The #1 rule of music on hold

~ This was posted on - March 21, 2014

Our customers are in the midst of receiving their suggested scripts for the spring 2014 season.  For retail establishments, this is a great time to highlight upcoming promotions and sales… In keeping with the first rule of on – hold messaging: keep it real and relevant.

For one of our customers, the bike gallery, these “mostly” dry 55 degree days herald a drove of customers to their six locations, and the Spring Warehouse sale… posting shortly to their phone system.

SPRING WAREHOUSE SALE – NEW

IF IT SEEMS LIKE THERE ARE MORE BIKES ON THE ROAD WHEN IT’S NOT RAINING…YOU’RE RIGHT!  MANY OF OUR CUSTOMERS COME IN TO OUR LOCATIONS IN EARLY APRIL TO GET WHAT THEY NEED TO ENJOY PORTLAND’S GLORIOUS SPRING AND SUMMER SEASONS.  LET’S MAKE THIS EASY FOR YOU: AT OUR HOLLYWOOD LOCATION ON APRIL 3 THROUGH THE SEVENTH, JOIN US FOR OUR SPRING WAREHOUSE SALE, AND GET THINK YEAR AND EQUIPMENT THAT YOU NEED!  WE’RE ALL ABOUT GETTING MORE PEOPLE ON BIKES MORE OFTEN, AND LET’S START WITH SOME GREAT PRICES AT OUR SPRING WAREHOUSE SALE, APRIL 3 THROUGH THE 7TH.

This is a great example of how on-hold can be used effectively: by keeping it real, and relevant.  Keep that in mind as you review your scripts this season.

 

Patrick


One day in Portland, Oregon on-hold

Filed under: Marketing Challenges,Music On Hold — admin @ 12:22 pm

~ This was posted on - February 16, 2012

All in one week.

It’s amazing to me how many industries use on-hold messaging… I’m constantly walking into NW businesses and saying, “Who knew this was here?” Just last week, I was working with:

#1: St. Vincent De Paul: Originally a Roman Catholic institution, this charitable organization now helps 350,000 people every year in the Portland area – and 60% of their assistance is through food.  From Milwaukie, OR their warehouse transports 1.3 million pounds a year to the hungry.

#2: Game Time: Soon to open in Tigard, OR, these guys have taken an old restaurant and upgraded it with bowling lanes, arcades, and over 35 flat screen TV’s.  Ever wonder what the back end of a bowling alley looked like?

#3: Stopping in at the Rose Garden for telecom network event sponsored by Allworx, followed by the Portland Winterhawks.  Those are some noisy fans.

#4:

Logmax: From Vancouver, WA. this Swedish company distributes logging equipment – specifically, an all-in-one 7000 pound head that cut down, delimb, and stack a tree in 30 seconds.  You can see the video here, it’s pretty incredible.

#5:E and A Auto Repair gets the Inspirational Award for the week: Nazier came from Sudan by way of Saudi Arabia, where he worked on the Prince’s Rolls Royces.  After work, he rebuilds a Shelby GT 500 “Elanor”.  He figured out a way start his own shop, and now has a very loyal customer base in NE Portland.

All this in one week!  Amazing.  I love my job.

Patrick 503-740-0121


Welcome to Bob’s Engineering!

Filed under: Marketing Challenges — admin @ 1:09 pm

~ This was posted on - August 11, 2011

What they do:

Although it’s widely reported that manufacturing is decline across America, we are still the largest manufacturer in the world. Some sectors of American manufacturing are flourishing because of innovating products, and intelligent service; manufacturing sectors that produce in mass volume, like buttons and consumer and electronics, are increasingly outsourced. An excellent podcast via Planet Money can found here.

Bob’s Engineering and Advanced Metal Systems are both growing because of their quick turn around, and specialty products. For Bob’s, it’s sophisticated four-axis multi-spindle CNC machines that create custom prototypes and parts for high-end machines like commercial copiers. For Advanced Metal Systems, structural supports and short-runs for smaller projects.  We’re using their music on hold to promote it!

Marketing Challenges:

These two companies share a similar challenge: Their customers are using them for manufacturing, but not finish work like powder-coating or assembly. Once the unique part is made, it’s often sent overseas for final finishing. They want their customers to know that whatever savings the client can get by shipping it to China for polishing is quickly lost in shipping, and time to get the project done. “Why not have us do it here?” is the repeated refrain in their on-hold marketing.

