Too few companies view efficient call handling as a strategic sales and marketing tool. However, first impressions are vital to business success and telephone presence can be one of the largest determining factors in shaping perceptions of a company.
Research by PHMG, an audio branding consultancy, found that among 2,234 Americans surveyed, 59 percent wouldn’t give repeat business to an organization if their first call wasn’t dealt with to expectations
Creating a positive phone experience not only prevents customers from hanging up, it also installs a positive brand image in their mind. Companies can achieve this positive experience when they train staff to present a professional and polite manner when answering the phone by using an appropriate greeting and immediately identifying themselves.
A Waiting Game
Time spent on hold in an automated queue is universally regarded as an annoyance. Customers don’t want to feel like their time is being wasted, which is what happens when they’re left listening to monotonous beeps or repetitive “please hold” messages. Even music can be just as irritating for callers if it’s poorly selected.
For cleaning and maintenance organizations, customer annoyance represents a threat to profitability. Inbound calls are a major source of new business leads and customers have a notoriously low tolerance for poor call-handling practice.
Callers are simply unwilling to be left hanging on the telephone for even a short period of time without entertainment, so it is important to consider how best to engage them to avoid caller hang-ups.
Cleaning and maintenance companies field a large number of calls per day and, despite best intentions, putting customers on hold is almost impossible to avoid. In such cases, it is essential businesses ensure the sounds heard during this time best represent the business while generating a positive user experience.
On-hold marketing—the customized voice and music messages played whenever callers are put on hold or transferred—turns hold time into a valuable window of opportunity for communicating and interacting with customers.
Extending far beyond a simple request to continue holding, these highly targeted messages provide relevant information about the company to customers in a subtle, unobtrusive manner. They also improve service levels by providing caller entertainment that decreases the perceived amount of time on hold, reducing caller hang-ups by 79 percent.
In terms of content, the messages are particularly effective in upselling and cross-selling, so a person could initially call to book a deep-cleaning service and end up scheduling a carpet cleaning after hearing a promotion for it over the telephone.
Having an on-hold solution which allows for regular changes allows a company to refresh its messages to reflect seasonal services or to support other marketing activity across the business, such as preparing hard wood flooring for winter.
By mentioning staff accreditations or promoting the environmentally friendly aspect of the company’s services, the messages also can help a business can gain the listeners’ trust and assure them that the business is a first-class provider that stands out from its competition.
A Cut Above the Rest
Cleaning and maintenance companies operate within a saturated market. Unless a business is committed to a best-practice approach to call handling, customers are likely to take their business elsewhere. Business owners with an audio branding strategy in place are more likely to keep their old customers and gain new ones.