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Designated For Assignment

DesignatedForAssignmentThose are the three most dreaded words in the life of a Major League Baseball player. It’s that moment when the organization believes that you are no longer worth the investment due to your lack of productivity. That moment came last Sunday for Leonys Martin. In the span of 12 hours he went from starting in Center Field for the Seattle Mariners, to standing on the pavement hoping for another team to give him another opportunity.

That is not likely. Martin’s salary for this year is Five Million Dollars. Not many teams would be willing to shell out that kind of cash for a player hitting .111. The bright spot for the Mariners in this early, yet dreadful start to the season is young Mitch Haniger. The rookie is batting .338 with a .600 slugging percentage; not to mention, Haniger’s OPS is off the chart.

Scott Servais, the Mariners’ manager and GM Jerry Dipoto both spoke publicly about the difficult decision to place Martin on waivers. After all, Leonys is beloved in the clubhouse and his positive outlook has an infectious influence on his teammates. Plus, Martin factored heavily into their plan heading into the season as they made multiple transactions to generate more runs per game. As hopeful as Dipoto and Servais were about their plan going into the season, they had to make the tough call and make a change. They both said this is a results-generated decision.

Mariner players must have been listening, because after the decision to release Martin was announced, their bats came alive and they scored 11 runs in their final game against Oakland that afternoon.

When you look at your marketing budget, it’s important to evaluate the effectiveness of your campaign; specifically the return on your investment. Are you getting the results you projected with your TV, radio, or outdoor advertising? The money allocated to these facets of your campaign is significant. Think about this. Radio, TV, Outdoor, even Newspaper—all have listeners/viewers that you’re spending money to reach. But how many will actually end up doing business with you? Now compare that with your on-hold advertising budget, where every dollar you spend touches nearly every person who calls your business—and, at a fraction of the cost. There isn’t a penny wasted with on hold advertising.

The leadership of the Mariners made the tough call to move away from their $5 Million Dollar Player and focus on a virtually unknown player who is giving them three times the production at one tenth the expense. This decision was not based on a whim, it was based on results.

Emotionally, it is a difficult choice to make. Think of the investment you made! But when you look at this in terms of running a successful business, it is an easy decision. Three times the impact at one tenth the price? Sign me up.

Put US on hold. The professional team at WMG will help you take advantage of the most cost effective, results-driven marketing tool that directly impacts 100% of your customers. That’s every caller, every day, every time.

As for the Mariners, their ‘success’ on the field continues. Their second game after releasing Martin they scored 9 runs. The only problem is they gave up 19. Well, tomorrow is a new day.

For them and for you.

Tom McTee, Super-Genius
Woodstock Media Group
On-Hold Concepts, Inc.

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On-Hold In-FOCUS

FOCUS On-Hold AdvertisingHealthline.com published an interesting article recently on the differences between Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) and ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder).  The primary difference is simple to distinguish – no hyperactivity with those dealing with ADD.  A person with Attention Deficit Disorder isn’t hyperactive or impulsive, but shows symptoms of inattention or easy distractibility.

Callers placed on hold are similar to those who are dealing with ADD. They are easily distracted, paying little attention to your on hold music and messaging.  Can you blame them?  I mean, have you heard some of the programs out there?  They are built to specifications that can only be described as the clinical definition of boring.  These on hold programs lack the essential ingredient necessary to hold the attention of the caller. In order to create a program that will harness the power of your captive audience, you need FOCUS.

F – FRAME your messaging from the caller’s point of view.
‘You’ is a powerful and intimate word. ‘We’ is more sterile and distant.  Tell your callers you care about them simply by designing the content of your message around them and their needs.  Not you and your pedigree.

O – ONE is the loneliest number…
Except when it comes to on hold advertising. Remember, you are speaking to one caller at a time.Help them engage with your on hold advertising by sticking to one topic per message. The more items you discuss, the more you diffuse the power of your message.
One thing at a time!

C – CONVERSATIONAL approach rather than corporate rhetoric.
TLA’s (Three Letter Acronyms) make you sound cool when you are talking with other insider nerds. But, that approach comes off as elitist when attempting to connect with your callers.

