If You Forget, On Hold Messages Remember

Forget On Hold MessagesIt’s 9 am and you’re open for business. People are walking in the front door, the phones are ringing, there are emails that need answering and customers you have to serve right now. Someone wants hammers but you’re too busy to mention you also have nails. Maybe it’s a hat and you’re too rushed to remember your selection of gloves and coats. They may need legal or health services and you forget to tell them about your experience and successes in those fields.

With that kind of pressure, it’s easy to forget to remember

But don’t forget about what may be the most overlooked and under appreciated ‘member of your team’, your telephones and your ‘on-hold messages’ that could or should be playing on them. Your on-hold messages give you the perfect chance to quietly and effectively inform, sell, and ‘cross-sell’, callers waiting on-hold. (Remember when McDonald’s first asked, ‘would you like fries with your burger?’)
By the very fact that they’ve called and are now waiting on hold, your callers have already demonstrated their interest in buying something from you. The on-hold messages they hear will remind them that they may also need another product or service you offer.
Think of your callers as your ‘audience’ and remember they’ll be on-hold and listening for at least a brief period of time, during which they’ll learn a whole lot more about the products and services they may not have known you offer or hadn’t even considered.

With On-Hold messages, you’ve got a pleasant, professional and very inexpensive sales force quietly working for you.

For more, contact us at http://www.impactonhold.com. We’ll write and produce a FREE ‘demo’ on-hold program for your business. NO CHARGE, NO STRINGS.

A Different Season, Another Reason

For On-Hold Messages

Different Season Different ReasonSometimes in the lazy, hazy days of summer it’s easy to forget that the year has four very different seasons, each one with, its rewards, risks and requirements.

  • September means the beginning of Fall, with shorter days, cooler temperatures, autumn colors, Halloween, Thanksgiving, and likely rain and snow. For small businesses, medical offices and pharmacies, the Fall season also means a need to stock up on and promote the products and services which your customers will need for the new season.  Business owners know what they have to do, but your customers, still warmed by the summers’ sun, and unconcerned by changing seasonal inventory requirements, may not be thinking the way you are.

Now is the absolute right time for business owners to remind customers of what the new season is likely to bring and what you can do to get them ready.

  • Any time of the year, your on-hold messages provide a perfect opportunity to talk to your callers and customers on-hold. But when the seasons change, it’s more important  than ever  for you to tell them what your business can do to get them ready for the new season.

AND, DON’T FORGET TO UPDATE

  • In addition to new season information, does your business have new offerings, staff, website changes, or a new location your customers should know about? If you’re still playing old on-hold messages, appropriate to another season or even another year, then it’s time to update!

Contact us at http://www.impactonhold.com, and we’ll write and produce a free ‘demo’ on-hold program for your business. NO CHARGE, NO STRINGS.

 

Benjamin Franklin Said It

‘FISH AND HOUSE GUESTS START TO STINK AFTER 3-DAYS!

Fish StinksAgreed you say; but you may ask, WHAT does Ben’s truism have to do with on-hold messages?    If your on-hold messages have been playing on your telephones long enough to get old, tired, flat, no longer relevant, and maybe even irritating to callers and customers who’ve had to listen to them for too long, probably quite a lot.

TO AVOID AN UNPLEASANT PHONE FRAGRANCE YOU NEED ‘UPDATES’.

FRESH NEW MESSAGES AND MUSIC, REGULARLY

Still not convinced?  Maybe you’re already playing on-hold messages on your business telephones; been playing the same messages for years in fact , and they sound just fine. It’s not just how your messages sound, but what they’re saying.

  • Do they describe the products and services your customers need and want today?
  • Do you have new products or services not described in the old messages?
  • Do you have a new website you want your callers to visit?
  • Do you have new competition and do you need to remind your callers why you’re better?
  • Are you moving? Have you already moved to a new location?
  • Are you playing Winter messages but the season is Summer, Spring, Fall?
  • Do your customers need different products/services at different times during the year?
  • Do you want to give your customers tips or information?
  • Are they messages your callers will want to hear?

NOT A ‘GET- AND- FORGET’ PROJECT

AT&T has found that 7 out of every 10 callers will be placed on hold.  That means you really do need to know what your on-hold messages are saying to them.  Are they timely, relevant, and fresh?

Your On-Hold program should never be a ‘one-time,’get-and-forget’ project.  Marketing success will be achieved with updated, accurate information and no matter how often you change it. Impact On-Hold is ready to assist you with, or write, new updated programs of messages.

Contact us at http://www.impactonhold.com, and we’ll write and produce a free ‘demo’ on-hold program for your business. NO CHARGE, NO STRINGS.

 

SURE THE MUSIC MATTERS, BUT IS IT RIGHT?

