December 1, 2013

The Season Is Here for On-hold Messages

Ready or not, we’ve entered the holidays. Whether you already have your closets full of presents and your shopping list complete or you’re just hoping to ignore the hype for as long as possible, remember to make your on-hold messages double as your storefront. This doesn’t necessarily mean your messages need to sound like a holiday soundtrack (unless that’s a fit for your business), but you should be maximizing this retail opportunity.

 

Here’s how playing up the holiday season is a win-win for you and your on-hold customers:

 

Reward your callers: Mention an exclusive holiday promo code that they can use online or over the phone, or run a special on a particularly hot item. Either way, make it exclusive to customers who hear it while on hold.

 

Keep it easy: It’s already a busy time, so if you can remind a customer about your services while they’re on the phone with you, you’ve not only saved them time, but you’ve also prevented them from looking somewhere else. Ultimately, you’re reminding them that your company could help them cross something off their holiday to-do list.

 

Plan ahead: This end-of-year shopping frenzy isn’t limited to retail stores with holiday items. Household and business services can be packaged as gift cards and certificates, or you can plant the seed for customers to start planning for 2013 budgets. For example, a business might not be looking to sign up for an outside coffee service for their employees right now, but you can benefit by mentioning that now is a great time to start thinking about 2013 and even offer discounts for signing up prior to the start of the new year.

 

If your on-hold messages could use a little holiday spirit, let the experts at America On Hold help you craft the right on-hold messages for the season. We’ll make sure that you are capitalizing on year-end shopping and preparation.

November 19, 2013

Thank You for Holding: Maximize Wait time with On-hold Messages

In today’s age of immediate gratification, customers expect to be taken care of NOW. So when they call a company and are asked, “May I put you on hold?” or—worse—go straight into the hold system, their patience starts to wear thin. While callers may understand that a company is busy, they want to be acknowledged and cared for as if they’re the only person in the queue. Somehow, there has to be a happy medium.

 

One way to make sure that your customers feel valued when they work themselves into your hold system is with on-hold messages. You or your automated system may be telling them “Thank you for holding,” but if you don’t give them anything to hold onto, your words are meaningless. Instead of sending them into the phone abyss with silence or bad music, why not give them something a little more “meaty” by sharing with them a bit about your company’s services or alternative ways to reach your company?

 

Another way to increase your customer satisfaction while customers sit on the phone awaiting a representative is to be honest with them. Some companies have started telling callers their number in the queue (“There are three people ahead of you waiting to speak to a customer service representative. We appreciate your patience.”) or how long the wait will be (“We experience higher volumes of calls on Mondays and Fridays. You can expect your wait time to be 20–25 minutes.”). And then, most importantly, follow through! If you tell a caller on hold he can expect to speak to a real person in 20 minutes, be sure it doesn’t take 30.

 

Savvy customers will understand that good companies are going to take care of their callers, so just acknowledge them and provide value while they’re waiting. The rest will take care of itself.

October 30, 2013

Set the Mood with On-hold Messages

Imagine walking into what you think is a whimsical frozen yogurt shop. Its name is fanciful and the exterior is bright and vibrant. But upon entering, you are greeted in formal language, muted colors surround you, and classical music plays overhead. There’s nothing wrong with these elements on their own or in another setting, but combined, they don’t effectively match the desired mood of the frozen yogurt shop.

 

Marketing is an integral part of brand creation and management, and you can set the mood with on-hold messages so that your callers mentally visualize your brand. A call to the company could even be the first experience a caller has with the brand, so this is your chance to combine the right mix of components that connects with them.

 

Here are a few tips to set the mood with on-hold messages:

 

Remember your target audience

A pediatrician’s office could set a formal mood if their callers are primarily other doctors. But if their callers are typically worried moms, creating an empathetic, soothing mood might be more effective.

 

What’s a match for your business?

Just because your industry is usually perceived as serious doesn’t mean that you’re locked into a mood. For example, an orthodontist could put the importance of flossing while wearing braces in perspective by using a lighthearted or humorous mood that might resonate better with patients: “Who wants spinach from their breakfast omelet showing up on their date?”

 

Mix up the mood

The overall message you’re trying to relay determines the mood. A sushi hotspot may normally feature upbeat promos about happy-hour specials, but if they’re advertising that a portion of next month’s proceeds will benefit a local family, a serious, urgent approach could work better.

 

What this really shows is that there isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach to set the mood with on-hold messages. American On Hold can help you take your industry-specific factors into consideration and craft the on-hold messaging that fits your business. Contact us to learn how our script writers create customized messages that maintain your brand focus.

October 15, 2013

What Flavor Is Your On-hold Message?

on-hold messageFall flavors of the season are everywhere: pumpkin-spice lattes, apple cider, cinnamon, nutmeg…but the real question is: What is the flavor of your on-hold messages? Do they represent the season, or do they still taste like ice cream, cotton candy, and summer?