U – URGENT, but not high pressure.
Create a sense of urgency with a call to action. This will provide your callers with something to do with the information you’ve just shared with them.  Knowledge is not power. Application of knowledge is the true definition of power. 

S – SURPRISE them with your content.
Tell your callers something they don’t know in a way they don’t expect. Predictable questions and predicable responses is a recipe for boredom ripped from the headlines of ADD Weekly. Hold their attention by being unpredictable.   Use humor, an inspirational story, or a ukulele.  Shake it up a little. C’mon – not only can your callers handle it, they need it in order to be drawn in to the message you’re communicating.

A person diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder is commonly treated with stimulants, which improves their ability to complete assigned tasks and function at a higher level.  Mental stimulation is also a successful strategy for achieving similar results with your on-hold advertising program.  It is to your advantage to create content for your callers that is worthy of their limited time and their attention.

That is why you need to put US on hold.

I’d like to say that at Woodstock Media Group, focus is our middle name. Clearly, you can see that ‘media’ is our middle name, but FOCUS is what we do when designing your on-hold advertising program.

Creating successful on-hold advertising comes down to the ability to FOCUS.  We take the time to FRAME your content from the caller’s point of view.  You are encouraged to address ONE thing at a time with each message and take a CONVERSATIONAL approach to help you connect with each caller. Your input helps craft messages that are URGENT with a call to action, and then we SURPRISE your callers with a little creativity to help them engage in the content.

After all, you never know the next time a ukulele can impact a post about on-hold advertising.

Tom McTee, Super-Genius
Woodstock Media Group
On-Hold Concepts, Inc.

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The Masters

Masters of On Hold MarketingSergio Garcia did something he has never done before. He won a major tournament.  It just happened to be The Masters at Augusta National.  The competition was fierce, with many of the big names in professional golf in the hunt heading into Sunday. After a thrilling final round left him tied with Justin Rose, Garcia made a birdie putt on the first hole of the sudden-death playoff to bring home the victory.

Much has been made of his journey. The narrative coming out of Sunday was how long it took him to finally win.  If you are following along at home, it took him 19 years. ‘First victory in 74 starts at a major,’ is how the story was framed in the NY Times.  ‘After years of Near Misses, Garcia Grabs First Major,’ is the headline on Masters.com.   Article after article acknowledged the victory, but focused more on his melt downs and behavior issues rather than his golf acumen.

Justin Rose, his competitor for the final round said, ‘We’ve played a lot of golf together since we were about 14 years old. We have had a good friendship, and a good rivalry.’ Rose went on to say that, ‘Sergio Garcia is no longer the best player not to have won a major.’

The outsiders looking in don’t get it. But the one who was right there with him in the trenches did. It is not about ‘his demons,’ (the angle used in an ESPN article recounting the event). This was a significant achievement worthy of celebrating.  It is about what he has done right over the course of his career that brought him to this crowning achievement.

Outsiders rarely understand what is really going on. That’s true in business as well.

There are many who look at your success and think it was luck, or that you stumbled onto a gold mine.  But you know. Insiders know the hard work, the tenacity, and attention to detail it has taken to get you where you are today. Or, maybe the naysayers are focusing on the one thing you can’t do.  Little do they know you made a conscious choice not to provide that item, or that service – in order to focus on what you do best.  That, my friend, is what separates you from them.  That same commitment to excellence elevates you above your competition; the same way Sergio Garcia rose to the top on Sunday.

When it comes to marketing, each medium offers a level of success. It is rarely a bad thing to promote your business. So, if you are struggling with the question about whether or not you should advertise – the answer is almost always YES!  When choosing which medium to use, return on investment (ROI) is always a key factor.  You want to choose the most impact for your advertising dollar, especially when you are on a limited budget.  As you make your decision, understand there is no more cost-effective marketing solution than on-hold advertising.  There simply is no waste because you are marketing directly to those that call your business… period.  Each dollar you invest in marketing through this medium directly impacts a current or potential customer.  That is a return any business owner can get behind.

