While ‘On Hold’ phone messaging has been at the forefront of organisations for more than 25 years, it’s now more crucial than ever thanks ever evolving technology and the preference for online research before making purchasing decisions.
Alan McGirvan, the man credited with introducing “On Hold” phone messages to the Asia-Pacific, says technology has re-programmed the shopping and purchasing habits of entire generations and now the phone has become an even more vital link.
“There’s no doubt that that the interaction between the individual and the business or organisation has changed. However, what hasn’t shifted is the need to establish and then maintain a relationship with customers”.
“And that’s where clever use of ‘On Hold’ messages are again en vogue as the old ‘face’ of the business is now being replaced with the ‘voice’ of the business”.
Mr McGirvan says as many businesses and organisations embraced the advantages of new technology and the advantages of new phone systems over the last decade, they have opted to either replace the message on hold with an ‘In-House’ message that give callers a menu of options.
“This only caused callers to become more frustrated. Other businesses tried scripting and recording their own phone messaging in-house, only to find that they became outdated very quickly, as well as becoming impossible to update.”
“Smart operators are now back and are using their “On Hold” systems to position the business with a professional sound to manage traffic flow for transactions and enquiries.”
“With many organisations there’ll be a range of young and older clients and while their preferences for communication can differ the one thing all clients have is a high expectation of customer service.”
“This could be one-on-one contact over the phone or being given access to information to solve their queries. We’re now seeing the emergence of personalised customer service.”
Statistics from a CNN survey shows that 70% percent of callers who are placed on hold with just silence hang up within 60 seconds; of them, 35% won’t call back and most of them go elsewhere.
Mr McGirvan says more crucial than ever is to use a message on hold with other marketing tools.
“That professional, spoken word has become an integral way to create that first impression-It’s the first thing the customer or potential customer encounters so it needs to be concise and engaging to the caller”.
“Promoting special offers, avoiding call abandonment by directing customers to the website to save time, handling traffic flow and ensuring callers are prepared with details such as date of birth, account membership numbers and contact details save time for both the business and the customer.”
“Technology like Interactive Voice Response (IVR) comes into play and helps callers reach their desired area quickly, saving them and the organisation time.”
“It’s more than likely callers will be on a smart phone or sitting in front of a computer, so, a Message on Hold can direct them to the web site which will then guide through queries and tasks which they thought could only be resolved over the phone.”
Mr McGirvan says Message on Hold Content also needs to inform about other products and services or relevant and new information.
“On the phone, customers and potential customers are a captive audience…And because they’ve called in, they are ready to take the next productive step.”
“It’s about making the business more personable, more professional, communicative and attentive.”
“In other words, replacing ‘face’ of the business with the ‘voice’ of the business”.
“You’ll also offer clients new and old a convenient prompt at this crucial ‘point of sale as well as introducing them to the flavour of the business.”
McGirvanmedia celebrates its 30th anniversary as a leading Queensland company this year, as it continues to operate nationally and across four countries providing a full range of audio services from Phone Messages on Hold, language translations, IVR, VIOP solutions, jingle, music and commercial productions.