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How To Get Positive Reviews In Two Steps.

…or “Do the Two-Step and See Your Reviews and Sales Funnel Grow!”

We’re seeing great results from positive reviews from our customers.

We’ve always known that positive testimonials and reviews were an important slice in our overall marketing pie. They appear in every brochure, our FaceBook page, “Google My Business” page…and they’ve been on our testimonial web page for over 20 years.

Confirmation that positive reviews bring new business comes from prospective customers telling us how the reviews convinced them choose us.  Since any business or practice can benefit from sharing their own positive testimonials, we wanted to share what we’ve learned about how to get positive review.

The two main keys for more positive reviews are:

1)  Do great work

2)  Ask for positive reviews with an easy way to post them for the greatest exposure.

Do great work.

A.    Be pro-active in everything you do, and whenever possible, anticipate your client’s needs, before he or she even knows what those needs are.

B.     Be flexible and accommodate reasonable requests that might be outside of the normal scope of work.

C.     Exceed expectations, in our case, delivering a script or a finished program before the anticipated due date.

Give the client time to use your product or service before you ask for a review, but don’t wait too long. Enthusiasm is highest while their experience is new. For us, the right time is within the first month or two of receiving their new On Hold program.

Ask, making it easy for them to post positive reviews.

Get Positive Reviews

A.    Send an email asking “How Did We Do?”

B.     In your email, provide them a links to any web page that allows them to post their positive comments such as your FaceBook page or Google My Business review page.

C.     Make it clear that contributing a review is strictly voluntary and that if they have a company policy against online testimonials, that there’s no problem.

D.    From the e-mail the client receives to where he/she types in his/her thoughts should be no more than two mouse-clicks, making it just about as easy as it can be.

E.     Some customers will want to give you a testimonial, but don’t want to deal with your links, so make it easy to simply email their positive comments back to you.

Get The Most From Your Positive Reviews.

Thank those that post or contribute positive reviews. Send a “thank you” email or personal note so they know you noticed their kind words…and that it was appreciated.

Visibility to potential buyers is the key, so consider which review sites to provide links. When good reviews are acquired, replicate them across all your marketing when possible.  Keep reviews archived in email and desktop folders for later use.

Use a niche market approach to leveraging reviews.  When corresponding with a prospective client, include a glowing review from a customer in a similar business.  Even better, ask for permission from the contributing reviewer to provide their contact information so they can be contacted, turning your review into a reference.

Employing this practice will not only put you on your way to providing superior service to your new prospects, you’ll have new glowing reviews in no time!

Brian Illes

                      Brian Illes – VP/Operations

About Brian

Brian joined On Hold Marketing after a 20-year career as radio station program director and on air personality in markets in the eastern United States. Not only skilled as a writer, producer and voice talent for On Hold Marketing, Brian is a true wizard at overseeing our studio production and tending to Customer Service.

Business Owner’s Blunder and Humility!

Business owners are blessed with having an unwritten code of camaraderie with other business owners.  Many of us can relate and feel the pain(s) that other business owners are experiencing.  And we’re not afraid to share our observations, solicited or not solicited, when we see other business owners losing touch with their own businesses.   That’s exactly what happened to me, owner of On Hold Marketing, last week.

Jodie owns a small business in Texas.  He called our company early in February to ask us about our On Hold Messaging service.  He searched for us on Google, and we ranked favorably per the term he used in his search to find us.  Great!  We attracted a prospective client!  Before he picked up the phone and called us, he combed through a few of our web pages, and eventually he landed on our FAQ page.   As he was asking me about our services, I answered him with the details we currently offer in terms of price, contract term, and a few other elements of our service.  He liked ALL of my answers, but sounded surprised by my answers.  He immediately asked for me to send an agreement to him, as he found our offer aligning with his needs.  Great! We win the new client!  But the most valuable aspect of the call was his advice.  He asked, “when was the last time you scrubbed your website?”    My immediate response was that we manage our website very closely.  I probably even sounded defensive.  We do all the ‘right’ things to allow us to be found.  He then replied, “but all the important and favorable answers you gave me verbally on your service differ from what you have posted in your FAQ page”.

