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


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!


Welcome to Rehabiliation Medicine Associates!

Filed under: Music On Hold,music on hold technology,On Hold Messaging — admin @ 7:17 am

~ This was posted on - March 4, 2011

Equipment:

Rehabiliation Medicine Associates has three faxes running almost full time, and with an abundance of accessory phone lines, Hold Time installed our fax-based unit, the RUF 2700. This music on hold player is designed to sit on the back end of the fax line like a credit card machine. Faxes pass-through the unit, but the RUF will answer when our studio dials into to upload a new production. A special DTMF code on the phone line alerts the recording software in the player to answer, and receive a new production.

What they do:

When someone’s body has been subjected to a traumatic event, like a car accident, burns, or cancer, there will be significant changes in their lifestyle. RMA’s doctors diagnose, and guide them through this process of healing, and helping them deal with the, in some cases, dramatic reduction in physical strength, or mental fitness.

Marketing Challenges:

RMA’s business is almost entirely by referral, so medical professionals and clients would be hearing the same production. A medical professional will want to know the scope and qualifications of RMA, but the patient is interested in what exactly is going to happen when they come in to an appointment.

The doctors at RMA had a problem typical to medical institutions: Although they want their patients and referral sources to know their qualifications, they’re reluctant to market themselves. I’m proud that Hold Time used a on-hold messaging paragraph format that struck a balance between the two. Here it is:

WHAT IS IMPORTANT PART 1

THANKS FOR CALLING REHABILIATION MEDICINE ASSOCIATES. WE BELIEVE WE’RE ONE OF THE BEST PHYSICAL MEDICINE AND REHABILIATION CLINICS IN THE NORTHWEST, AND WITH GOOD REASON: ON OUR MEDICAL STAFF IS THE MEDICAL DIRECTOR OF LEGACY REHABILIATION SERVICES, AND GRADUATES FROM SOME OF THE TOP TRAINING PROGRAMS IN THE COUNTRY, ALL WITH WIDE RANGING SPECIALTIES LIKE AMPUTEE REHABILIATION, , AND EVEN NARROW SPECIALTIES LIKE POST POLIO SYNDROME. IT SOUNDS IMPRESSIVE, BUT IT’S NOT THE MOST IMPORTANT THING HERE. WE’LL EXPLAIN IN JUST A MOMENT.

WHAT IS IMPORTANT PART 2

DESPITE OUR MANY DEGREES, TITLES, AND SPECIALTIES… WHAT’S MOST IMPORTANT IS THAT WE’RE YOUR DOCTOR TODAY. WE KNOW THIS IS NOT AN EASY ROAD FOR YOU RIGHT NOW, BUT THOUSANDS HAVE TRAVELED IT WITH OUR HELP. THE DOCTORS AT REHABILIATION MEDICINE ASSOCIATES ARE HERE TO TAKE THAT JOURNEY WITH YOU, AND YOU’LL HAVE OUR FULL ATTENTION IN JUST A MOMENT.

You can see how it says, “We’re awesome, but no one here is tooting their own horn!”


Welcome to our newest client… Allied Midwest!

~ This was posted on - January 24, 2011

Equipment:

Allied Midwest has a typical PBX with an on-hold port, and since the phone closet had an internet feed, Hold Time chose a remote controlled player that updates via internet server. The on-hold player queries the remote server every two hours, so we can assure Allied Midwest that when a new production is ready to post, it’ll be uploaded within two hours. For more information on how this player works, read HERE.

Marketing Challenge:

With over fifty years of serving primarily agricultural construction projects in the South Dakota, Allied has many repeat customers from builders in small farming communities, their problems is not establishing themselves in the construction market. People already know who they are.

What their callers don’t know are all the products and services that Allied offers. The new sales manager has started a email newsletter with current specials and manufacturer discounts, and wants to market that same information to callers through Hold Time.

Allied’s largest competitor in the area has a “cookie cutter” approach to their service, so construction material is not always delivered efficiently, and sometimes arrives later than the customer would prefer. Allied is smaller, more flexible, and can outperform their competitors on service, speed, and knowledge… they want their callers to know that through music on hold from Hold Time Studios!

Our favorite paragraph:

DRYWALL/WETWALL, PART 1 – NEW

HAVE YOU EVERY WONDERED WHY IS IT CALLED “DRY WALL”? … LIKE, AS OPPOSED TO “WET WALL”? WHEN GYPSUM BOARD SHEETS FIRST BECAME POPULAR IN THE 1950’S, THEY BECOME KNOWN AS DRYWALL BECAUSE THE ALTERNATIVE, WHICH HAD BEEN USED FOR CENTURIES, WAS VERY WET. WHAT WAS IT CALLED? WE’LL TELL YOU IN TEN SECONDS.