Outsiders won’t get it. But you do. Insiders easily understand what this overlooked advertising medium will do: Share your message to your callers every single day.  And, when you make your decision to invest in this powerful, cost-effective advertising tool, don’t choose just any on hold company.

Put US on hold. On-Hold Concepts from Woodstock Media Group.

The Masters.

Tom McTee, Super-Genius
Woodstock Media Group
On-Hold Concepts, Inc.

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Stopped in Their Tracks

OldCityHall-Cropped

The Hamilton Watch Company was sitting on a technological gold mine that would change the landscape of time. They created a prototype that would make its debut in the 1968 Stanley Kubrick classic film, ‘2001: A Space Odyssey.’ It was a digital clock. The presence of this clock was meant to usher in a glimpse of how time would be measured in the future. By the mid 1970’s the technology had caught on and the popularity of digital clocks made them commonplace throughout the market. The future had arrived.

Yet, I am amazed at how many old-fashioned analog clocks I see every day. You would think that such antiquated technology would have no place in the cutting edge, digital world we live in today. The clock that caught my eye today, as I sat in traffic, was on the spire of old city hall. Not only was traffic not moving during rush hour, I noticed the clock wasn’t moving either. It brought to mind a quote I saw on my desk calendar the other day.

‘Even a stopped clock is right twice every day. After some years it can boast of a long series of successes.’

Ten years after the digital clock went mainstream, a new technological development was revolutionizing the business world: The ability to provide audio with messaging to callers who were placed on hold.  This was an amazing feat. Now you were able to answer multiple calls without disconnecting anyone, and let callers know a little about you while they were still on the line.

On hold technology has evolved as well. You now can be in complete control over what your caller hears when you place them on hold.

It amazes me to no end when businesses still have silence on hold. The technology has been in place for over 40 years. It is so hard to believe that many still have not taken advantage of this tool that can help a business educate, entertain, and engage their callers placed on hold, which benefits both the business and the caller.

Thankfully, you aren’t one of those businesses. You understand the importance on-hold advertising plays in reinforcing your image with every call. That’s why you partner with Woodstock Media Group in the first place – to develop your On-Hold Concept. You are on the right track, which is a good thing. But, if I were to be honest, there could still be a problem. Especially, if you haven’t updated your on-hold advertising program in a while.

Over the last year, there have been many changes in your business, in the industry, and even in technology. By not updating your on-hold advertising, you are treating your callers to the audio equivalent of a stopped clock. Will Rogers perfectly summed up this predicament:

‘Even if you’re on the right track, you’ll get run over if you just sit there.’

When a caller is on hold, it’s not the time to get stuck in the past. It is time to take the same approach as the Hamilton Watch Company and treat your audience to a glimpse of the future.

Give us a call. We’ll update your program and get your callers thinking of how bright their future could be; just by doing business with you.

Tom McTee, Super-Genius
Woodstock Media Group
On-Hold Concepts, Inc.

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RAIN!

RAINBeing based in the Seattle area, you get used to certain weather patterns. The most common of these can be summed up by this question, ‘What do you call two days of rain followed by sunshine in Seattle?’ The answer: Monday.

Most people around the country still believe it rains 365 days a year in this area. That’s not completely accurate. But when you have stretches like we’ve just been through with 22 straight days of rain – it does something to your overall psyche. My daughter told me something this morning that captures the collective feeling of the region during this soggy season.

“I don’t want to look at the forecast…it gets my hopes down.”

Drab and dreary gray skies coupled with puddles a plenty, waterlogged lawns, and drivers who should just stay home instead of clogging up I-5 making it difficult for the rest of us to get to work safely, I mean, come ON, PEOPLE! How hard can this possibly BE?!?!!!

Ahem… what I meant to say is that these surroundings have a way of affecting a person’s mood and outlook. What is needed to reverse this trend is simple: A little sunshine.

