“Serve” Your Customer with Pleasant, Productive Hold Time

Filed under: On Hold Messaging — admin @ 11:44 am

~ This was posted on - June 27, 2009

We all know what it’s like to be on the customer side and receive poor customer service, or to have to deal with the frustrations of long hold times, user-unfriendly phone trees, and annoying “Muzak” ™, only to be rewarded by rude, inept, seemingly apathetic “customer service” reps (let alone “Paul” from India who asks, “May I be knowing the reason you are calling today, Mr. Holdon?”  …As my elderly mother, who seems to think that there is just one guy, who really is named “Paul”, who answers all customer service calls to India, says “I don’t like that man.  I don’t have time for it!  I don’t want to keep rebooting my computer.  I don’t want to talk to him!”)

This response to a blog post entitled “Customer Servitude” articulates what many of us may be feeling…

“I fear true customer service is a thing of the past.  Unfortunately we live in a world where technology over powers us, with that we loose the human connection, or once we get the human connection  “we’re putting them out”. God forbid they have to communicate with someone, never mind trying to help someone. If you’re lucky, really lucky, you may just get someone who is cordial to you and willing to help. These people are few and far between who hold the true meaning of customer service.”

Regardless of the medium, every minute of contact between your customer and you is important.  From perusing your website to walking into your physical location to picking up your brochure to calling you on the phone – and yes, to those seconds or minutes “waiting on hold” – each is an opportunity to help or hurt your customer’s impression of you.

Your decision to add “music on hold” to your phone system (or to improve the quality of your current on-hold music or message) is a good one.  Whether your customer is calling to buy, to get information, to complain, or even to compliment, if you can’t answer their call immediately you should strive to ensure that their time on hold is pleasant and even productive – for both of you.

Maximize Your Hold Music

Filed under: Music On Hold — admin @ 9:48 pm

~ This was posted on - June 24, 2009

What do you think of when you hear the words “on hold”?  I’m going to guess that for most people, the connotations are less than positive.  To put a project “on hold” means to postpone it or block its forward progress.  Typical “on hold” experiences for people calling businesses or organizations on the telephone range from the mildly irritating to the outright maddening.  One of my personal pet peeves is the cognitive dissonance I experience when my “listening pleasure” is interrupted with “Your call will be answered in the order in which it was received” as opposed to a more grammatically correct alternative such as, “Calls are answered in the order in which they are received”, prompting me to shout into the phone, “If you’re going to interrupt that stupid music at least use good grammar!”  But I digress.

Because most businesses need to keep their callers “on hold” for so much of the time, strategies have been developed to minimize the negativity.  Simple, often cheesy “hold music” such as what we might think of as “Muzak” ™ has been widely used, while targeted, custom written and produced messages combined with better quality “hold music” have grown in popularity in recent years.  Fortunately, it’s becoming less common to encounter a business or organization that doesn’t have at least some kind of “hold music” instead of empty silence.  At least you know your call is still connected.

The telephone has played a major role in the world of business almost ever since Alexander Graham Bell’s famous, “Mr. Watson–come here—I want to see you” back in 1876.  Today, evolving technology has dramatically modified the way companies use telephone technology, but its importance remains undiminished.  If anything, telephone communications management may be more critical than ever.

“Face-to-face contact between consumers and businesses has decreased in direct relation to the advancement in communication technology.  Establishing and maintaining consumer-business relationships is now heavily dependent on great service, including fast turnaround times and quality phone contact.”  (Wikipedia)

While most sales managers would cut off their right arm if it meant “getting the phone to ring”, simply getting customers to call is not enough.  What happens next is just as important.

“…85% of consumers would stop doing business with a company based entirely on poor experience with their call management… [2] …Using Messages On Hold has been proven to reduce caller hang ups by 79%.” (ibid)

If your “hold music” project is “on hold”, perhaps it’s time you “take it off the back burner” and learn how to leverage this invaluable tool.

Use your phone system to reduce costs.

Filed under: Creative Marketing Ideas,Music On Hold — admin @ 7:14 am

~ This was posted on - June 15, 2009

Hold time Studios provides custom, regularly updated music on hold and onhold messaging for a range of business types from financial services to manufacturing to healthcare – and just about everyone in-between. From the professional quality of the finished production to the flexibility to work with most phone systems (including Avaya, Cisco, Panasonic, Mitel, and NEC) to the low cost onhold messaging from Holdtime makes good sense. Why should you consider the benefits of onhold messaging for your company? Let’s use a nautical metaphor to paint the picture…

Sailing the seas of today’s business climate is not for the faint of heart! You need savvy and grit to stay the course. Jumping through all of the legal hoops and clearing the hurdles of red tape and paperwork just to be able to get your “ship” out of the harbor, is only the beginning. Endless challenges await on the open sea. Pirates (commonly referred to as “excessive taxes”) seem to be constantly on the increase plundering and extorting (and beware running aground on “hidden” taxes!) Rival merchants vie for precious customers at every port. Then there’s the cost of equipping and maintaining your ship and crew. If you’re determined to stay the course and not abandon ship, you have to find a way to lighten the load as you leverage the “wind” that drives your ship forward.

Cash flow is the wind in your sails, and the key to cash flow is customers. “Top of mind awareness” could be the “sails” in our analogy. Yes, you may need to cut back on marketing ideas that are not cost effective, but eliminate marketing entirely and you’ll likely find yourself dead in the water. For many reasons, customer retention is often as or more important to cash flow as customer acquisition. Whether for taking care of existing customers or “reeling in” the ones “on the line”, few marketing strategies match the efficiency, flexibility, and cost benefits of onhold messaging. Strategic use of your phone system through onhold messaging could be just what you need to give you the edge to “bring your ship to port”. You can listen to samples of Holdtime’s custom onhold messaging right now at Hold Time Studios.

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