Tag Archives: client service

On-Hold Messages: Why They Are Vital For Your Business

Customer on-hold are left in the cold

Every interaction you have with your customer is vital to the success of your business. From the radio and TV commercials you run to get customers in the door. To the way you treat the customer after the sale.

Everything you do needs to be designed to communicate your message.

Why should it be any different when a customer calls you on the phone?

Think about this. A customer has taken the time to pick up the phone to call you. Maybe that customer is ready to make a huge purchase. Or maybe a question about your product or service needs to be answered.

Regardless of the nature of the call, you have another opportunity to interact with that customer. However, the person who answers the phone isn’t the one who can answer the question. So the caller is placed on hold. Stuck on Hold

If that caller hears silence it may seem like they’ve been hung up on and they may hang up.

Or worse, what if that caller gets placed on hold and hears a radio station that is running a commercial for one of your competitors? Uh-oh! That can be a huge problem. You may lose that customer and the sale to your competition and probably never even realize it.

There are also legal ramifications to playing a radio station or other music to your on-hold callers. If you don’t have an ASCAP license you can’t legally play copyrighted music through your phone system. And even though the radio station you’re playing to callers has paid its ASCAP fees you still aren’t legally able to retransmit that signal. The radio station likely won’t mind — they want all the listeners they can get. However, playing a radio station over the phone is actually a violation of the law.

But with a telephone on-hold message, you can solve these problems. And give yourself another opportunity to sell to that customer. First, your customer will realize they haven’t been disconnected. Second, they’re hearing about your business.

You’re reinforcing your sales message. You can tell the customer how important you think they are. Plus you can tell them about products or services they might not be aware of.

Third, you won’t be violating any music copyright laws with a custom-produced telephone on-hold message.

Sick of being on-holdYou never want to leave customers on hold for very long, but it’s an inevitable part of daily business. Why not use that time to make your customer feel important and take another opportunity to interact with your customers?

I began producing telephone messages-on-hold for clients across the country more than 15 years ago. A custom-produced on-hold message can be updated on a regular basis to reflect changes in products, services, prices, and specials. They’re easy to update for holidays or special promotions. And they’ll give your business an edge over the competition.

Take a listen to my On-Hold Messages demo right now. If you’d like to learn more about telephone on-hold messaging please call me at (303) 915-9317 or email me at tim@weboutloud.com.

 

 

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When Good Policies Go Bad

Rules and regulations.

We all hate them but yet we can’t live without them, especially in business.

Be sure your company policies don't hurt your marketingUsually, the rules and regulations when it comes to business, are called policies.  It’s important to have policies in place so everyone in the organization knows how to handle situations when they arise. With policies in place, people don’t have to think about how to handle a situation.

There’s the problem.

People don’t have to think and so they don’t think about how to best serve the customer. If a company relies totally on its policies to deal with situations your business may come across as inept — not the communications message you want to be sending.

Let me give you a couple of examples to show you what I mean.

A few years ago, I was talking to someone who worked as a clerk for a large national department store.  He had a customer who wanted to purchase an item that was on sale.  However the item was unavailable in this particular store, although it was available at one of the store’s other locations in town.  The customer asked to have the item shipped from the other store to her home and the clerk, being a customer service pro, said, “No problem.”

The customer left the store, happy that she would be receiving her purchase in a few days.

So, what’s the problem?

You’re thinking, where’s the problem? The problem is with store policy.

As the clerk began writing up the order to have the item shipped, his boss informed him that store policy is that items that are on sale for more than 50 percent cannot be shipped. You may be thinking, well that’s a good policy because the store would lose money on sale items being shipped.

Here’s where a good policy went bad.

The item the customer wanted was priced at $350, and that was the sale price!  According to store policy because this item was on sale for more than 50 percent it couldn’t be shipped.  Now if the customer had bought a $30 item that was full-price the store would have shipped it, no questions asked.

That’s where a good policy turns bad.

Be sure your employees can override a company policy using common sense.

Policies need exceptions

Let your people make exceptions for bad policiesHere’s another example that came from a nationally broadcast radio program that tried to help people solve consumer related issues. A woman called the show to seek help on resolving a problem she was having with a health club in the Midwest.  She had paid a large membership fee to join the health club and was then diagnosed with an illness that would prevent her from doing any vigorous exercise.  She wanted to get her membership fee refunded because she was not going to be able to use the service but the health club was refusing to refund the money.  They told her that the policy was that fees could not be refunded and the policy couldn’t be violated even with her health problems.

The radio program got the health club person on the phone and on the air and she informed the host that even though this client was ill and unable to use the health club they couldn’t alter the policy.  She said if she did it for this person she would have to do it for everyone (highly unlikely). The host suggested that maybe with a doctor’s note — confirming the woman’s illness — the health club could issue a refund.  She replied that the client could get the doctor to write anything so that wouldn’t work either.

It went back and forth like this for a while making the health club look worse and worse.  I doubt that a refund was ever issued but this problem likely did some damage to the reputation of the health club.

Allow some flexibility

Remember, policies are good, but complete inflexibility when it comes to administering policies is bad.  Be sure to tell your employees to follow the policies, especially when dealing with customers. At the same time, let your employees know that they should also use some common sense with the policies.

Don’t let good policies create bad communications.

 

Why I Check My Email First

One of the time management tips I’ve seen many times is to not check your email first thing in the morning.

I’m not a time management expert by any means. In fact, I could definitely do a much better job of time management.

However, it seems counter productive to me to avoid checking my email for an hour or two after I start my work day.

Checking email first isn't a bad thingAlong with my voiceover clients around the US and Canada, I have clients in Asia and Europe. By the time I start my day (and I start pretty early), the day is over for my Asian clients, and it’s well into the afternoon for my European clients.  Waiting a few more hours to get to my email doesn’t help my clients and it doesn’t help me.

How can you plan?

One of the first things I do each day is to take some time for planning out the day. My planning naturally includes what voiceover projects I need to record. If one of my non-US clients has sent me a project while I was sleeping, and I don’t check my email, I won’t include it in my plan for the day.

If I wait a couple of hours to check my email and then find a project waiting, it’ll throw off my plan for the day. That just adds more stress as I try to rearrange my day.

Most days, it takes me less than five minutes first thing in the morning to check my email. I skim down my Inbox checking to see if there are emails from clients. I read those first and respond if I need to.  Then I double back and quickly review the remaining emails.

Keep it lean

I’ve unsubscribed from a lot of newsletter-type emails because I wasn’t seeing value in most of them. I unsubscribe from most marketing emails the first time they show up in my Inbox. By keeping my Inbox pretty lean, I’m able to quickly go through and clean things out.

One email management tip I do agree with is not checking my email constantly. I don’t have any alerts sent to my phone or my desktop so I’m not prompted to check email until I’m ready. Once I’ve checked it first thing in the morning, I can move on to other work. Then through the day, I’ll do a quick check every hour or two.

Checking email first thing in morning isn’t necessarily a bad thing. In fact for me, it’s much more productive than waiting until later. Plus I think it’s give me the opportunity to provide better service to my clients.