Jodie was right. The incorrect information on our FAQ page was simply outdated, and our better, more flexible options we had developed over the past 3-5 years simply never were reflected on the FAQ page.  I would like to think we are all extremely diligent with our content, but the lesson and takeaway for us was that we must regularly schedule time to scour EVERY PAGE on our website (we have nearly 40 pages) and ensure its accuracy.   I wonder how many clients we may have missed out on winning by NOT telling them that we no longer require long term contracts.  Or, how many prospective clients did not know that we will LOAN them equipment when they sign up for service instead of forcing them to buy a $200 piece of equipment.

Perhaps you are very in tune with every page on your website, but per my experience, I find this is not the case with small business owners.  After my aforementioned experience, I started to dig a little deeper into a few sites of other small businesses that are locally owned.  It doesn’t take long to poke around and find some seriously archaic info collecting in the corners and crevasses of a website.  Heck, start with your CONTACT US page, and there’s a good chance…….something has changed and not been managed.

PS:  We re-wrote the FAQ page within a day and sent it to our new client and friend in Texas for his review.   Thanks Jodie!

Rich Moncure

About Rich

Rich is the President of On Hold Marketing, a marketing focused audio studio helping businesses and practices take advantage of their telephone system’s On Hold capabilities. Prior to On Hold Marketing, Rich spent 20 years in telecommunications working for such giants as Williams Communications, NextiraOne, Bell Atlantic and Nortel Networks.

The REAL Art of Crafting your On Hold Script

At On Hold Marketing we have over 30 years of combined script writing experience, so don’t ever feel like the weight doing the actual writing is on your shoulders. We’ll take care of it for you. We do need your input on what to write about, and your input on changes. And when you give us that input, remember to speak to your audience’s level of knowledge. It’s easy to “talk the talk” of your business because you probably do it all day long within your office, plant or other sort of job site. But not everyone who goes On Hold in your place of business “Talks the talk” the same as you and your co-workers.

Watch out for technical jargon in an On Hold Script.

Recently a medical client gave us revisions to a script with several really technical medical terms. In the course of fine tuning for the next draft, we came to learn that those terms were essentially related to dry skin. Can every caller to a doctors’ office relate to dry skin? Probably. Will many callers to a doctors’ office understand the technical/medical terms for those various skin conditions? Hard to say…but why take the risk? If you’re in an extremely vertical industry and almost all of your callers deal in your industry jargon every day, that’s one thing. But if yours is a public-facing business, or if what you offer is not an everyday occurrence for most of your callers, it’s always better to keep it simple.

Solving the puzzle of your technical terms so callers can
understand and appreciate the benefits.

Whether you like to write your own On Hold script (maybe 10-15% of our clients), want to write just some rough drafts and have us polish it (a smaller percentage) or want to just give us the basic facts and have us craft something that provides information that’s of use and value to your callers (the vast majority of our clients), we’re here to help…and to “protect you from yourself.” Because we have an outside perspective on your business, we’re able to put ourselves in your shoes…understanding and communicating the salient points you’re trying to get across to your callers…and put ourselves in the their shoes as well…making sure that what we’re saying is easy for them to understand.

Learning from you helps us achieve your goals.

Part of the process will be us asking you some questions about your business, how you operate, how customers do business with you, and how we can help you attract more customers, or generate more revenue from your existing customers.

So whether you’re a new client facing the On Hold script process for the first time, or an existing client in need of a script update, don’t worry. We’ll help you make sure that you’re always communicating the most understandable way to the majority of your callers every time a call is placed On Hold. Because “Your Business is On The Line!”

Brian Illes

Brian Illes – VP/Operations

About Brian

Brian joined On Hold Marketing after a 20-year career as radio station program director and on air personality in markets in the eastern United States. Not only skilled as a writer, producer and voice talent for On Hold Marketing, Brian is a true wizard at overseeing our studio production and tending to Customer Service.

Why On Hold Messages Require Updating.

On Hold Messages

Perhaps in 2017 your business added a new service, or won a community award.  Maybe a new certification was earned.  You know it.  Your company employees know it.  But, do your clients know it?  Do your business partners know it?  If not, that’s a shame, because while you took the steps to earn it, you forgot to announce it.  You may have overlooked the importance of sharing your news with your customers.