LIVE AND LOCAL

WHEN YOU’RE WORKING WITH A FABRICATOR OVERSEAS, SHIPPING ACTUALLY MEANS LOADING YOUR PROJECT ON A SHIP – AND ADDING WEEKS TO YOUR TIME LINE; BUT THINGS JUST GOT A WHOLE LOT BETTER FOR YOU RIGHT NOW, BECAUSE AT ADVANCED METAL AND WIRE PRODUCTS SHIPPING MEANS IN OUR TRUCK, FROM OUR DOOR TO YOURS, AS SOON AS IT’S DONE, AND IT’S FREE. ALL OF OUR QUOTES INCLUDE LOCAL DELIVERY. TODAY, YOU’LL GET CLEAR COMMUNICATION, QUALITY FABRICATION, FAST TURNAROUND, AND FREE LOCAL SHIPPING WHEN WE RETURN TO THE PHONE.


Hold Time works with personal networking

~ This was posted on - July 20, 2011

It’s easy to get excited about the promise of digital marketing: a cool website and people TO YOU!  If only it were that easy…   Hold Time has spent a lot of effort on digital marketing, but we’ve found that the best marketing happens through personal relationships.

The quality of on-hold leads that comes through personal relationships is far better than the person connecting with you via the website from out-of-town.    Here’s an example from this week:

Online lead:  The marketing manager saw our website via search on google, emailed us for a custom sample, but would not answer the phone we followed up via phone, then email.  Most leads end this way.  Then – surprise! – she called back to verify some details; But like ALL online leads, she’s considering Hold Time with many other music on hold vendors.    Who knows if it will work out?

Personal referral lead: We were referred into a company that recently had a new phone system installed, and they needed on hold messaging to connect with their customers.  I walked in, and they were ready for me: Ideas and brochures to write a great script, even some suggestions for music!  Price?  No problem.  I am not the most expensive service in town, and they wanted someone they could trust to talk to their callers.  Everything was put together that day.  That’s how it’s supposed to work!

Gathering personal referrals is very inefficient compared to online digital media.  You have to do a lot of legwork to get a that coveted referral.   I recently bought a more fuel-efficient car to get around time to stoke those relationships which have waned over the years… I’m excited to get going!

it’s difficult to create that personal repore with through a computer screen or over the phone, so Hold Time is shifting our priorities back personal networking – to capitalize on the personal relationships we already have in organizations like OEA, and Le Tip.

Last year I was wrangling with these marketing ideas with a most excellent friend and marketing manager.  ”Which one works?” I asked.  ”Patrick!” He said, “They ALL WORK to some degree, you just have to figure out which one works for YOU.”


Welcome to OnOne Software!

~ This was posted on - June 2, 2011

Since their software offerings are constantly being updated and improved, AND because their customers may spend a lot of time on-hold for technical support asking questions that have easy answers, OnOne software is using Hold Time to point callers to their website for FAQ, tutorials, and new stuff.

For example if Adobe Photoshop posts an update, OnOne quickly revises their plug-in to work with it.  Customers don’t need to call and wait for tech-support – just download the update for OnOne’s plug-in.  Hold Time is working to reduce their call volume in this way.

We elected to use an internet based player – the Hybrid 7600, that updates productions remotely from our Oregon City studio.   OnOne updates frequently, so getting a new production up on their NEC phone system almost instantly is part of the excellent customer service Hold Time provides!


Hold Time welcomes Stevens Water Monitoring systems!

Filed under: Creative Marketing Ideas,Marketing Challenges — admin @ 4:37 pm

~ This was posted on - May 4, 2011


Hello to Stevens Monitoring Systems!

What they do:

Hold Time welcomes a unique manufacturer in to our on hold service: Stevens Water Monitoring Systems. If you’ve ever heard the news report on how high the river is, how much rain fell, or water table levels chances are the gauges they were using were made by Stevens Water Monitoring Systems. Sensors are often transmitted by cellular signal to regional databases for number crunching and reporting.

Remotely Tracking Water temp and levels

100 years ago, water levels were etched on a scroll of paper on site, but today Stevens manufacturers the digital recording devices for the on-site measurements, primarily through automated cell phone service, or the GOES Weather satellites.

It was just another one of those great moments in our business where we say, “Really?  Who knew!”

Marketing Challenge:

A lot has changed in this industry in the past 25 years with digital technology, and Stevens needs to get the word out about their latest technology “Stevens Connect”, where the data is collected and organized by Stevens, then conveniently displayed online for customers. It’s a new standard in the industry, and part of the “New Stevens” marketing campaign surrounding their 100 year anniversary. The lion’s share of Steven’s on-hold marketing is about this, with the balance of paragraphs taken up with other unique environmental monitoring products.