As we move into a new season, it’s important that your targeted marketing changes to reflect what’s happening in the world. Consumers expect to go into a brick-and-mortar store and see Halloween items in October, Thanksgiving items in November, and trees and menorahs in December; what they don’t expect to see in those months are pool toys and swimsuits. Likewise, when consumers call your business, they expect to hear messages that are in tune with the season.

Even if you don’t have seasonal messages in your on-hold queue, the change of seasons (and expectations) offers the perfect opportunity to update what you’re sharing with your callers. If customers are calling you regularly, they’ll soon grow tired of hearing the same information over and over. Give them something new to fill their ears and keep them tuned in!

As you prepare for all of the fun upcoming holidays, take a moment to see what you’re telling your customers. It should be regular practice to call in to your business and listen to your on-hold messages monthly to make sure everything is current. Sometimes, we just forget about what we have in our messages because we get caught up in the daily life of the business. Make it someone’s role to check what you’re sharing — in your on-hold messages, social media, blogs, website, and print materials. Too often, it can get out of date and no longer be relevant.

So tap into the flavors of the season. After all, who doesn’t love a good pumpkin-spice on-hold message?

October 9, 2013

Change of Season, Change of Message

seasonal marketing messages

No matter where you are in the country, you can feel that the weather is cooling down and know that a new season is upon us: fall. If you are currently using on-hold messaging as part of your marketing mix, a seasonal marketing message is a great reason to update your message and generate new interest.

 

In the fall, we start to look toward the upcoming holiday season: Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, and even the New Year. Many companies offer season-specific specials, and this is a great time to start planning for them. Perhaps winter is a slower time for you; this would be an opportunity to get customers excited about your brand and what you’re doing.

 

Fall is a great time to remind those people who started working with you in the summer how you can continue to provide service through the fall. For instance, if you provide heating and air-conditioning support, many may have only thought of you for their AC needs in July and need a reminder that you can help them with their heating issues in October and November. Or car dealerships may run specials to clear out this year’s inventory to make room for newer models.

 

America On Hold offers a variety of options for updating your on-hold messaging. Perhaps you’re only updating a few times a year; if so, consider creating a seasonal marketing message. Your audience’s mindset will have also changed with the difference on the thermometer, so this is a great time to reconnect. Contact us to get started on your new message.

September 6, 2013

Create Great On-hold Messages: Fall into Solid Marketing Habits

great on-hold messagesAh, fall. It’s a time when kids head back to school, the temperatures begin to cool, and Mother Nature awes us with her show of color. It’s also a great time to get focused on your business goals so that you can slide into the end of year on a high note. There are many things you can do to end the year with solid marketing habits, and one thing you can start with is to create great on-hold messages.

 

What is going on in your business that you can share with your callers this fall? For instance, car dealerships are looking to empty out their 2012 inventory to make room for the 2013 models. Many other companies also strive to clear inventory by the end of the year, so consider featuring a different product weekly to develop great on-hold messages.

 

Of course, there are a number of holidays coming up in the next few months, and this is a great time to tie into holiday preparations. Halloween, Thanksgiving, and winter holidays seem to come earlier each year, so get your customers ready by offering them specials or bringing attention to these events.

 

If you don’t have anything about autumn, winter, or end-of-year events to share in your business, a change of season is still a great time to update your on-hold message. How about an educational tidbit? An answer to frequently asked questions? When we turn the page on a season, it’s always a good reminder to test your smoke detectors, replace the batteries in your emergency flashlights, and update your on-hold messages.

 

Still not sure what to say to create great on-hold messages this fall? Our team of scriptwriters will create compelling copy that our talent will record and our editing team will put together so your customers will WANT to be on hold!

August 26, 2013

On-hold Messages and Back-to-School Season

on-hold messages and back-to-school season

Across the country, children are gearing up for their next year in school (and some have already started!). Their backpacks are new and packed full of the supplies they’ll need to learn more information in this new grade. The smell of freshly sharpened pencils fills the air, and the excitement is palpable. Perhaps your company marketing ties in with this somehow. If it does, you need to find a way to link on-hold messages and back-to-school season specials to make the most of this time of year.

 

If your target market includes students, the tie-in with students returning to school is pretty easy. But you can still reach out to potential and existing customers with a unique message that fits with the energy this time of year. For instance, stay-at-home parents have a lot of time on their hands and an empty house once the children return to school. Now is a great time to suggest home upgrades including landscaping, pools, construction, furniture, and flooring. Parents may be wondering what to do with no little ones under foot, so tailor your on-hold messages and back-to-school season — and watch your revenues increase.

 

Another way to reach students and parents this time of year is through educational tidbits. Even the simple reminder that school is back in session and that your customers should keep an eye out for buses and kids can be well received. Essentially, it doesn’t matter what you’re selling or offering, you can always be timely in your messages with some gentle tweaks.