So now, it’s possibly a pretty expensive secret you are accidentally keeping. Though it is important to announce new information in a newsletter, or on the company website, a very logical place to announce the new information is to your captured audience callers that are ON HOLD or IN QUEUE on your telephone system.

Why is it so important for your On Hold Messages to be current and accurate?

  • First of all, your callers appreciate hearing something other than what they’ve been hearing for the past year or two.  Clients that hear current On Hold Messaging content get a more favorable impression of your business.
  • On the other side of the coin, On Hold Messages that do not reflect current conditions, or contain incorrect information, actually degrades the perception of the company.

It truly is analogous with leaving your reception lobby either void of any artwork, or keeping the same old magazines on the table year after year.  We advise businesses to change their messaging on a regular scheduled basis, because waiting on HOLD is very akin to sitting in a business lobby.

Are you aware of exactly what your callers On Hold are hearing?

Why are so many businesses guilty of not updating their on hold messages?  Because they don’t call themselves very often.  Yet, they walk through their own lobby every day, so the décor in the lobby does get noticed and managed.

Equipping a physical waiting room or lobby can be quite expensive.  Taking care of that ‘waiting time’ on HOLD or in QUEUE can cost as little as $1.25 per day.

It’s easy to find out how this impacts your customers.

Click here to see a one minute video on the importance of keeping your On Hold messages current.

Rich Moncure

About Rich

Rich is the President of On Hold Marketing, a marketing focused audio studio helping businesses and practices take advantage of their telephone system’s On Hold capabilities. Prior to On Hold Marketing, Rich spent 20 years in telecommunications working for such giants as Williams Communications, NextiraOne, Bell Atlantic and Nortel Networks.

Why a phone call to your business is more important than ever.

on hold messaging

What once was THE MOST highly traveled portal into a business has become a mere shadow of itself.  The PBX / key system / Centrex, which processed all phone calls to the business, was THE lifeline for nearly all businesses.  And if the phone system was down, business screeched to a halt, executives stormed the telecommunications room door, and the hunt was on to identify the culprit (equipment or carrier) and exercise the contractual emergency response times.  But the internet, email, texting, cell phones, online shopping, and other business portals have significantly altered that landscape and much of it in a very helpful and productive way.

In the early 2000’s, when I was an account rep, selling PBX’s to a fairly large medical group, I was taken aback by the high level CIO’s comment to me; “PBX redundancy and uptime is not as important to us as it was in years’ past”.  He held his cell phone up to me, suggesting that cell phones provided a sense of “system redundancy”.  I didn’t understand or grasp, until that very moment, that indeed, the world of telecommunications was changing at a very rapid pace.  The reality was that internet, email, chat, smartphones and other emerging communication tools were indeed diminishing the value of the legacy PBX / key system.  And the pushing of clients to use these alternative portals was gaining momentum.

Businesses continue to work hard to push clients to alternative portals, due to the staggering costs associated with personnel to manage phone calls and manage the systems needed to take the calls.  The good news is that recent generations actually embrace portals, self-help, and information gathering that does not include a conversation with a human.  Traditional retail brands such as Toys-R-Us (kids like apps on phones, and not toys anymore), The Limited, and Gymboree have all filed for bankruptcy, thanks in part to cultural buying habits and online shopping.

So, why is the phone call more important today? 

If your customer has chosen to call you, it’s important.  Now here’s the problem.  A real-time discussion is needed to solve a scheduling conflict or a billing error needs to be addressed.   There may even be emotion involved.  This is the point whereby a client can be earned or lost.

While the phone call of yesteryear may have been for routine communication, clearly worthy of being handled in a more automated manner, today’s phone call typically has a greater sense of need / urgency and handling that is beyond the ordinary.  It’s also loaded with opportunity in terms of solidifying a relationship, saving an order, or furthering branding efforts.  Yet, many businesses have abandoned providing good tender, love, and care of the customer phone call.