Equipment:

Hold Time Music installed a fax-based remote-controlled player for their updates. They update 2x per year, for $50 a month.

How they found Hold Time:

Stevens googled “music on hold Portland, Oregon”, was then referred to us by our website, www.holdtimemusic.com.


Doing right by Customer Concerns

Filed under: Marketing Challenges — admin @ 5:49 pm

~ This was posted on - January 10, 2011

When customers complain, the worst businesses will get upset; but the best businesses will seize the opportunity to FIX it, and improve the customer’s experience. It is, for most of us, easier to keep a customer than find a new one. In the last few days, I’ve been on both ends.

A customer called to ask for an additional music on hold production, believing they had one more remaining in their subscription package. The Holiday messaging on hold production, she believed, wasn’t one that counted. I apologized that Hold Time hadn’t communicated that clearly at some point, and that we very much appreciate her as a client. Once we understood each other, I offered to do the additional production without charge. She happily agreed. “You may want to consider increasing the number of productions Hold Time does for you next year,” I said helpfully.

It’s a lesson I picked up from my father-in-law at NC Machinery, who used to manage a large commercial garage. He said, “Patrick, Be gracious with complaints, and resolve them if you can without charge… the first time. Your customers will be loyal, and understand that additional work costs money the next time around.”

And, if you’ve actually made a mistake, don’t run from it. Say, “Thank you for letting me know, and I’ll fix it right now.”

An audio-visual company in Seattle I use for equipment sent me an online survey about improvements to their website. I can get the equipment just about anywhere, but I like them, so I did the survey. Groan… it was inefficient and redundant - Survey Hell. 30 minutes later I finished.

“On a scale of 1 to 10, how likely are you to use us in the future?”

Pretty low, at that point. The survey itself was hurting more than it was helping their marketing, so I called and complained. They were very sorry. Good job.

But 30 minutes later, the Owner called me. He also apologized, and said his next call was to the 3rd party research company they’d hired to conduct the survey. Now THAT’s how you handle a complaint! Excellent!

At Hold Time Studios, we’re very good at on-hold messaging, but nobody’s perfect. Glitches do happen, and information is sometimes misplaced. But the size of our company is such that if I don’t already what’s going on – I CAN get to the problem like Zeus’s Thunderbolt.


Welcome to our newest customer – ITX.com

Filed under: Hold Music Player,Marketing Challenges — admin @ 11:29 am

~ This was posted on - January 6, 2011

Equipment:

ITX has a software-based phone system, so no player was required. Phone systems of this type require of specific denomination of .wav or .mp3, and sometimes even a proprietary audio type (like Altigen). Hold Time makes the production, and emails it to the IT contact to post up twice a year. Hold Time is also doing the first two levels of attendant prompts on their system, which networks several locations across the country, serving customers from 16 countries.

Solution:

ITX was referred to Hold Time by Alesco Marketing, who works with ITX on search engine optimization for their clients. ITX covers a many types of applications, from iphone and blackberry web development, standard web pages, and custom web applications that harmonize web and mobile platforms.

ITX’s challenge has been to market the may different facets of their internet-business, and Hold Time partially fills that role with on-hold marketing to their best customers: the ones that are calling them!

What they do:

ITX has a large scope of computer programming applications that – to non-programmers – are hard to understand. As such, there is balance in their on-hold scripting between marketing executives (who may not know what they need), and web development staff from their customers. Their customer base is quickly expanding, through a network of excellent specialty firms, like Alesco.

ITX was referred to Hold Time by Alesco Marketing, who works with ITX on search engine optimization for their clients, and who did our website. Alesco Marketing also participates in Oregon Executives with Hold Time Music.

My favorite paragraph:

multiple platforms

Is your business connecting with the millions of smartphone users who are downloading mobile applications right now? To deliver meaningful app experiences to all smartphone users, businesses must create apps on multiple platforms – iPad™, iPhone®, Android™, Blackberry®, and the mobile web. MobilityCMS provides unparalleled abilities to manage content a-cross all of your mobile applications regardless of platform. thank you for holding.


The Portland economy, and free advertising on Google Maps

~ This was posted on - November 14, 2010

The Portland Economy: The word on the street:

So, every where I go I’m asking “What’s happening out there?” I got the best insight for longtime friend Jim Southwick, owner of Southwick Specialty Advertising.

