Business Builders Seminar Presents Tom Borg with guest Tim Brown, answering the question, “How can I use messages on hold to grow my small business?”
Messages On Hold For Small Business
Tom Borg, the small business customer profitability expert says he’s “always on the lookout for ways to make your small business more successful and profitable.” In a recent installment of the Business Builders Seminar, Tom interviewed Tim Brown, founder of Easy On Hold. The topic: Messages on hold for small business. Here are some valuable excerpts.
The phone system can be a marketing tool.
Tom: Tell us a little bit about your company Easy On Hold and what does it do.
Tim: Easy On Hold delivers custom music and messages on hold, that is voicing and music packages and programs through telephone systems to customers to help them spend more money or create more satisfaction through a dazzling on hold message experience while they call your company.
The fact is Tom, about 70% of calls get put on hold. Of course, it might be more or less at your business, but when you have that many people, even if it’s for 10 or 20 seconds waiting on hold, what they hear will say a lot about your company.
Using messages on hold for small business is a necessity.You want callers to feel engaged. That’s why we have signage and other things, magazines, whatever it is in your business or your office to try to keep people entertained and kind of hanging in there. What can we do during the10, 20, 30 seconds or two minutes callers are giving us when they’re waiting on hold? You’ve got a captive audience!
Automated Attendant and Messages On Hold For Small Business
Tom: As you know, our small business listeners are always looking for ways to make their business more profitable. Smaller companies don’t always have as many people as they might need, so how can the phone system be best used in the small business environment?
Tim: With a smaller staff, a company may want to use an automated attendant, which picks up incoming calls. For example, “Thank you for calling ABC company.” That is automated attendant, not messages on hold.
But let’s say that I’m a bicycle repair shop. Somebody calls, they want to find out, “Is my bike repaired. Can I come and pick it up?” “Well, let me look.” That hold button just got engaged. That’s what we’re talking about for on hold.
That hold button is the waiting room. That bike shop might be saying, “Right now before the end of the season is a great time to buy our clearance bike shorts and helmets.” The caller hears a message that relates to the current season. Seasonal businesses need current messages on hold.
Most businesses will tell you, ‘We don’t put customers on hold’, but sorry, I find that hard to believe. With an open mind consider, ‘Am I putting customers on hold?’, and then the next question is, ‘Is it really 20 seconds or is it more like a minute, or is it two minutes?’. A lot of times, you have a technical department or support department that has a longer hold time than say a sales department or customer service area.
Tips For Message On Hold Scripts
You may want to match the type of message with the length of the hold time. If your callers are on hold for a short amount of time, hit them with one tiny little idea. I always ask how much can you remember in 20 seconds? How much? Make one little idea followed up with a call to action, and that’s a message.
We believe that can be done in 50 words or less. Messages that are 20, 25 seconds are always going to be more successful (in terms of responses) than a longer message. You want to make it like a short conversational idea.
Improve Customer Service
Tom: Yes, makes total sense. What are some of the ways small business can use messages on hold or voice messaging to improve their customer service? Because I think that’s where a lot of small businesses can have an added advantage over their competitors, which are larger if they really give good service, good customer service. How can your business help someone like that with that idea?
Tim: I’ll give you an example. In the transportation area, we talk about certifications. It gives people confidence. We talk about the excellence of our drivers; whether they’re uniformed, what their training is. It puts people at ease.
Assisted living is a growing area and it’s important to make callers feel comfortable by being warm and personal. The music can help here too. Blend the music that fits your style.
A lot of these salons have either a really high energy, edgy feel, or it might have a very laid-back personal kind of jazzy cool approach. You can set the tone with the music as well and you can also choose whether it’s a male or a female voice to see what’s working.
I find that a lot of times, Tom, what we’re doing with this is we’re making people feel comfortable with the company that they’ve chosen because if they’re on the phone with you, they are either choosing whether to continue to do business with you or whether they do business with you for the first time. In both of those cases, I think it’s really important to put them at ease.
Tom: Excellent. Here’s a question for you, how can the voice messaging help a small business increase its sales?
Tim: Messages On Hold for Small Business should always talk about the money-makers. What are your biggest money-makers? For example, a small credit union may have a very profitable loan program. This actually happened, whereby a credit union manager told us they use three methods to promote their loan program. One was the tellers. Members were asked, “Oh have you heard about our loan program? Here’s a little card that tells you about it.” The next step was to use a mail piece that they put in their monthly statements. It wasn’t really an extra cost. They just added it to a piece they were already mailing to the client. The third method that they used was the message on hold. Therefore, if somebody was calling for a reason other than a loan, they would still hear about the loan. If they were calling to respond to the piece that they got in the mail, they would get the loan message reinforced.
That credit union tripled their loan volume in that quarter. It was just focus. It wasn’t an increase in expense. It wasn’t a big deal for them. All they did was cut out the noise, reduce the number of topics that they were talking about and for that period of time really aim for that specific idea.
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