Many businesses still believe that gray and dreary is a good thing; especially when it comes to their on-hold programs. “We searched for the lowest priced on hold program we could find, stuck it on hold and forgot about it.” You’ve been on-hold and have no doubt heard these cheap, boring programs and know exactly what I’m talking about. It is almost as if the rest of the country believes the same thing about the on-hold environment that they believe about Seattle. It is supposed to be drab, dreary, and overcast; that’s just the natural order of things. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Handling your on-hold advertising in a lifeless manner with robotic, passionless messages interspersed with canned, royalty-free music robs the medium of its potential. It also does a disservice to your callers. It’s no wonder they are irritated with you when you return to their call. Look what you just subjected them to – the audio equivalent of 22 straight days of rain-soaked terrain with a side order of gridlock.

The solution to reverse this trend is also simple: Add a little sunshine. Treat your callers to a story; a testimonial, some humor, or simply present your services from a different perspective. Something with interest and passion, shared as if your image is on the line – which, quite frankly, is the case every time you put a caller on hold.

On-hold advertising is the most powerful and intimate marketing tool at your disposal. It affords you the opportunity to talk directly to your callers who, at that very moment, are patiently waiting to hear what you have to say. It is an important moment in the relationship with your caller – not a throw away. Treat them to some audio sunshine to break through the clouds of a dreary on-hold experience.

At WMG we can help you with that. Actually, it’s our specialty. We access some of the most talented and creative professional (and multi-lingual), broadcasters, actors and actresses available to create programs that are anything but drab.

Everything we do is designed to help your business grow by harnessing the power of a captive audience. And sometimes, what your captive audience needs more than anything isn’t hearing about your degree, your large inventory, your affiliations, or your hand-crafted vision statement. They need to hear from a satisfied customer whose day shined a little bit brighter by having done business with you.

It looks like the sun is finally starting to break through. All I can say is, ‘It’s about time.’

Tom McTee, Super-Genius
Woodstock Media Group
On-Hold Concepts, Inc.

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First Four vs Final Four

2017FinalFourMarch Madness has arrived along with brackets, theories and office pools. The next few weeks the national buzz will be focused toward the NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship Game on April 3. Isn’t it amazing that after all the theories and analyzing of rosters and match-ups, the person who ends up winning your office pool is the person who based their choice on the color uniform the teams wear or the fact they just ‘love’ the mascot.

The tournament kicked off this week with four ‘play-in’ games aptly dubbed The First Four. The winners of these games will be added into a field of 64 teams divided into four regions comprised of 16 teams each. The great news for the winners of these ‘First Four’ games is they have officially made the NCAA tournament.  The bad news is they enter the tournament as #16 seeds; severe underdogs whose first game is against the #1 team in that region. Don’t bother looking up the odds in Vegas. A #16 has NEVER beaten a #1.  In fact, only five times since 2001 has the #16 team stayed within 10 points of the #1 team in the first round of the tournament.

As exciting as it can be to win one of the First Four games; prospects for advancing past the next game simply don’t exist.  CBS marketing efforts pushed the importance of these games to increase viewership. I admit, the games were exciting to watch. Unfortunately the outcome of these First Four games, though they were entertaining, have minimal impact in the long run.  They exist in order to wet the basketball palate of the audience in preparation for what is to come.

In the NCAA Tournament, the First Four merely marks the beginning of the journey. The most important facet of the tournament is still weeks away. The marquee event of March Madness is the Final Four.

When it comes to advertising in general, an inordinate amount of time, talent, and resources are spent on ‘First Four’ elements:  Radio and Television commercials, Magazine Print Ads, Billboards, Bus Boards, Sign Spinners on a busy street corner, these are all attention grabbing advertising tools.  As eye-catching and important as they may be in getting the word out about your business, they are merely the beginning of the journey for your customer.

Your potential customer began the journey of discovering your business through the efforts of your external marketing materials. That was just the beginning. In order to harness the power of your captive audience while they wait on hold, it is vital that the ‘final four’ elements of your marketing campaign, which includes your on-hold advertising, receives the same level of attention as you place on attracting a potential customer to call your business in the first place.

