Start 2014 Fresh On Hold

The start of the new year is the perfect time to enhance your marketing with custom on-hold messages from Hold for Less. (iStockphoto)

With the start of a new year comes a world of possibilities for your business. Here is one sure thing: your telephone will remain a critical communication tool.

People might be finding your business in lots of new ways, from social media to mobile searches. But regardless of how they discover you, the majority of prospects still call before making that final decision to do business with you.

With all of those people calling, it is inevitable that some of them will be placed on hold. That is a critical moment that can make or break a deal. Offer them silence on hold, and many will abandon the call within a minute. And most of them will not call back. They will simply move to the next business on their list.

You can prevent that with custom on-hold messages from Hold for Less. Eighty-four percent of callers say they prefer to hear relevant content while placed on hold. This is the perfect opportunity for you to separate your business for the competition in callers’ minds.

Well-crafted on-hold messages accurately reflect your brand. At Hold for Less, we can use a script you provide to produce your custom messages. Or we will help you identify key topics for your message, and then our scriptwriters can take it from there. Either way, the end result is targeted marketing messages that deliver results.

If you are not utilizing on-hold messages to grow your business, then 2014 is the perfect time to start. If you are using on-hold messages, when was the last time you updated your message? Now is the perfect time for you to update your band on hold.

Now is the time to plot your course for success in 2014. Don’t delay. If on-hold messages are part of that plan, contact Hold for Less today!

Customer Service Must Be Personal

A personal approach to service in every channel will keep customers smiling. (iStockphoto)

The world of customer service has changed a lot in recent years. Increased customer expectations have made defining customer service a bit of a moving target. But one thing is for sure: customer service should never me something you put on auto-pilot.

Take Amazon, for instance. The company has generated a lot of positive buzz recently with its “Mayday” button on the new Kindle Fire HDX. And founder Jeff Bezos generated a lot of interesting talk with the announcement of plans to use drones for same-day delivery. But the company also appears to be frustrating customers with a “copy-and-paste” approach with outsourced customer service reps.

Then there’s Pace Picante Sauce’s totally avoidable Twitter war with a stand-up comic. This turned out to be some negative PR that could have been avoided by giving the keys to the Twitter account to a person, not a computer.

Some companies are getting it right. Like DiGiorno Pizza. The company’s live tweets during NBC’s telecast of “The Sound of Music” were a big hit because one clever human managing DiGiorno’s Twitter account showed some personality and had a little fun.

Your customer service doesn’t have to be hilarious. But it does have to be personal. That goes for every customer-service channel you use: social media, email, in-person and the telephone.

Telephone customer support means that you will have to place callers on hold at some point. Make sure you don’t drop the ball by adding custom on-hold messages from Hold for Less. With custom on-hold messages, you can keep callers informed and entertained when you have to press hold. Don’t let callers feel like they are lost in a vacuum. Add a personal touch to your “HOLD” button today!

 

Mobile Search is an Open Line to Your Business Telephones

A recent survey showed most mobile searches will click-to-call directly from search results. On-hold messages will keep those callers engaged when you have to place them on hold. (iStockphoto)

There is no doubt that smartphones and the Internet are changing the way consumers find the companies they do business with. Those changes are proving to be a boost for a much more traditional piece of business technology: the telephone.

A recent survey found that 70 percent of mobile searchers reported they click-to-call directly from search results. Google is responsible for 40 million calls to businesses monthly, according to the survey. And 61 percent of respondents said those calls were important not just for research but for making purchases as well. The survey even showed that just putting a phone number in search results strongly influences searchers’ perception of the brand.

If you aren’t listing your company’s phone number in all of your search results, then you are missing out on the opportunity to make a great impression on prospects at their initial points of discovery.

If you are listing your telephone number, the potential growth in call volume is a great reminder for why you need effective on-hold messages. Marketing on hold is the best way to enhance callers’ perceptions of your brand when you can’t take their calls right away.