Automated Attendants swamp the world, forcing the caller to spend time working through options, menus, selections, and in the event the menu doesn’t offer their desired destination, callers are often intentionally disconnected, not offered a ‘zero out’ to a person (because they don’t exist), or they may be allowed to leave a voice mail message that is not responded to in a timely manner.

When automated attendants truly became popular in the 1990’s, careful attention was given to the design of the Automated Attendant, and the clear majority of business executives wanted that caller to have an option to get personal help if needed.  Even that condition has changed over the past two decades in the ever present desire to drive out costs, completely overlooking the potential consequences of a poor customer experience.

What action can you take to avoid losing clients?

Here are a few deep dive recommendations for any business owner, sales executive, or public relations manager at a business.

Try to assign a $ value of a lost client, or a gained new client. It will help to evaluate the bullet points below. Next, call your business three times.  The first time as a potential new client seeking a conversation.  Another time as an existing client needing support.  And a third time as an angry existing client needing to discuss a bill or other issue.  Make your calls at peak calling times so you an experience potential worst case scenarios.

If you still use voice mail, make absolutely sure that each employee records their own personal greeting. Too often today, that is forgotten and overlooked.  Imagine your client’s frustration when they reach John’s voice mail, only to hear…”the person….at extension 302…is unavailable….please leave a message…..”

Now your client is thinking:

  1. Is this John’s voice mailbox for sure?
  2.  Why doesn’t the greeting say his name?
  3. Does John still work here?
  4. Is John on vacation?
  5. Will I get a response?

…And if you are disallowing a caller the ability to dial zero and seek additional help, you have essentially slapped them in the face.  There’s no other way to put it.

If you’re using ON HOLD MESSAGING, we naturally think that’s a good thing, as long as it is using current content and providing useful information to the caller. But, consider NOT telling them to go to the website. They KNOW how to get to your website.  They called you for a reason that most likely could not be addressed on your website.

If, indeed, your portals are drawing some clients away from calling you, consider removing your AUTOMATED ATTENDANT, and given your lower call traffic, going above and beyond with that rare caller to your business. Seize the opportunity to bond with that client and make the connection that no portal can provide.  And rest easy that your increased personal touch will not cause clients to abandon your other portals.  Newer generations love portals.  Older generations?  Not so much.  Take a moment to evaluate the loss of a client that prefers a conversation.

Finally, we all have competitors.  We certainly do here at On Hold Marketing, and some of them are good friends, potential referral sources, and industry partners.   When I call some of them, I continue to marvel at how many of them choose to not answer their phones during business hours.  The automated attendant answers, offers options that include  “for Sales, press 2” at which time I press 2, and get a voice mail greeting of the sales team or business owner.  If I’m a prospective client, that is……a lost sale.  If I am an existing client perhaps seeking to cancel service, I’m stating that on voice mail, and that is a lost client, with little to no chance of being revived.

Today, the phone call is important. There may not be as many phone calls to your business, but they are important. ……..more important than ever!

Rich Moncure

About Rich

Rich is the President of On Hold Marketing, a marketing focused audio studio helping businesses and practices take advantage of their telephone system’s On Hold capabilities. Prior to On Hold Marketing, Rich spent 20 years in telecommunications working for such giants as Williams Communications, NextiraOne, Bell Atlantic and Nortel Networks.

 

You Don’t Want “Something On Hold”

 

This is for all the businesses and practice managers that feel like they need “something on hold”…that is, they’re not sure what to do about callers who are On Hold.  They realize that leaving callers on hold to silence or beeps is probably not the best, but which of all the options is the right one?

Begin with the reasonable expectations.

When a mission is assigned to get “something on hold”, the result  is likely to be under-appreciated and proportionate to the effort that went into it.  The person who is On Hold is important, as an existing or potential customer or patient, and whatever “something” ends up being, it’s likely to be less than engaging and will likely diminish their opinion of your image, reputation, and service level.

The big miss in all this is that expectations are so low for what could be gained from a properly planned On Hold experience.  For starters, a proper On Hold program engages the caller’s attention so they focus less on their wait time…fewer callers hang up.  Businesses can use On Hold moments to assure callers that they’ll be helped, while delivering soft-marketing messages that complement concurrent marketing on TV, radio, print, web sites, and social media.