The marketing efforts put forth by CBS for the ‘First Four’ games of the NCAA Tournament were good.  But they are nothing compared to the all-out blitz they will roll out heading into Final Four weekend.  Why?  Because they know the final four is more important than the first four.  They invest their resources accordingly.  So should you.

What’s true for the NCAA Tournament is also true for your advertising efforts.  The final steps in the journey are simply too important to leave to chance.  CBS doesn’t just hope you’ll watch, they invest in the process so you will be compelled to watch.  The same is true with your on-hold advertising.  It’s not enough to simply hope your callers won’t hang up before you return to their call. Invest in the process with a creative on-hold advertising campaign that is so engaging, they are compelled to listen and can’t wait for your return so they can ask questions about what they heard while waiting on hold.  At On-Hold Concepts we have created such compelling advertising messages that callers have actually asked to be put back on hold to hear more.

Knowing that in basketball and in advertising, the final part of the journey is more important than the beginning; treat your on-hold advertising like the marquee event of your marketing campaign.  It is in this final stage of the advertising cycle where you turn a potential customer into a loyal customer. The results are in, and the winner of the battle between First Four and Final Four is clear: Final Four.

Now, the winner of the 2017 NCAA Tournament Final Four is yet to be determined.

My money is on the team in blue.

Tom McTee, Super-Genius
Woodstock Media Group
On-Hold Concepts, Inc.

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5 Secrets to Successful On-Hold Advertising

ShhColorizedLean in close and I’ll tell you a secret. People are talking about your on-hold program.  They are.  Now, I can’t tell you who it was or what they said.  But they are talking.  As a business owner, I’m sure you understand the power of ‘word of mouth’ advertising shared by your customers. It can be a tremendous benefit to your business. Or not, depending on what they share.

There is a secret to creating an on-hold environment conducive for people to share positive feedback about your business.  Actually, there are five secrets that will help you develop successful on-hold advertising campaigns.  By reading them you solemnly swear to adhere to the tenets revealed herein.

  1. Take control of the space. The on-hold environment of your phone system is the one advertising medium that you control completely – if you choose to do so.  Unfortunately, many miss this opportunity and settle for playing the default music programmed into the system to their callers.  Every business telephone system can handle a customized on-hold program. In order to take advantage of this powerful medium, you must first make the decision to ‘own’ the time and the content of what your callers will hear when placed on hold. That is your advertising space that you don’t have to share with anyone. Just think what you might whisper into your caller’s ears!  Why not take control of it?
  1. Client needs over company needs. Most businesses truly believe the customer comes first.  However, when it comes to the content of their on-hold advertising you would think the opposite is true.  ‘We’ve been in business for…’ ‘Our state of the art facilities…’ ‘My hand-selected, award-winning staff…’ are all frames of reference that convey a ‘company first’ mentality.  Focus your advertising message on the needs of your customers rather than the pedigree of your business.  After all, what’s in it for the customer is what matters to the customer!
  1. Update content frequently. On-hold advertising is not a set it and forget it proposition. In life and in business things change. Constantly. There is not one business or industry that is exactly the same as it was three months ago, let alone a year ago.  Technology, procedures, staff, service options, seasons – you name it, there is a change associated with it. Those changes should be highlighted and promoted with every customer placed on hold.  Frequent updates to your on-hold advertising will keep the program fresh and communicate the forward momentum of your business.
  1. Vary your approach. An announcer talking about all you have to offer can work. As long as that’s not the only thing the caller hears while placed on hold.  Testimonials, dialogue, sound effects, male voice, female voice, animal voice; these are different approaches that can be used to your advantage to capture the attention of your customers waiting for you to return to their call.  One voice repeating a message at predictable intervals is not the most effective use of this powerful medium.  Engage your callers with a varied approach to the messages of your on-hold advertising campaign.
  1. Sample the product regularly. Become your own secret shopper.  Call your business and get placed on hold once a month.  That’s the only way to truly know what the customer experience is really like for your callers. This is the most vital quality assurance test you can make.  You set standards for the goods and services you provide. You have safe-guards and regularly scheduled spot-checks in place to guarantee those standards are met.  Apply the same strategy with your on-hold advertising.