On-hold messages educate and even entertain callers when they are placed on hold. Studies show callers who hear messages on hold will stay on hold up to three minutes longer than those who hear silence or just music on hold. They are a direct connection to market your products and services to your hottest prospects. And the perfect script, combined with the right voice talent and background music, gives callers the right impression of your brand.

If you aren’t taking advantage of on-hold messages to connect with all of those mobile searchers, Hold for Less can help you get started today!

GM Exec Turns to Telephone to Boost Customer Service

General Motors has put Alicia Boler-Davis in charge of boosting customer service. She is making the telephone a key component of that initiative. On-hold messages can help any company improve service by keeping callers engaged and entertained while on hold. (GM photo)

General Motors has a new executive charged with improving customer service. Alicia Boler-Davis has been on the job about four months, and she has some lofty goals for improving the automaker’s reputation for bad customer care.

She believes better service can improve customer loyalty. A one-percent boost in loyalty can raise revenue by $700 million. Her aim is to push the company’s loyalty rate from about 53 percent currently to more than 60 percent.

But she’s not relying on the latest and greatest technologies in social media to make it happen. Instead, Boler-Davis is turning to a tried and true method of communication: the telephone.

One of her goals is to bring call-center employees back in house, even though it’s a big expense. But she goes one step farther. Boler-Davis personally fields a handful of calls from GM owners every week.

Every company, regardless of size, should care about its telephone service the way Boler-Davis does at GM. Many customers still prefer to call a business for a service issue, despite the proliferation of other communication options.

And if your customers do call, it’s inevitable that some of those calls will be placed on hold. If you don’t have on-hold messages for your business telephone, your missing a real opportunity to score customer-service points.

Studies show that many callers will hang up in less than a minute if they get silence when place on hold. On-hold messages not only keep callers on the line, they educate and entertain them while they wait. That can make the hold time seem shorter and much more pleasant.

If on-hold messages are not part of your telephone customer service strategy, Hold for Less has everything you need to get started today.

Update On-Hold Messages for the Holidays and Beyond

Now is the time to think about updating your on-hold messages for the holiday season, as well as fresh on-hold marketing for 2014. (iStockphoto)

It seems that every year finishes with a mad dash to Dec. 31, and each year it seems faster than the year before. Halloween is nearly upon us. Before you know it, we will be eating way too much at the Thanksgiving feast, tearing into our Christmas presents and toasting the New Year.

Is your business ready for it all?

Now is the perfect time to prepare not only for the holiday shopping season, but for 2014 and beyond. Make sure you include on-hold messages in all of your marketing plans.

Do you have custom on-hold messages for the holidays? Seasonal music and festive greetings are a great way to spread a little cheer. Hold for Less can deliver custom holiday on-hold messages to you before the Thanksgiving turkey is thawed.

But what about after the holidays?

Stop and think about your current on-hold messages. When was the last time you updated them? Has anything about your business changed since then? Can your regular callers recite them to you? If so, it’s probably time for a change. Or maybe you don’t have anything for callers when you have to place them on hold. If that’s the case, then it’s definitely time to make a change.

Resolve now to make a bigger impact with fresh on-hold marketing in 2014. We have everything you need to create powerful marketing messages, from scriptwriting to voice talents to a library of background music. Get started today with custom on-hold messages from Hold for Less, before the final strains of “Auld Lang Syne” fade away.

Netflix Rep Shows ‘Character,’ Keeps Customer Happy

Netflix is getting rave reviews for the customer service of one "Capt. Mike." (photo by Bryan Gosline via Creative Commons)

Netflix has gotten a lot of great press this week thanks to the work of one fun-loving and dedicated customer-service representative.

We know this customer-service hero only as Capt. Mike. That’s how he introduced himself during the online service chat: “This is Capt. Mike of the good ship Netflix, which member of the crew am I speaking with today?”

Perhaps a bit disarmed by that, the customer jumped on board and identified himself as Lt. Norm. From there the two stayed in Star Trek character as they work through Lt. Norm’s issue with streaming an episode of “Parks and Recreation.”

