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What do the telephone and the face of your company have in common?

business image
It continues to amaze me.  First there is considerable thought, countless meetings, hand-wringing and even focus groups before bringing a product or service to market.  Then companies will then spend thousands of dollars on advertising to get people to recognize their name and promote what they have to offer.
So far so good … but then the phone begins to ring.  Often it’s answered by an auto attendant or a receptionist who puts the caller on hold… for an average of 38 seconds.  Now we’re to the part that amazes me.  What exactly happens during that 31 seconds?  Sometimes it’s dead silence, leaving the caller wondering, ‘is anybody home?’  Perhaps the caller hears unrecognizable, repetitive


 …or little obnoxious

Digital Tones     
…or even worse (yes, there is a worse), talk radio or DJ banter.  Radio… where the views expressed are opposite the caller’s particular political views or something offensive is being said, described, or otherwise being laughed at.  When the caller is not on-board or laughing, and possibly offended, the result is quickly hanging up and going elsewhere to do business.

Countless meetings, lots of planning, thousands of dollars — all wasted because no attention was paid to the actual first contact with the potential customer.

This problem of potentially losing clientele through their experience on hold goes deeper.

Roy H. Williams, in one of his Wizard of Ads® Monday Morning Memos, said:

“Have you ever developed an impression of a company through their advertising and then gotten a totally different impression of that company when you met them?  The external personality of your company is created through your ads. This is what’s perceived by the general public.”   The internal personality of your company is created by management. This is what your customers encounter when they contact you.

But what happens when they contact you via the telephone and you have something on hold that doesn’t at all jive with the image they have of you as a result of all of the wonderful advertising you’ve done?

I believe that you must continue your marketing strategy on hold, making absolutely sure that the image you’ve created through your advertising is expressed equally well on hold.  Make sure that the experience a caller has on hold, results in supporting, not damaging your carefully and sometimes expensively produced image.

If you don’t see to it that both are in alignment, there is likely to be disappointment and possible disconnect.  Depending upon how bad their experience is, you could lose the opportunity to do business with them altogether.

A proper on hold strategy lets you extend your marketing strategy and take complete control over what your customer’s experience, presenting them with what I like to call a beautifully prepared audio portrait of the business.  Why would a company choose not to do this?

I can only offer my opinion on this.  I believe that it’s either ignorance or they don’t like what they hear, (more on that at another time).  It is likely that they (or you), are simply not aware of the research on the subject and perhaps don’t recognize the advantages offered by a carefully executed, professionally written, voiced and produced on hold marketing campaign, perfectly targeted to a business’s customer base.

Think for a moment about what I just said: perfectly targeted to a business’s customer base.  Unlike just about every other form of advertising which takes a shotgun approach to hitting one’s customers (Radio, TV, Direct Mail & Print, even Outdoor all take a shotgun approach to reaching your target audience.  Think about the money wasted!), what you have on hold only speaks to your customers, old, new and potential, and right into their ear.  There’s also no pushing a button to change channels.  Whatever you decide to put on hold, good bad or indifferent, flows directly into your callers minds.

So what’s it going to be?  Cheap, repetitive

or irritating
  Should you just continue to put your head in the sand and leave your callers wondering whether they’re even still connected?

I hope to help the you recognize the on hold medium for what it truly is:  a wonderfully intimate environment where you can put your best face forward via a professionally written, professionally voiced and professionally produced program (I like to call it an ‘audio portrait’ of the business), carefully crafted to make that first impression for so many lasting and memorable?

Chuck Woodstock

Founder & President, Woodstock Media Group/On-Hold Concepts, Inc.


Coming Soon: All on hold providers are not the same.

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