You have hereby been entrusted with these hallowed secrets.  It is vital that you share these five secrets with every person who calls your business.  Your task is not to tell them the secrets, but to reveal them covertly by taking control of the on-hold environment of your phone system. Then, focus on the needs of your customers with your on-hold advertising.  Update the content regularly, and vary the approach with each message. To confirm the completion of your ‘transfer of secrets,’ take the time to sample your on-hold product. Call your business. That way you’ll know your image is reinforced with every call.

These secrets are worth sharing.

Tom McTee, Super-Genius
Woodstock Media Group
On-Hold Concepts, Inc.

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Lessons from the Range

Green Target SightMy son came barging through the door last Friday with a great idea. ‘Dad!  Let’s go to the range. I want to teach you how to shoot!’  Now, I’ve never done anything like this in my life. He served in the military as a member of the Airborne Infantry. Jumping out of perfectly good aircraft and handling a weapon are second nature to him. ‘It’ll be fun,’ he said.  As excited as I was for him to lead me into this new adventure, my primary concern was returning home with the same number of holes in my body that I started with.

The day began with a quick orientation class, the sum of which was, ‘Don’t be stupid.’  Okay, I began to feel like I could handle this.  My son selected a Glock 19 for us to use.  Before I was allowed to touch the weapon, he walked me through the basics. Here’s what he told me, ‘Okay, you need a good foundation – so, set your feet shoulder width apart and get a solid stance. With the weapon held firmly in both hands, extend your arms toward the target.  Relax. Line the target up with your sights.  Breathe in and out. Squeeze the trigger.  Don’t anticipate the kick of the weapon – let the shot surprise you.  Now, this is the important part. Even though the magazine holds 15 rounds, take one shot at a time.’ 

I practiced many times with no magazine in the weapon, trying to get the steps right.  My son said I was doing well. Except for the breathing – apparently you are supposed to breathe in and out.  I was nervous, okay?

Enough practice.  It was time to load the weapon and try this for real.  Solid stance; extend arms to the target, Relax. Line the target up with the sights. Breathe.  Try not to anticipate the kick – let the shot surprise me. Squeeze the trigger. One shot only…

BAM!

Needless to say, the shot surprised me.

We spent the better part of the afternoon shooting, talking, laughing, and creating memories.  As I think back on what my son taught me about how to safely handle a weapon; it is remarkable how similar the steps are to creating a successful on-hold advertising program.

  1. Start With a Firm Foundation.  A professionally produced advertising program is where it begins.  Without a solid ‘stance’ on this issue, it will be difficult to create a foundation to build upon, let alone hit your ‘target.’  A custom program will reinforce your image with every person placed on hold.  Start here.
  1. Extend Your Arms to the Target. You need to speak to your callers, not at them. Taking a cookie-cutter approach to your on-hold concept will not work.  There are numerous on hold companies that take that type of approach.  On-hold advertising is not a one-size fits all endeavor. Working with an on hold company that truly listens and consults with you to learn about your business before crafting your program is essential.  Then, you can develop an on-hold concept that will reach out and communicate your message with your callers.
  1. Relax. The on-hold experience should be the most laid-back, yet effective advertising moment in your marketing strategy.  This is not the time for high pressure techniques.  Think conversation rather than sales pitch. Remember, you are speaking directly into a person’s ear, one to one. Your presentation needs to match that environment.
  1. Line the Target Up in Your Sights. When it comes to marketing, on-hold advertising is a powerful, yet intimate tool. Many make the mistake of using a ‘mass-media’ approach to their on-hold messaging. Playing your radio commercials on hold is a bad move because they are designed for a broad audience. On-hold advertising speaks directly to each caller; one at a time.  Target your messages accordingly.
  1. Take One Shot at a Time. You have a lot of information to share. However, it is a mistake to talk about every product and service you offer in a single advertising message or even trying to cram it all in to an entire program.  The most effective approach is to focus on one subject per message.  You don’t have to cover everything in a single message or a single program.  Update your on-hold advertising several times a year and focus your internal marketing so it mirrors your outside marketing efforts.  More isn’t always better.  Usually, it’s just more.

