touchpoint - you’re letting people know you care about them and their experience with your company.

National Customer Service Week is celebrated each year during the first full week of October. It’s a reminder to renew your commitment to delivering a high level of care to those who keep you in business. When you do, you’ll encourage customer loyalty and positive word-of-mouth advertising about your brand.

You have many opportunities to wow customers: face-to-face through friendly, helpful interactions at the point of sale; online through intuitive design and valuable content that helps visitors make smart buying decisions; in your advertising by providing practical information your audience can apply; even through your company’s telephones.

When your prospects and customers are treated to a thoughtfully designed caller experience, they can sense that they’re in for a higher level of service from your employees, and that can encourage them to stay on the line longer and call more frequently.

That positive caller experience consists of clear, efficient contact center messaging that’s professionally written and recorded; short hold times; caller-centric On Hold Marketing content that provides actionable information; and well-trained CSRs, each with a heart for service.

When you work hard to build a better product or deliver a smarter service, you can’t afford to lose potential customers to a weakness in your call handling. A caller experience audit will reveal your comapny's opportunities for improvement. Schedule yours today by This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or calling 419/724-7311.

National Customer Service Week was established in 1984 by the International Customer Service Association and proclaimed a national event by the United States Congress in 1992.

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Audio Logo Survey

You may not know the term “audio logo,” but I’ll bet you know an audio logo when you hear one. And so does everyone else.

(Watch the video to listen to samples. Can you name the brands they represent?) 

Those few seconds of music, voice or effects that accompany, support or even stand in for a brand name can be an important element of a company’s marketing. Along with a visual logo, a slogan and a distinct color, an audio logo serves as an identifier that reinforces brand personality and strengthens recall.

Veritonic is a company that measures and quantifies the effectiveness of audio logos. In May of 2020, they released their fourth annual Audio Logo Index. It’s an analysis of 56 of the best-known audio logos in the U.S. and U.K.

A Few Takeaways

• Audio logos that incorporate the brand’s name are five times more effective at generating brand recall.

• In the U.S., audio logos with a melody outperform those without a melody. In fact, 75% of the top 20 audio logos feature a melody. The Veritonic index defines a melodic audio logo as one that can be sung, as opposed to a tone, a sound effect or spoken words, such as Little Caesers’ “Pizza Pizza.”

• For brands that don’t use their name in their visual logo (Ex: Starbucks and MasterCard), audio logos can effectively reinforce that name.

• As is typically the case with any brand element or message, high frequency and cross-channel use of an audio logo build its familiarity and recall.

Our Creative team includes strategists, musicians, writers and recording engineers who can develop your audio logo. We’ll lead a discovery session to define your goals and identify your company’s unique traits that will flavor the final piece.

For details, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call him directly at 419/724-7311.

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Calling as a Business Strategy

“We are craving [the] human voice.”

Amid a worldwide quarantine, that's a statement most of us can relate to.

It's a quote from FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel that's featured in the New York Times article "The Humble Phone Call Has Made a Comeback" by Cecilia Kang.

Kang's reporting confirms just how much we crave connection with familiar voices. She notes that Verizon now handles 800 million wireless calls each weekday. That's twice as many as the company typically sees on Mother's Day, historically the busiest calling day of the year. And callers are talking with each other 33% longer than they did prior to the COVID-19 outbreak. AT&T's cellular traffic is also way up - by 35% - and their number of Wi-Fi-based calls has almost doubled.

Before social distancing, "wireless calls typically peaked in the morning and evening rush hours," Kang wrote. "Once people got to their offices and schools, the call volumes fell. Now, voice calls are high throughout the day. While Zoom and Google Hangouts are a popular replacement for meetings with multiple colleagues, the phone is easier for one-on-one conversations and doesn’t buffer and break down like video."

Weekend phone calls have also jumped. "Even young adults who grew up with texting and messaging apps as a primary form of communication are embracing voice calls," wrote Kang.

Difficult situations often reveal hidden truths. This surge in telephone calls reminds us of what increasingly impersonal technology has covered up over the last twenty years - we yearn to talk with people, voice to voice. And that inherent desire won't recede once a COVID-19 vaccine is developed. It will always live within us.

So, as a business strategy, answer that call; address that human need. Pick up the phone to reach out to your customers and prospects. Make the effort to connect with them in that more personal and meaningful manner. Start a new conversation in an old, familiar way.

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The Benefits of Conference Calls

Did you see the video of "poor Jennifer," the woman who was caught using the bathroom while on a video conference for work? She forgot to turn off her laptop's camera while...umm...taking care of a different sort of business as her colleagues looked on.

Admittedly, that specific issue is not likely to reoccur too often, but a general lack of privacy is one of the potential drawbacks with video conferencing.

For example, people using streaming video to join meetings could unintentionally expose sensitive information on neighboring computer screens or white boards.

And what if a few of your staff members are - okay, I'll say it - slobs. Do you really want clients to associate your employees' messy or disorganized homes with your brand and the service those clients are paying top dollar for?

Marcia Yudkin is one of our favorite marketing writers. She posted recently that people working from home may also be "struggling to accommodate school-aged kids going stir crazy. Expecting them to put on appearances in such a stressful time is unreasonable. Telephone calls are less demanding in this respect."