 

In your on-hold messages, be sure to change your approach to talk about back to school from mid-August to the beginning of September. That way, you can catch both K–12 and college students.

 

Questions about how to reach your customers by tying together on-hold message and back-to-school season? Our team of talented scriptwriters works with you to create something that speaks to your unique selling proposition and helps to add dollars to your bottom line. Contact us to learn more.

July 9, 2013

What’s the Frequency, Kenneth?

frequency of on-hold musicR.E.M. famously immortalized Dan Rather’s unfortunate interaction with two assailants in their 1994 song, “What’s the frequency, Kenneth?” While no one is quite sure what those two people meant when they were attacking Rather, the question is a viable one for on-hold messages. The frequency with which you’re repeating your commercials can make a big impact on listeners, especially if your hold times tend to be longer.

Creating the right number of on-hold messages that rotate at the right frequency is an art. And it should be based on how long your customers are typically on hold. For instance, if they’re on hold 1–3 minutes, one cycle works; for 5–10 minutes, they’ll probably hear things two or three times.

There are, of course, pluses and minuses to having your information repeat during the call.

As a plus, it’s been clinically proven that people need to hear things a number of times before they stick. If they only hear a special promotion once while on hold, they may not remember it. By the third time, it will have more permanency.

On the flipside, a negative could be hearing the same message a number of times if it’s not compelling, and then you’re just going to annoy those same people to whom you’ve been trying to market. And if you’re only playing music, you want to be sure listeners aren’t hearing the same tune over and over.

While we’re on the subject, make sure that the messages you’re sharing follow a good pace. Typically, commercials are about 30 seconds, and they should only share one salient point per message. You can’t expect to get everything into half a minute unless you’re speaking too quickly for anyone to understand — and then the point will be missed anyway.

When you work with America On Hold, we take care of everything so you’ll never have to worry about the answer to the question, “What’s the frequency, Kenneth?” You’ll just know it’s right.

June 18, 2013

Your Call IS Important to Us. Really.

your call is important to usWhen callers call in to your company to reach a customer-service professional, they may only have a quick question to ask, one which may already have an answer somewhere else. How about directing those customers to different ways to connect with you and find out those simple answers?

If your customers’ calls are important to you—and, of course, they are—you want to resolve the reason for their call faster rather than slower. What if the answer is on your website in the FAQ section? Or they can reach an associate via social media during your high-traffic phone times? You can utilize your on-hold messaging to provide those alternative ways to reach you to give them even better customer service.

Some businesses may find that a message on their on-hold system can be a great way to answer those common questions. For instance, an electricity provider may let callers know which areas don’t have service while they’re waiting to call in the outage. If you receive questions that frequently, incorporating them into your phone system is one solution.

Remember that your on-hold messages are just one component of an integrated marketing campaign, which may include social media, direct marketing, website, and advertising. The more closely you can link all of those—and create a reason for customers to interact with you on multiple levels—the faster your efforts will pay off.

So, when you script your new on-hold message, consider adding the different ways your customers can reach you quickly to find out the answers to their questions. You’ll see that your customer service level and the customer experience will get better and better!

Have a question about creating your new on-hold message campaign? Contact America On Hold at 877.239.HOLD.

June 10, 2013

Your Phone As an Electric Lobby

electric lobbySuccessful companies understand how to take advantage of every point of contact with consumers. Many companies focus on making their websites and physical locations friendly and inviting to customers, but few extend those to all points of contact. Are your other points of contact with customers equally helpful and inviting? Instead of thinking of your phone as just another means of communication, consider your phone as an electric lobby.

Your phone is the first point of contact when customers call your business. Obviously, you should ensure the person representing your business is professional, courteous, and helpful. What happens when all your company representatives are on the phone with customers and incoming calls must be placed on hold? If you’re still thinking of your phone as an “electronic lobby,” how inviting is your company to on-hold customers?

If the answer isn’t “Very!” you are missing out on good impressions and valuable sales. How do you make your electronic lobby more inviting to consumers? Take advantage of on-hold messages! Sure, playing music while on hold is a step up from total silence, but surely, you can be more creative. When  customers are on hold, they are a captive audience. Engage with your audience!

Use on-hold messages to share information about your company, current specials, other points of contact (email, social media, etc.), and so much more! On-hold messages are easy to change, so you have the option of testing different messages to see which garner a better response (for more information on testing different messages, click here).

On-hold messages are customized for every business. When customers call your business and receive a customized on-hold message, they view your business as more reliable. Many customers associate customized on-hold messages with larger corporations, so smaller businesses utilizing hold messaging have the added advantage of those associations.

On-hold messages allow you to connect and engage with customers in a customized way. Turn your dead on-hold air into an inviting “electronic lobby” and watch your sales increase!

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