Forty-three seconds that can enhance your advertising budget by Good
Businesses spend billions of dollars every year to make their phones ring and then put their potential new customers on "ignore." When the phones start jangling away, they say “please hold” and mash down the hold button sending callers into “hold hell.” Most of the time the caller sits there listening to nothing but silence, growing angrier and angrier as the seconds tick by. Then they hang up. The result? Advertising dollars flushed down the toilet.
Try this. Stare at a blank piece of paper for forty-three seconds. That’s the average length of time a caller is on hold at a business in the United States. Just forty-three seconds. But it seems much, much longer when there is only silence.
There is a better way. Businesses that have installed customized on hold messages and music on their phones quickly realize those potential customers are not hanging up after fifteen or twenty seconds on hold. When there is music playing along with intermittent messages about the business the hold time seems to go by faster. On top of that, the caller knows he or she has not been hung up on as they might think when are on "ignore."
This forty-three second period also allows the business to provide the caller with timely information about the products and services.
At times on hold music and messages have created their own black eyes. You might have called a business and were pounded by message after message, which is just as bad as being on "ignore." We suggest messages should be fifteen to twenty seconds long, separated by thirty to forty seconds of music. And the voice talent is soothing. This is no place for MTV wannabes. Make sure your customers are comfortable while on hold.
On hold music and messages save time and money by answering some customer’s questions so they don’t need to use the time of the receptionist or operator. You can tell directions, website address, hours and fax number among other things.
Some businesses claim they never put callers on hold but if they check the blinking lights on their phones they will see they put them on hold more often than they think. Just one customer on hold per half hour, which is very light, equates to 4,165 customers on hold in a year. At the same time, after obtaining on hold messages some owners have actually been known to place all callers on hold fifteen to twenty seconds. It makes the business look busy, makes it seem larger than it might be and provides the caller with some information about the business.
The largest plumbing supply business in the nation, Ferguson Enterprises, encourages its 700 branch managers to use customized on hold messages and music. Don Blankenship, Director of Marketing Communications, says on hold messages “ensure the quality and consistency of our advertised messages. It will also prevent customers from hearing competitors’ messages (if the radio is being played); and prevent any legal implications associated with playing music without the proper licensing. At all times, we want to project the best image possible.”
Some businesses play radios for on hold music. They don’t know that using music off the radio is illegal without paying fees to ASCAP and BMI. They represent artists, composers and publishers to protect their intellectual rights. Those two entities have never lost a case. Also, radios have a tendency to float off the station leaving a muffled, distorted signal for callers to endure.
If you are thinking about having on hold messages professionally produced for your business spend a few minutes thinking about the ten most important things you would want to tell a potential customer. More than likely you’ll come up with twenty things. Don’t forget upsells of things your current customers might not know about and the higher profit services or products.
There are a number of firms that provide on hold messages and music to businesses. Those with the best customer service write the messages for the client’s approval rather than requiring the client to write the messages. They provide licensed music that meets ASCAP and BMI requirements. Many businesses update their messages quarterly to keep them fresh and to alert callers to added services or products.
If you are going to spend a ton of money on advertising and marketing, take the next step and add customized on hold messages and music to your customer service.
A few dollars a day is really a small price to pay for an electronic employee that entertains and informs callers every second a business is open with soothing music and a friendly voice.
Terry Richard is the owner of Good Impressions Inc and provides customized on hold messages and music to more than 550 locations around the United States. He can be reached at (360) 225-9080 or email@example.com
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