“Patrick the promotional service industry is always the first in, and first out. ”

He explained that in the promotional items industry, the Great Recession really hit in early 2008, a few months in advance of the total seizure that we all saw in the last quarter of that year. Although the industry suffered being “first in” the economic downtown, the 2nd half of 2010 has been good all around…. hopefully this means the general uptrend we’re seeing will soon spread to all industries.

For Hold Time, the last two months have been very positive, lagging about three months behind Promotional Items… a good indicator to remember for the next cycle the music on hold industry goes through.  You might ask yourself, what external indicators is your business tied to?


Thanks everyone!

Patrick Bolan

M.A., M.B.A.

Can Customers Find You on Google Maps?

Dear (Contact First Name),

A friend and long-time client at Printsync asked me last week if I had registered my business on Google Maps.  Angela said that in the last six months, Printsync had picked up seven new customers from people searching for printers through Google Maps… and it’s free.  Hey, that’s worth trying!

Registering your business listing with Google Maps:

1.  Shows customers where you are, your phone number, and basic bio.

2.  Increases you web hits (a precious commodity in the marketing world)

3.  Increases your website’s organic ranking on Google.

4.  Let’s customers write reviews about you, which you should not fear if

your business is a good one.

4.  Why pass up free advertising?

keyword:portland music on hold
It’s free advertising, you might as well register!

So I registered two days ago, and Google Analytics tells me that 15 local queries have seen the Hold Time Music listing through this free Google Service.  Free free free!


Click here to get Google Maps registry started for your business.


Welcome Schulhoff Veterinary Hospital!

~ This was posted on - October 31, 2010

What they do:

Schulhoff Animal Hospital serves an affluent community of pet lovers in Connecticut from remodeled mansion that was used (briefly) as General Sherman’s headquarters in the Civil War. It’s a family-run business, that really took the time to communicate the feel of their pet hospital; And so, our writing on this project achieved the best type of on-hold messaging content: stories!

Our Favorite paragraph:

UNUSUAL CASE, BOA CONSTRICTOR, PT. 1

DOCTOR BENYEI TELLS AN AMUSING STORY ABOUT WHEN HE WAS FIRST STARTING OUT AS A YOUNG VET, WILLING TO TACKLE ANYTHING THAT CAME ALONG. ONE SATURDAY MORNING THE EXAM ROOM WAS FULL OF LITTLE SICK POODLES AND CATS. A FEW MINUTES LATER DOCTOR BENYEI LOOKED UP AND THE ROOM WAS EMPTY, EXCEPT FOR A TWELVE-YEAR-OLD BOY SITTING THERE WITH A PAPER SHOPPING BAG. THE REST OF THE STORY, IN TEN SECONDS…

UNUSUAL CASE, BOA CONSTRICTOR, PT. 2

AS DOCTOR BENYEI WAS STARING WITH CURIOSITY AT THE SHOPPING BAG, OUT POKED A HEAD AND PEERED AROUND LIKE A PERISCOPE ON A SUBMARINE. IT WAS A SIX-FOOT BOA CONSTRICTOR WITH AN UPSET STOMACH! WELL, OF COURSE DOCTOR B. TOOK CARE OF THAT POOR SNAKE! WHATEVER’S AILING YOUR PET, BRING IT IN AND WE’LL MAKE IT ALL BETTER! TELL US ABOUT IT, WHEN WE RETURN TO THE LINE.

Marketing Challenge:

Every veterinary clinic wants their customers to do two things 1) come back for regular checkups, and 2) Use them for the scope of services that they provide. Schulhoff Veterinary Hospital has a dog and cat boarding service which is the best in the area. Cats can freely roam around on furniture in a dedicated room, and watch the action outside through an antique picture window as the sun streams through. Sounds like the perfect cat holiday for me!

Equipment:

Veterinary service has a strong seasonal aspect: Summer for vaccines and outdoor issues, Holiday for “keep your pets away from…”, and Winter for cold-weather issues. So, Schulhoff needed to update their production seasonally. Hold Time installed a player that automatically updates their productions over the internet within two hours of it being completed in our studio. Best of all, Schulhoff’s doesn’t have to do anything but approve the production… Hold Time handles the rest!

Schulhoff was referred to us through our website, www.holdtimestudios.com, but not to the home page, they told me. Curiously, the keywords “music on hold Avaya” takes the search engines to the Installation Page of our website, which lists instructions for many types of phone systems.






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