“Something on hold” is a lose-lose proposition.

Are medical and dental practices immune to competition?  Not according to the diverse advertising we witness on TV, radio, print, web sites, and social media.  Is the patient experience important?  They tell us it is…and being On Hold is part of the patient experience.  When the practice manager applies the same expectation of results (and effort) to On Hold as is expected of other marketing and patient experiences, the result is better informed and more patient patients.

That’s right; On Hold messaging can create an engaging patient experience while educating the patient about the practice, encouraging use of the patient portal, or health tips.  To put it another way, proper On Hold messaging distracts callers from the fact that they’re not receiving service….with messages about the things you provide that enhance their lives.

“I simply didn’t know” = low expectations & low results

The benefits of on hold messaging are different for every kind of business or practice.  Generally, businesses will increase the time a customer is willing to hold (important because callers can hang-up and call a competitor), feature new products and services, enhance their branding, or increase enrollment in seminars or incentive programs.

Practices benefit from a better hold experience because patients must often stay on the line to make an appointment or speak to a nurse.  Being captive, their frustration can build if they aren’t engaged with content and distracted from the wait time.  Practices also benefit by sharing news about new screenings or health prevention measures that patients can request.  Practices often share their community involvement and new features and resources on their web site.

Benefits, goals and results take shape.

What is the right On Hold experience for you to deliver?  That depends on  myriad factors that can be evaluated in a short conversation with someone  who is experienced…and willing to learn about your listening audience, typical hold duration, the frequency of repeat calls, and opportunities to make changes in the content of the messaging.

Content that makes you uniquely competitive in your market builds your reputation and branding.  Other elements such as the right genre of properly licensed music and broadcast quality voice talent further enhances your professional image.

“Something On Hold” may be low cost….but is it?…  If the consequence of a mediocre “Something On Hold” is a poor customer or patient experience, then the answer is a resounding “NO.”

Dan Bryant

About Dan

I’m one of five seasoned professionals here at On Hold Marketing where we all have over 10 years’ experience. On Hold Marketing services are custom produced to produce the benefits and results required by each individual customer.

On Hold Messages For Assisted Living / Nursing Homes

In the United States, over 12 million Americans are making senior living decisions for their loved ones. That number increases every year. The needs of every senior citizen vary from independent living to fully managed care. A family member calling on behalf of a parent or grandparent can feel overwhelmed during the decision-making process. How do they decide? What factors do they need to take into account? How does your facility match up with their needs? And as the number of older Americans has increased, so has the number of communities established to provide care for them…resulting in an exponential increase in the competition among those communities for residents.

In most instances, the first contact a potential resident, or a potential resident’s loved one, has with your community is likely on the telephone. And chances are, that phone call is going to be put On Hold for the period of time necessary for your Admissions Director, Executive Director or other member of your team to complete their current task in order to give this new caller their full, undivided attention. What impression will that caller come away with during that all-important first encounter with your community?

How do On Hold Messages For Assisted Living help?

A customized Care and Comfort On Hold program, containing On Hold messages for Assisted living, lets your callers know that you care about them, that you appreciate their patience, that they haven’t been forgotten about or hung up on, and gives you the opportunity to begin telling the story of your facility, and how it provides the “Peace of Mind” family members are looking for the parents or grandparents.

We know how to combine the music and messages to create effective On Hold messages for assisted living that occupy the caller’s attention and distract them from thinking about the amount of time they spend holding. They’ll actually think their Hold time is less when they’re presented with information that is of use and value to them, and how your facility contributes the safety and well-being of their loved one when they need it the most. This is far and away more desirable than silence On Hold, those annoying beep tones, or a radio station that someone in your office might like but your callers don’t.

So What Do I Say?

When a caller hears content On Hold – at a retirement community, a doctor’s office, car dealership, retail store, restaurant or any other business – a little voice goes off in the back of their head that says “Why do I care?” For a period that might range from a few seconds to as long as a few minutes, you have a captive audience that wants to know how you’re going to help them or the family member they have called on behalf of. So get right to the point: Here’s what we have…here’s what we do that makes living here more than just an enjoyable – makes it an Experience! The content of the messages is the key to engagement and to distracting them from the fact that they’re waiting On Hold. Examples might include:

1.       The kinds of living arrangements available.

On Hold Messages for Assisted Living and Nursing Homes

On Hold Messages promote your social activities!