The extra added bonus tip came when my son said, ‘Let the shot surprise you.’  That is precisely the approach you need with your on-hold advertising.  Predictability works against you in this scenario. Keep the content and approach different with each message.  Humor, dialogue, perspective, and testimonials keep callers engaged in the content, making their time spent on hold more productive and enjoyable.

The process my son walked me through at the range last weekend is also an effective process to follow as you design your on-hold advertising.  Set a foundation for your customers when they call.  Extend your arms to them with your messaging.  Relax and establish a conversation rather than a sales pitch. Line up your message to connect with one customer at a time, and limit the content of each message to a single subject.

And, be willing to try a different approach.  It will benefit your on-hold advertising, your clients, and maybe even your relationship with your son.

Tom McTee, Super-Genius
Woodstock Media Group
On-Hold Concepts, Inc.

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Intentional Fortitude

Default Stencil
The road to ‘On-Hold Hell’ is paved with good intentions by your IT Department. 

If you think about it, members of your IT Department wouldn’t knowingly sabotage your carefully crafted marketing campaign in the final stage of the advertising cycle.  At the moment where all of your hard work in the earlier stages of the cycle has been completed; they wouldn’t intentionally dismantle your image – would they?

Through the strategic placement of your external marketing efforts, you have introduced your company.  You have created awareness of the services you provide. You’ve shared the benefits of doing business with you and reinforced those benefits through testimonials from satisfied customers. You have created a call to action which has encouraged members of your target market to contact you.

Then, at the most crucial point in the advertising cycle, when the potential client takes the time call you; it is at that moment where you have the opportunity to reinforce the foundation you have been building through your external marketing campaign. The signature moment where you can engage your captive audience and tell them exactly what you want them to know about you.  The customer is literally right where you want them. Do you really think your IT professional would go out of their way to obliterate the image you have created for your business?

If the answer is YES, then you have a different issue that needs to be addressed.

However, if the answer is NO, then the next obvious question is, ‘WHY?’  Why would they choose to use the default on-hold program that came with the phone system?  Why won’t they load the custom on-hold advertising program designed specifically to connect with your customers?  The answers we hear fall into three categories: Time, Expense, and Importance.

  • TIME:  ‘I am just too busy.’ IT Technicians feel they cannot spare the time necessary to load the custom audio file into the system.  In actuality, the time it takes for them to explain to me how much they have to do, the number of trouble tickets in the queue, and how they are terribly understaffed to begin with, is precisely how long it will take to load the file into the MOH directory of the phone system.
  • EXPENSE:  ‘We don’t need this anymore. Our phone system comes with FREE on-hold music.’  To save money, the IT staff chooses a default program rather than the custom program; and they think it’s a good idea.  They couldn’t be more wrong. Default programs are merely place holders, like the fake family portraits in the picture frames at the store. Those pictures are meant to be replaced immediately.  So is the default on-hold program of your phone system.
  • IMPORTANCE:  ‘I have more important things to do.’  I can’t tell you how many times I have heard this sentence.  There is nothing more important to the success of your business than how you treat your customers; whether it is in person, online, or on-hold. Your frontline staff knows this.  Your IT staff needs to be reminded of this fact.

Your caller’s time is valuable.  That is why it is worth the relatively small monthly expense for your professionally produced, creative on-hold advertising program.  It is important to create an audio portrait of your business for everyone placed on hold, one that is specifically designed to reinforce your image with every call.  In a nutshell, that’s why your IT team needs to load your custom program. Now.

Set aside their intentions for a moment.  Allowing your IT professional to choose the default music provided with the phone system instead of your custom on-hold advertising program makes as much sense as letting the Marketing Director save money by cutting your IT budget; eliminating the firewall completely, then using all the default settings and passwords for your network security protocols.  They are too busy to deal with this anyway. After all, the computers come with McAfee Security Software for FREE.  Besides, the Marketing Team has more important things to do.

