Think “On-Hold Message” Instead of “On-Hold Music”

Filed under: On Hold Messaging — admin @ 7:24 pm

~ This was posted on - October 29, 2009

One of the advantages of hiring a company like Holdtime Studios to do your on-hold messaging is the convenience of having your on-hold messages downloaded into your on-hold player via the Internet. (There seems to be some confusion, generally, regarding what is meant by the terms “upload” and “download”. In this case, it would be more correct to say “uploaded”, since it’s a process of Holdtime sending the data (music/message recording) to your on-hold music player. From your perspective, however, it may feel more like a download.)

Why is this a benefit? Because it allows for easy, frequent updating of your on-hold music and message. If your perception of your “on-hold” loop (i.e. what people calling in to your telephone system hear when they are placed on hold) is “music on hold”, meaning primarily music and not spoken messages, the value here may not be immediately apparent. Sure, it’s nice to freshen up the on-hold music every once in a while, but there is something of far greater value that you are failing to take advantage of. The true value of this convenience becomes clearer when you consider just what you can do by utilizing your on-hold loop as an active, rather than a passive medium (think of having a car that you never drive but only use to sit in and listen to the radio!) Some examples:

• Tell customers about new products and services.
• Stimulate powerful emotional responses or paint word pictures through humor, entertaining trivia, personal stories, customer testimonials, company history, and more.
• Direct callers to your website, where they can potentially take care of many of the things they might have been calling you about including get driving directions or your mailing address, find out about your products and services, get additional news about your company, set, change, or cancel appointments, shop at your online store, communicate with you via email, live chat, etc., and on the list goes. All of this, of course, potentially saves you that much time when your customers take care of such business via your website instead of tying up your personnel on the telephone – and that’s a potential, secondary benefit of pro-actively using your on-hold music and messaging system.

So, there are two main points I hope to inspire you to think about:

1. Instead of “on-hold music”, think “on-hold message”.
2. Keep your on-hold message fresh, current, and informative.

By the way, if you stumbled upon this blog by doing a web search on “music on hold download”, or some similar phrase, you might be more in the “do-it-yourself” category, so you may or may not be interested in having Holdtime Studios take care of your on-hold messaging. Those for whom the phrase “music on hold download” means music beds they download for their on-hold music player can, of course, find lots of options for downloadable on-hold music online. For the rest, however, who are less comfortable with the idea of adding one more technological learning curve to their plate, not to mention the time and energy necessary to write, record, and produce custom on-hold messages once, let alone on an on-going, regular basis, a service such as Holdtime Studios is a perfect solution.

Telephone On Hold Music – A Downside with a Big Upside

Filed under: Music On Hold — admin @ 1:58 pm

~ This was posted on - October 6, 2009

No matter how you slice it, there’s just no free lunch. Take the case of technology, for example. Modern, computer-based, digital technology in particular. I remember just short of a couple of decades ago when we all began to be sold like never before on the marvelous ways technology was going to improve our lives. Personal computers, cell phones, etc., were going to increase our efficiency so much that we’d all get our work done in half the time and have more time to enjoy life and the things that matter, such as friends and family. While it would be tough to deny that the list of things we can now do with computers, the internet, cell phones, pda’s, etc. is so long and so impressive that it would have sounded like sheer science fiction just a few years ago, the problem is that the more technological capabilities we have the more things we discover that we can do or think we need to do or want to do or to try to do with that technology. I am not aware of anyone talking about all the extra time they now have on their hands thanks to modern technology. If anything, it seems to be the opposite.

In today’s world of on-hold messaging there is a wide range of “telephone on hold music players” to add to your phone system. Thanks to all the new technology, no longer are you limited to either locking into an over-priced, poorly serviced, long-term contractual relationship with Muzak, or, playing your competitors’ radio ads into your phone system for the listening pleasure of your on-hold customers. The good news is that you have a lot more options to choose from. The downside? There’s a lot more information to wade through and homework to do to determine exactly what you want, how to hook it up to your phone system, how to use it, what the legal ramifications and issues are of playing music produced by someone else, and more. While there is no free lunch, there is a silver lining in that all of this has created a business niche that has been filled very effectively by companies like Holdtime Studios, where custom-written messages, broadcast quality fully licensed music beds, professional audio production, equipment selection and installation, and system and message updating and maintenance are all included in the service. The only downside that I can think of to this picture is that there is a fee involved, but the amount is so small that it’s not really much of a downside at all, especially in light of all of the benefits.

Turning Your Music On Hold Player into a Guerilla Marketing Machine

Filed under: Hold Music Player — admin @ 12:07 pm

~ This was posted on - October 3, 2009

Your Music On Hold Player.

It’s a catch-22. Customers are your life-blood, and marketing is a primary tool for attracting customers, but in times of “fat-trimming” and “cost-cutting” the marketing budget often seems to be one of the easier places to cut back. Because marketing is not an obviously non-optional cost – such as payroll or the electricity bill – and because its “return on investment” is not always easy to quantify, it is sometimes perceived as “non-essential”. Consequently, many businesses make the mistake of eliminating marketing and advertising altogether during lean times. As a result, the door is left wide open for competitors to pick up market share. Even if they don’t, a business that is “out of sight” quickly becomes “out of mind”. When customers are in the market for your products or services, don’t expect them to think of you first, unless you’ve taken steps to ensure that they do so. How can you reduce your marketing expenses without turning off the spigot altogether? “Guerilla marketing”. Simple translation: Get creative. I.e., look for ways to continue to communicate with customers besides traditional, high-cost venues such as radio, television, print, or even direct-mail.

One of the easiest and cheapest guerilla marketing tools may already be hanging on the wall in your phone closet this very minute. That is, your music on hold player. “On hold marketing” has much to commend it. Connecting with the customers who are calling you right now may be one of the most cost-effective ways to maintain “top of mind awareness” – not only with the customers who are calling you today, but with your customers generally. Effective on hold messages can plant seeds that bear fruit in the future. The cost is a fraction of most other marketing channels, and the audience is warm and thinking about your company and your products or services. You’re not interrupting them or asking them to “change gears” to consider your message. Customers of Holdtime Studios typically pay less than five hundred dollars per year and receive regularly updated, custom written, professionally produced messages each season – i.e., several times a year. Customers calling you this season can be targeted with ideas and information that translates into action next season. Holdtime customers have even been known to pick up “word of mouth” and referral business as customers tell other customers about messages they heard while “on hold”.

It’s a matter of keeping the momentum going. Or, as the old saying goes, “a bird in hand is worth two in the bush”.

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