Music MattersEarlier this year, in a blog entitled ‘Does Music Really Matter’, we built a strong case confirming that to be effective, on-hold messages need to be a good combination of both words and music.  And we had a great deal of support for that opinion from the experts.  In an article entitled ‘I Second that Emotion’, respected market research giant ‘Neilson Holdings’ wrote, ‘Music is powerful. It can make us smile or cry, bring memories back, and even inspire us to buy a product when it’s combined with the right advertisement.

And Daniel Jackson, CEO of ‘Cord Worldwide’, a London based music licensing firm said,Music is kind of the unsung hero of advertising. It’s in the background and it’s kind of an afterthought, but when you get it right, it creates a halo of engagement that delivers way more than the budget for it should say.’

  • I hope you noticed the five very important words Cord World Wide’s Daniel Jackson included in his support for on-hold messages with music. The five words are, ‘when you get it right.’ WHEN-YOU-GET THE MUSIC RIGHT!

 

  • We’ve all heard wasted on-hold messages with the wrong music. A dentists office with messages about painless root canals featuring background music designed to terrify. A lawyer with messages guaranteeing tough, relentless efforts, gently smothered with soothing, sleep inducing music An intimate, romantic little café with, (you guessed it), loud acid rock and roll. It happens all the time; too many on-hold producers, and their editors and sound engineers just don’t get it right! The music often has absolutely no relation to the messages or to the product or business. Result? Lost callers, customers, and business.

Try this test. Put yourself on hold at your business , listen to your messages, and ask yourself.

1) did they get it right?

2) Is our music on hold leading to sales, or costing us customers?’

If you answered NO to the first question and YES to the second, we’re ready to ’get it right!

Contact us at http://www.impactonhold.com, and we’ll write and produce a free ‘demo’ on-hold program for your business. NO CHARGE, NO STRINGS.

Male or Female Voice

SHOULD THE MESSAGE ON-HOLD ‘VOICE’ BE MALE OR FEMALE, YOUNG OR OLDER, FORCEFUL OR SOOTHING?

Male Voice | Female VoiceWill the choices never end? First you had to decide if your business was ready for an on¬¬-hold system; then there had to be a script with effective marketing messages, and now you wonder which is the right voice to deliver the messages to your callers on-hold. How will consumers respond to the voice they hear?

• An article in Speech Technology Magazine cites an important and thorough study which asked ‘are consumers more responsive to male or female voices? Writer Leonard Klie says,‘It’s not a decision that’s answered easily. Almost half of Americans (48 percent) believe a male voice is more forceful, while 46 percent believe a female voice is more soothing, according to a recent poll of nearly 2,200 U.S. adults by Adweek and Harris Interactive. However, almost half of U.S. adults also say it makes no difference to them—that neither voice is more forceful (49 percent) or more soothing (46 percent).’

That’s a revealing survey and among its discoveries it offers an interesting key finding. Almost half of US adults say whether the message is read by a male or female , ‘it makes no difference to them.’ But, the messages on-hold must be delivered by a voice that is pleasant, likeable, and skilled in creating effective word pictures. And that brings us to the responsibilities and career preparation required of the male and female ‘voice actors’, considered suitable for our clients messages on-hold.

• Voice Bunny is a company which trains and works with voice talent, and Grant Lindell writes, ‘…you can’t just jump into voice acting . You’re going to need proper training, equipment, resources, and yes some natural talent. The great news is that even though the voice over industry is competitive, there is plenty of voice over work out there for everyone.’

This is an unusual blog. It has been composed for two different audiences. First for our clients new and old. We want you to know that while your Impact On-Hold production begins with words and music it is made complete and effective because it will always be delivered by talent selected because their voices are best suited to match your business and ‘reach’ your callers.

The other audience is made up of voice actors. If you’ve done the preparation and mastered your craft, we’d like to know about it. Just click on the ‘Call To Action’ below to be in touch with us.

 

What Should A First Time Buyer Know?

To begin with, let’s reduce any feelings of buyer anxiety by guaranteeing, you won’t be a ‘pioneer’.  The business has been tried, tested and been proving its worth since 1962.

That’s when factory owner Alfred Levy discovered that he had some wiring problems at his factory, ‘He discovered that a loose wire was touching a metal girder on the building. This made the building a giant receiver so that the audio broadcast signal from a radio station next door would transmit through the loose wire and could be heard when calls were put on hold.[1] Levy patented his work in 1966.[2] While other advancements have come to change and enhance the technology, it was this initial patent creation that began the evolution for today’s music on hold. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Music_on_hold

Today, countless millions of businesses around the world are, politely asking some of their callers to, ‘please hold.’