Capt. Mike is being praised because of a simple but courageous act: he chose to let a little personality shine through. It’s true that it could have backfired. Lt. Norm could have missed the joked entirely or chose not to play along.

Instead, Capt. Mike made a connection and kept a customer. In fact, at the end of the chat when Capt. Mike asked Lt. Norm if he had any other Netflix issues, Lt. Norm replied “I almost wish there were.” When was the last time someone felt that way after bringing a complaint to your customer service department?

Like Netflix, every business has a culture, a “personality” if you will. Chances are your best employees and customers match that personality. Winning at customer service means empowering employees within the framework of the personality to strengthen those connections with customers at every touch point: in-store, online and on the telephone.

Your on-hold messages also should reflect that personality in order to connect to callers when you can’t answer right away. Hold for Less has everything you need to create custom on-hold messages that will engage and elate your callers. We’ll move at warp speed to get you started. Give us a try today!

Is it Time to Evaluate Your Customer’s Experience?

Use trusted friends or even employees as "consultants" to help you evaluate the customer experience in your business. (iStockphoto)

The “customer experience” is all the rage these days. Businesses of all types are striving to create an environment that keeps customers coming back.

And that makes sense. We’ve all heard it costs more to get new customers than it does to keep your current ones. That’s true in regard to your advertising and marketing budget. But the efforts you make to keep current customers might have the added benefit of attracting new customers as well.

It’s not hard to evaluate the customer experience in your business, either. Some businesses are using their employees as “consultants.” But even if you run a small operation with a handful of employees, you have trusted friends you can ask to provide you honest feedback to improve your business.

The goal of such an initiative is to understand the customer’s reality of doing business with you. Here is a sampling of some of the things you should learn:

  • What’s it like to make a purchase from your business?
  • How easy is your business (and its website) to navigate for customers?
  • How easy is the process of registering a complaint?
  • Are customers treated with respect when doing business with you?

If you choose to evaluate your customers’ experience, don’t forget to include your telephone. After all, many people still prefer to call before making the decision to do business with you. Make sure your “customer experience consultants” call your business. Have them rate your employees’ telephone skills. Make sure they get place on hold, too. More than half of callers to business get placed on hold, so it’s a critical part of the customer experience.

If the on-hold experience with your business comes up short, Hold for Less can help you fix that. We have everything you need, from equipment to scriptwriting to complete production services, to create custom on-hold messages that will keep your callers engaged and one the line until you can take their calls.

A little effort can go a long way to improve the customer experience at your business. And your customers will reward you in turn with their loyalty. It’s a win-win situation.

Choosing the Right On-Hold Equipment

The right on-hold messaging equipment can keep you and your customers from getting frustrated when you can't take a call right away. (iStockphoto)

You have choices everywhere you turn. It seems that at McDonald’s, you might have too many choices. You have lots of choices when it comes to your on-hold messaging equipment, too. But don’t worry. We are here to help you make the right choice.

The first thing to consider when selecting on-hold equipment is your telephones. Do you have a commercial telephone system? If so, your system likely has a built-in connection for any of our on-hold music and messages equipment. If you are unsure of whether your telephone system is capable, check out our compatibility chart.

If you do not have a telephone system, chances are you have a two- or four-line telephone. That means you will need an adapter to connect the on-hold equipment to your telephone. The adapter will connect the caller to the on-hold message when you press “Hold” or, in some cases, the “Flash” or “Star” key on your phone. If you need help selecting an adapter, we have you covered. Check out the adapter selection guide.

With those logistics out of the way, the next thing to consider is they type of media you want to play the on-hold messages. Hold for Less has several options available. We have on-hold equipment that plays your messages from CDs. With a CD unit, we deliver the on-hold messages via email, and you burn them onto a CD and load it into the unit.

We also have on-hold equipment that takes removable media, such as USB drives. If you choose this option, you can save your on-hold messages onto your computer and copy them to the USB drive, then load the drive into the on-hold player.

We also have players that allow you to update the on-hold messages over your computer network.