She also noted that some workers may encounter technical challenges with video conferencing due to a lack of broadband Internet at their home.

During our own on-site meeting last week, a dozen of our team members joined in by video conferencing. From the start, there were connection issues and people at home who couldn't hear those of us in the office. The problems delayed the start of the meeting by 15 minutes, and we eventually switched to an audio-only option.

And let's face it - watching a lot of people on a screen at once can be distracting, whether you see them shuffling around their desktops and moving out of frame to re-fill their coffee cups or you notice their cute dogs walking back and forth behind them.

Want people in your meeting to focus? Want consistent control over the impression you leave with customers? Consider using the conference call feature of your telephone. The speaker phone option still works, too.

For years, you've likely heard people wonder about the need for meetings: "Can't we just take care of this with an email?"

Consider a similar question before gathering via video conferencing: "Will there be anything attendees actually need to see during this meeting?"

Yes, it's nice to connect face-to-face - even if it's only remotely - but is it necessary each time you get together? Remember to factor in the possible negatives of video conferencing when clients are involved.

Just because the tool exists doesn't mean it's right for every application. Re-think the telephone as perfectly appropriate technology for getting everyday business done.

Call Customers

COVID-19 has forced us to keep our distance from customers.

It's driven us out of our workplaces and back into our homes.

It's led to the cancellation of on-site meetings, client lunches and sales appointments.

And maybe it's left you feeling a bit disconnected.

But there is a solution: pick up the phone.

You might typically text or email clients, but if this week's face-to-face get-together was postponed over fears of coronavirus, set up a telephone conversation.

Studies show that younger professionals think talking on the phone is inefficient; that it takes too much time. But most solid relationships are built on an investment of time.

Doing business by phone allows you to interact in real time and gives you continual insight that non-verbal channels often don't. For instance, with telephone communication you can maintain an ongoing sense of the other person's mood and their interest in the topic. You can also hear red flags: does the person you’re talking with sound distracted? Rushed? Frustrated? If so, you can react appropriately. You’re not likely to get that type of feedback through an email.

So, sometime soon, call that long-time customer to ask if you can help with the big project he's working on.

Call to let her know you've got a couple of great ideas that could grow her business.

Call to update him about the new features on your website and how they'll make ordering easier. Then, walk him through the changes while he's on the phone with you.

Call all your clients to assure them that even though you're working from outside the office for the next few weeks, you're still available to serve them.

Or just call to personally thank them for their business. After all, they might be feeling disconnected, too.

Then, re-schedule that lunch once it's safe to shake hands again.

Caller Experience Audit

There are lots of moving parts to the caller experience. Nailing each of them with as many callers as possible can help customers remember your brand as detail-oriented and committed to delivering great service.

Here are a few steps you can take to provide a memorable experience for your callers.

1) Calculate your callers' longest hold times. Lengthy hold and queue times can lead to high caller abandonment rates, and lost callers are lost revenue. If your customers are waiting in queue or on hold too long, consider adding a call-back option that allows them to avoid holding and receive a return call from your next available agent.

Knowing your longest hold times will also tell you how long your On Hold Marketing productions should be. For instance, if your customers typically wait 8 minutes on hold, you should not be subjecting them to just four minutes of looping OHM content. (Find your annual hold time here.)

2) Question long hold times. If your hold or queue times are lengthy, figure out why. Does your team not prioritize connecting callers quickly? Are operational inefficiencies preventing calls from being answered promptly? Do you need to add more staff to handle your call volume? (The ability to take more calls and process more orders could justify the added labor costs.)

If you can’t fix the cause of your long hold times, caller-centric On Hold Marketing content that's updated frequently is even more important than normal. You can still deliver a positive experience by providing valuable information that callers can apply or any other type of engaging content. The goal is to help callers feel like their wait was worthwhile, not wasted time.

3) Commission a caller experience audit. It's the best way to get a thorough, honest assessment of how your company handles incoming (or even outbound) calls. Specifically, a reputable third-party auditor can provide unbiased feedback on your staff's skills, addressing important questions such as these:

  • Is your brand represented accurately during calls?
  • Are members of your phone team friendly with a heart for serving people?
  • Are they efficient, attending to your callers' needs quickly but accurately?
  • Can they speak knowledgeably about your products and services?
  • Do they capitalize on opportunities to up-sell and cross-sell?
  • Can they recognize the red flags of customer dissatisfaction?
  • Are they empowered to "make things right" for angry customers?
  • Would the experience they provide encourage people to call again or share positive word-of-mouth?

4) Update your automated content. IVR and call processing announcements (CPAs) are the recorded messages that guide callers through your phone system. (Example: "To reach our Service department, press 2.")

Nothing says "unprofessional" quicker than poorly executed automated content. If one of your employees recorded your company's announcements directly into the handset of a phone, there's a good chance you have room for an improved presentation.

Expertly written scripts and professional voiceover will immediately elevate the perception callers have of your company. Those elements can also improve customer interaction with your automated attendant, interactive voice response system and other call processing systems by making navigation quicker and more intuitive.