Q & A’s FOR FIRST TIME BUYERS

  • Are messages on-hold expensive? Different suppliers have different prices, but overall ROI is excellent. 
  • Where and how do I get the messages? We, you, or both of us write scripts.  We provide music, voices, recording and message production.  We send the messages to you for play on your telephones.
  •  How do I play the messages on my phones? A digital message on-hold player is part of the package.  Just plug in the player and your callers hear your messages.*
  • Is it hard to set up? Can I do it myself? Sure! The program is emailed to you in MP3 format.  You 1) download, 2) save to your desktop, 3) drag onto a flash stick, 4) plug into the player’s USB port, and your callers are hearing your messages on your telephones.
  • Will my phones play messages on hold? Most telephone systems built over the past 20 years will.  If in doubt check your phone manual or with your telephone installer to be sure your phones can accommodate on-hold messages.   And remember, telephone adapters are available.   
  • Impact On-Hold also offers a Remote download, Digital player.This model is best for larger firms or those with a number of locations.

Ken Moriarity

(Just ask for Ken)

 

Do Words and Music Matter?

DO CALLERS EVEN CARE WHAT THEY HEAR WHILE WAITING ON-HOLD? DO WORDS AND MUSIC MATTER?

Every day at businesses all over America, when telephones ring, callers are often greeted with the words, ‘can you please hang on, I’m going to put you on-hold. But we’ll be back with you shortly.’ And right then the hopefully brief wait begins, and so do the messages and music. Sometimes the music is appropriate, carefully chosen to reflect well on the business and please and educate the caller, sometimes not.  While the caller waits the messages that he or she hears are often interesting, valuable and worth the wait, but other times they are not.

So depending on what you got from the company that supplied you with your on-hold program, the wait can be good or bad.

But does it really matter?  Do your callers even notice? Are they listening?

  • They are listening, but they don’t always like what they’re hearing. In a New York Times article entitled ‘Can I Put You On Hold?’ Stanley Fish describes an all too familiar story of getting the callers attention, but not in the right way. He writes ‘…when the tech specialist who has been unable to help you and seems now to be blaming you for his inability asks ever so politely, “May I put you on hold for a minute, you know (a) that you have no choice (b) that one minute will become five and then 10 (c) that you are likely be cut off and put in the position of starting all over again and (d) that in the event he does in fact return, you will be asked to execute still more procedures that will leave you exactly where you were when you were so foolish as to make the call in the first place.’ https://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/11/16/words-you-hate-to-hear/

The wait on hold does matter, and here’s why...

Your caller’s time is important; they called because they have a need and while on hold they’re listening to discover if you may have a solution. The key ‘take away’ here; make sure your messages are relevant to your callers on hold.  They must be meaningful, your music appropriate, and the wait on hold keyed to problem solving.

With Impact On-Hold on your team, you’ll have the kind of messages, music and support you need to take your callers from ‘contacts to customers.’

Ken Moriarity

IMPACT ON-HOLD

248 310-4571

(Just ask for Ken)

imponhold@aol.com

 

Pay Phones, Studebakers and On Hold Phrases

SIMILARITIES  BETWEEN PAY TELEPHONES, STUDEBAKERS AND SOME ON-HOLD PHRASES?  THEY’RE GONE OR GOING!

Because they’re so much a part of life today, you may think that on-hold messages have been around forever.  Not so.  As products and services go they’re a relatively new arrival, and as Wikipedia tells us, if it weren’t for a simple problem with a loose electrical wire, they still might not be here.

  • ‘Music on hold was created by Alfred Levy, an inventor, factory owner, and entrepreneur. In 1962, Levy discovered a problem with the phone lines at his factory. He discovered that a loose wire was touching a metal girder on the building. This made the building a giant receiver so that the audio broadcast signal from a radio station next door would transmit through the loose wire and could be heard when calls were put on hold. Levy patented his work in 1966. While other advancements have come to change and enhance the technology, it was this initial patent creation that began the evolution for today’s music on hold.

So 51 years ago with his patent, Alfred Levy originated the message on-hold business and as time went by the industry grew and multiplied.  And as it did certain phrases became an essential part of pretty much every package of on-hold messages. And some still are!

  • In a Slate Magazine article, writer Tom Vanderbilt describes one of those phrases,
  • ‘In 2012, according to Australia’s Sydney Morning Herald, an Adelaide man was kept on hold with the airline Qantas for 15 hours. As a recorded message affirmed, over and over, that a customer service agent would be with him “soon,” he simply stayed on—working, reading, waiting. As he told the newspaper, “I wanted to find out what exactly they meant when they said they would be with me as soon as possible.’

Good question mate!  But it’s just one that on-hold message writers need to consider when composing new scripts with old promises, clichés and language that are stiff, inappropriate, or meaningless. Think about some other old standby phrases like, ‘we apologize for this delay’.  Delay?  Some people listening on hold just got there.