Each option offers its own unique pros and cons. For example, if you have a CD unit and order special on-hold messages for the holidays, will you remember where you stored the CD next year. With a USB unit, you can save the messages on your computer, but you still have to walk to the phone room every time you want to swap messages. Network-based units eliminate the walk to the phone room, but for some companies they pose a security risk.

We are happy to discuss all the options with you. Just give us a call at (866) 226-8742. Or, if you are looking for more information, download our “Non-Techie Guide to On-Hold Technology.”

On-Hold Messages are Part of Good Customer Service Plans

Custom on-hold messages help large and small businesses strengthen their customer-service initiatives. (iStockphoto)

Achieving good customer service can be a lot like herding cats these days.

After all, “good” customer service means different things to different businesses? For some larger companies, it means processing lots of “tickets” through call centers. Other companies see it as quick responses on all of their social media channels. And a small, local hardware store might define good customer service as taking the time to show someone how to use the new chain saw he just bought.

Yes, every business might see customer service differently. But the biggest issue in defining good customer service is that good service will vary from customer to customer, and each one of those customers is right in that particular situation.

The best thing any business, large or small, can do is put the customer first in every service issue. Know when to abandon the caller-per-hour quota so a customer service rep can stay on the line as long as it takes to make one caller happy. Take the extra time to ensure your are selling someone the right thing to meet their needs, not just some thing.

Truly, the heart of customer service is simple: putting the customer first. The challenge is that every new means to engage the customer brings with it new expectations.

Even in today’s ever-expanding landscape of customer connections, your business telephone remains a popular choice. And since more than half of calls to businesses are  placed on hold, good on-hold messages must be a part of any good customer service strategy.

Here’s just a few things custom on-hold messages can do for you:

Keep callers on the line: Studies show callers will hang up within 30 seconds with silence on hold. Most will not call back.

Market directly to your best prospects: Callers have shown enough interest in your business to take the time to call. Custom on-hold messages can deliver your best marketing messages to your best targets at a key decision-making moment.

Assist callers with common requests: On-hold messages cannot predict every reason someone would call your business. But they are a great place to answer a few common questions callers have. They also are a good place to promote your website, where callers can find more information they need.

When it comes to on-hold messages, Hold for Less has everything you need to elevate your customer service from good to great. Let us help you get started today.

 

How to Pick Good On Hold Music

Listening to the radio is fine entertainment, but it is not only ineffective as on-hold messaging, it also violates copyright law. (iStockphoto)

We recently discussed the basic elements of a good on-hold message script. But even the best on-hold script sounds flat without good background music. Music adds a layer of depth to your on-hold marketing that keeps callers engaged. It also creates the mental space to let each message stand on its own, instead of becoming one jumbled informational mass.

So what does the right on-hold music sound like? Here are a few things to consider:

The best way to start a discussion about what is good on-hold music is to address what is NOT good on hold.

Playing the radio is not good: At first blush it might seem like a simple solution. After all, you probably advertise on a particular radio station because you are reaching the right audience. But playing the radio on hold is fraught with problems. First, it violates copyright laws and opens your business up to big fines. Second, it also exposes your callers to competitors that also advertise on the radio. If callers get impatient on hold, they might just try calling the other guys.

Playing CDs or MP3 files is not good: Putting songs from your personal music library on hold solves the issue of callers hearing your competitors’ ads on the radio. But it does still violate copyright law.

So what makes good on-hold music?

Good on-hold music fits your brand: Your business has a personality. That personality is undoubtedly a reflection of your own personality. But when it comes to business, we call it a brand. That brand might be laid-back, fun-loving and casual. It might be buttoned-down and spit-and-polish. Or it might be something in between. The background music in your on-hold messages needs to reflect your brand. Remember, some callers are contacting your business for the first time. That first impression must be an accurate one.

Good on-hold music compliments the messages: The right on-hold music matches the pace and intensity of your messages as well as your brand. It is the thread that ties all of the individual paragraphs into a cohesive unit. Good on-hold music also is professionally mixed so that it does not overpower the messages.

Hold for Less has a full library of royalty-free music that will enhance your on-hold messages. Check it out today!