With that kind of thinking, the potential damage to your company could be staggering.  Precisely.

Be intentional about sharing with your IT Department how vital your customer’s on-hold experience is to your overall marketing strategy.  Understanding this final stage of the advertising cycle and it’s impact on each customer who contacts you will reinforce the importance of loading every update made to your on-hold advertising program as soon as it arrives in their in-box.  Then, turn them loose to do what they do best – focusing on your IT infrastructure.

Leave the on-hold advertising (and the security of your network) to the experts. Your IT Department, Marketing Team, and more importantly, your customers will thank you for it.

Tom McTee, Super-Genius
Woodstock Media Group
On-Hold Concepts, Inc.
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Making of a Dynasty

With the Super Bowl behind us and some time before Spring Training gets fully underway, the primary focus of sports-talk conversation centers around a single topic. What team is the greatest sports dynasty in the NFL?

Quite simply, a sports dynasty is a team that dominates their sport for an extended period of time. They set the bar, control the narrative, and become the standard by which organizations are measured in the future. Winning once is not enough. To become a dynasty you must create an organization that, year in and year out, wins consistently.

In the National Football League, the 60’s belonged to the Green Bay Packers. Pittsburgh dominated the 70’s. The San Francisco 49ers ruled the 80’s. The 90’s were controlled by the NFC East, with three different teams taking turns beating up on the Buffalo Bills. However, since 2001, only one team has dominated the sport like no other team before them: The New England Patriots.

Many people dislike this organization. Too many red flags, videotaped practices, and deflated balls surround their success. This year, despite being penalized financially, stripped of future draft picks, and having their quarterback suspended for four games – they did the unthinkable. They won it all. While Tom Brady served his suspension early in the year, their no-named tandem of 2nd and 3rd string quarterbacks (Jimmy Garapolo and Jacoby Brissett) carried the team to a 3-1 record. When Brady returned, they won on the backs of unknown players like Chris Hogan, Rob Ninkovich, and James White.

Here is what goes unnoticed when it comes to their success: The hard work behind the scenes; the endless hours of preparation. The Patriots have an uncompromising attention to detail which helps them execute their game plan with a precision that other organizations simply cannot match. Another fact that often goes unnoticed is their roster. They win with a bunch of nobody’s.

They have their cornerstone in Tom Brady and Bill Belichick, but every other position seems to be interchangeable at any given moment. This approach reminds me of the movie, ‘Miracle’ when Coach Herb Brooks was informed that he missed on some of the best players. He said, ‘I’m not looking for the best players….I’m looking for the right ones.’

The building blocks of your dynasty are in place too, you have a great product, great service and a good location. Those are foundational pieces that should not change. Ever.

If all the Patriots had was Brady & Belichick it would not be enough. Their success is predicated on significant contributions by players other teams would consider cheap or insignificant. What separates New England from the rest of the NFL is they have gone ‘all-in’ with their belief in the importance and value of this type of player. Not the best player, but the right one. Because of that belief, they invest their time, energy, and resources in these players with maximum results.

It is time for you to stop trusting solely on the ‘best players’ of your marketing campaign like Print, TV, and Radio. In order for you to win consistently and build your dynasty, you need to invest in the ‘nobody’ of your marketing strategy: on-hold advertising.

In doing so, you will not only reinforce your image with every call, you will send a message about your uncompromising attention to detail with every single customer and potential customer who takes the time to contact you. It is here, behind the scenes, where most of the hard work will go unnoticed by your competitor – but will prove integral to your continued success. It is with your professionally produced, creative on-hold advertising campaign where you set the bar, control the narrative, and raise the standard of what it is like to do business with you.

As you discover it is well worth finding the right on hold company to create the perfect image for your brand, and then begin investing more time, energy, and resources into this medium; be prepared for your assistants to point out that you are missing out on some of the best tools to reach your target market. Remind them that you agree. This might not be the ‘best’ known tool.

But it is the right one.

Tom McTee, Super-Genius
Woodstock Media Group
On-Hold Concepts, Inc.

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