DRYWALL/WETWALL, PART 2 – NEW

WE CALL IT DRYWALL BECAUSE IT’S DRY, AS OPPOSED TO A WET WALL WHICH WOULD BE… PLASTER. LATH AND PLASTER EXISTED FOR CENTURIES BEFORE THE PAPER COVERED GYPSUM CORE PANEL THAT ALLILED MIDWEST HAS IN STOCK TODAY. THANKS FOR CALLING ALLIED MIDWEST, WE’RE PUTTING DOWN OUR SCREW GUNS RIGHT NOW TO ANSWER YOU CALL (SOUND FX)


Hold Time rolls out Las Vegas!

Filed under: Creative Marketing Ideas,Music On Hold,On Hold Messaging — admin @ 8:03 pm

~ This was posted on - November 29, 2010

Hold Time welcomes the Eiffel Tower Restaurant in Las Vegas!  Read below to learn how this unique restaurant is using music on hold to solve their marketing challenges.

Equipment:

Updating seasonally, Hold Time’s internet player was a good choice… easy installation, and remote updates from anywhere the internet travels.

Marketing Challenges:

As one of Las Vegas’ premier French Restaurants in very unique location, the Eiffel Tower Restaurant wants to host more special events in their restaurant… any group with a part of more than six for anniversaries, birthdays, special occasions, and even business events. Also, the Eiffel Tower restaurant gets a crush of callers before major holidays, including Valentines Day – their most popular Holiday. Using their on-hold messaging, they want callers to know that they can make their reservations online, and up to six months in advance.

One of the Eiffel Tower restaurant’s key marketing draws is Master Chef Joho. Las Vegas is a celebrity culture, and the marketing surrounding their famous Chef is as important is the excellent quality of food they produce.

Hold Time was referred to this unique client from a referral partner in Las Vegas, at the same time they were installing a new phone system.


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.


Turn the Music On, and Hold the Phone!

Filed under: Music On Hold — admin @ 11:04 pm

~ This was posted on - November 5, 2009

Call it “making lemonade from lemons” or call it “smart business”. Whatever you call it, you’d be well-served by giving appropriate valuation to the time spent on-hold by callers to your telephone system. Businesses pay substantial advertising dollars to “get the ear” of others. When a caller is on-hold with you, you have their ear. It’s a big mistake to underestimate the importance of this fact. This is particularly true in light of the prominent role telephone communications plays in contemporary culture.

The reality is that the telephone has become so much a part of our lives that it often seems like a virtual appendage of some people’s bodies. To emphasize the point, the next time you’re out and about driving around town, take note of how many other drivers you see who are talking on their cell phones. (You may want to hang up your own phone first before doing this, as you can only concentrate on so many things at a time.)

I remember a time when the thought of a day in the not too distant future when the average driver on the road would actually have a pocket-sized wireless telephone with them in the car would sound like something straight out of a science fiction movie. I think most of us back then, upon hearing such a notion, would envision people trying to drive while holding some typical telephone of the time such as a big, clunky desk phone. (I actually worked with a fellow who did exactly that in the early 1980’s when I was a radio traffic reporter. One of the veteran reporters somehow had a real, sure ‘nough, working “car phone”, i.e., a desk phone attached to a radio transmitter in his trunk! The rest of us had to transmit our traffic reports to “base” via conventional 2-way radios, but this exalted one actually called in his reports over his car phone. Mind blowing! How he ever came to be in possession of, what for the time was such absolutely incredible technology, I never found out. Then there was the guy at my high school whose father was a millionaire and was reputed to have a wireless telephone installed in his Ferrari. I was sure he knew James Bond personally.) Even in those days there was a well-established, widespread love of and obsession with the telephone, but we had little idea of what was coming just around the corner.

My point is, we spend a lot of time on the telephone. Too much time, I would argue. In fact, I would go so far as to suggest that society as a whole might benefit if some folks had their cell phones surgically removed from the sides of their heads. (According to “statistics”, the average person spends 40 minutes per day/20 hours per month/10 days per year/2 years in a lifetime on the phone. The portion of that time spent on-hold is, reportedly, 17 minutes per day/8.6 hours per month/4.3 days per year/330 days in a lifetime.) At any rate, for people calling into your telephone system, whether they spend a portion of that call on-hold or not, their call to you is just one of many they will make that day. For most people, time spent on the telephone, on-hold or otherwise, is, arguably taken so much for granted that the typical person on a telephone call may be somewhat oblivious to the fact that they are communicating via telephonic technology. During the portion of a call in which they are on-hold their “in-the-moment quotient” is likely even lower. With the right approach, “on-hold” can be positive and productive – for your callers and for you, as well.


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.


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