  • What about a message giving your telephone number when your caller obviously already has it?
  • And even when the message is right, the language can be wrong. If you were actually speaking with your telephone caller, would you really say ‘We invite you to visit us at our web site.Rather formal. (Lighter is brighter.)
  • Whether on the telephone or off, we need to choose words that really talk to people.

These are just some of the old but tired phrases that have been part of the message on- hold industry for a long while.  Perhaps it’s time for a refreshing spring cleaning.

Best,

Ken Moriarity

IMPACT ON-HOLD

imponhold@aol.com

248 310-4571

(Just ask for Ken)

 

Time Spent On-Hold

WHAT IF YOUR CUSTOMERS CHARGED YOU FOR THEIR TIME SPENT ON-HOLD?

Time On HoldIt’s an awful thought, but in an article written for the Harvard Business Review by strategy expert Christopher Meyer, the question is raised. He asks ‘

What would happen if your customers charged you for their time-for every minute you left them hanging on hold?’  ‘What if every minute that passed… shaved a percentage off your price?’

And Chris Meyer answers his own question saying, ‘Your Company’s behavior would change drastically-and for the better.’ You’d probably begin by trying to establish the time when customer impatience sets in, and look for ways to minimize the wait.  But ‘when you couldn’t reduce the wait any more, you’d try to add value to the experience.’

In truth, customers aren’t likely to assess charges for non-value time spent waiting on-hold but they can show their impatience with long wait times and dull and meaningless messages by taking their business elsewhere. So how can you stop wasting your customer’s time? Meyer says we need to ‘Focus on finding those ‘points of impatience’ when a little bit of a customer’s time wasted causes disproportionate irritation.

And that’s when added value remedies should enter the picture. They should take the form of messages that offer unexpected benefits for the caller. They can emphasize an existing offer that customers have shown a liking for, something free always gets a callers attention, or as Christopher Meyer suggests, it might be something a  little more light-hearted, but attention getting, ‘Marriott’ pioneered this idea with its ‘on time or it’s on us’ program to improve its customer service. Marriott guaranteed that breakfast would arrive within 15 minutes of the order or the customer would not be charged.  In addition to pleasing customers, this program improved service; it forced discipline on hotel managers whose P&Ls would suffer if they had to foot the bill for all those eggs.’

You get the idea, fun but effective!

Bottom line, you and your on-hold message script writers need to put your heads together to come up with some new and fresh ideas for marketing messages that inform, educate and please your callers. We invite you to bring your ideas to us and Impact On-Hold will add the voices, music and collaboration needed to make your value added picture complete.

 

First Impressions

BECAUSE YOU NEVER GET A 2ND CHANCE TO MAKE A GOOD FIRST IMPRESSION

Good First ImpressionsYou’ve certainly heard the quote but have you ever wondered about the accuracy of that bit of wisdom and where it came from?  Some say it was first opined by Oscar Wilde, others Will Rogers, but nobody has evidence to back up the claim.  The earliest use that has been shown is actually in a 1966 AD for Botany Suits.

Writing in Psychology Today, Susan Krauss Whitbourne, Ph.D., professor of Psychological and Brain Sciences at the University of Massachusetts tells us that every time we meet someone new, first impressions are being made and our brain and most likely that of the other person are processing at warp speed.  ‘When people see you for the first time, their impressions form instantly on the basis of the visual cues your face and body provide. Within seconds, an impression of you is registered by others’… ‘They then go on to guess your approximate age. The final cue to the impression you make on others is provided by your appearance and how attractive they judge you to be.’

 

And Angela Erash of EPITEC, a people placing business, cautions that first impressions are not made only in the early stages of a career, but really anytime. ‘Halfway into your second week of work you may be introduced to someone new, and asked to do training with them, or even lunch with them.  You will be introduced, and then spend an hour or two with this new person.  During that entire time, it is important that you be attentive, look sharp, and present yourself in the best way possible.  Pay close attention to your demeanor, your body language, and your responsiveness.  That person may be your supervisor or peer one day, and they will always remember that first time spent with you, and their first impression of you.’ 

Genevieve Toop of REP a news source for Real Estate agents says, ‘The power of a first impression is undeniable. There is only one chance and the window is scarily short – between 7 and 17 seconds. Just like job interviews and first dates, first impressions in real estate are crucial; not only for us as agents, but also for a vendor’s or landlord’s property.

And think of this, the first contact many people will have with your business is at their end of the telephone. And the chances are statistically better than even that they will soon be placed on hold. The question becomes, will the caller still be there when the phone is answered or will ‘dead air’, awful music, or dull messages kill the conversation you might have had and the business you might have done, leaving you with a monthly telephone bill but, no sale.

Effective, interesting, on-hold messages can improve your image, result in more sales, make a good first impression and ensure that your callers will still be there when the phone is answered.