2.       Dining options

3.       On-site services such as light-housekeeping, laundry services, barber shop and hair salon services.

4.       Proximity to nearby medical parks, healthcare centers, clinics and hospitals

5.       On-site social and recreational facilities such as a gym, pool, tennis courts, community garden, library, game room, snack bar, etc.

6.       Proximity to nearby attractions such as golf courses, bowling alleys, shopping districts, theatres, sports teams or other cultural attractions.

7.       Information on in-house medical care such as staff nurses, physical therapists, physicians and other providers.

8.       The availability of Alzheimer’s or dementia care should the need arise.

9.       Staff led activities such as exercise classes, arts & crafts, cooking classes, technology classes, social outings and more.

10.   Physical location of the community, proximity to nearby local landmarks, community web site.

11.   An invitation to schedule a tour of the community.

12.   Availability of transportation to medical and dental appointments for residents who no longer drive.

The right content shifts the caller’s attention away from the wait time and toward the benefits of your community…and in every case the focus is on a pain-free experience.

What kind of music will my Care and Comfort On Hold program have?

Our production library is rich with a wide variety of musical styles, genres and tempos, and we have a long and excellent track record of matching up the right music to the tone of your script and the professional image of your community. It’s always important to remember that the messages are the stars in your program…the music is just the glue that holds them together. If a caller comes away from your Care and Comfort On Hold program humming the tune of your music, but doesn’t remember the content of your messages, we’ve failed. That’s why our music options are decidedly background in nature. We’re not going to lull anyone to sleep, we’re just going to provide them with a calming, professional, assuring background that reinforces your community as a the next natural step in the life the caller.

How often will my Care and Comfort On Hold program change?

There is no right or wrong answer to this question. It depends on how often things change at your community. Do you change your other marketing efforts quarterly, semi-annually or annually? Then change your On Hold program in conjunction. Does your community have a quarterly or seasonal them that changes four times a year? Change your program along with it. Things stay pretty much the same all year round? Then you only need to change once a year to keep fresh and current. We’ll help you determine that when we talk on the phone. And we’ll keep you updated with the right seasonal information at the right time, regardless of how often you want / need your program to be updated.

How does my Care and Comfort On Hold program play into my telephone system?

Telephone system types vary more widely than ever before…and how you play an on hold program to caller is dependent on the phone system’s capabilities.  Many telephone systems have an audio input jack to accept audio from an external audio source.  VoIP or Hosted telephone systems usually require an audio file.  Yet there are variations to every rule so asking your telephone dealer or your on hold provider is the best way to find out what your telephone system can do.

For more information, just call at 800-342-0098 during business hours and we’ll answer the phone…and your questions or visit our Care and Comfort On Hold page: www.careandcomfortonhold.com

Brian Illes

veterinary hold messages and music

Brian Illes – VP/Operations

About Brian

I’m one of five seasoned professionals here at On Hold Marketing where we all have over 10 years’ experience. Our Care and Comfort On Hold service is helping Assisted Living and Nursing Home Communities reduce caller hang-ups and frustration, and reminds callers about the many services being provided to their loved ones.

What is MFSP and why is it good for On Hold Messaging on Hosted VoIP systems?

As business phone systems continue to move to the cloud and away from hardware based solutions, the capabilities of providing On Hold Messaging are impacted.  The traditional practice of connecting a 3rd party ‘player’ to a physical port on a wall mounted phone system is waning, though not completely.  So what happens when there is no port to connect a player?  No worries. Nearly every Hosted Voice over IP service on the market allows for the client to continue to return Music On Hold or Message On Hold to callers that are…..on hold.  But the methods and capabilities of each VoIP service vary widely.  Some are actually steps backward from the traditional approach mentioned below, while others are very forward in terms of benefits delivered.

Traditionally, telephone systems required an external player.

Here’s how On Hold Messaging has traditionally worked on customer-owned phone systems:  A 3rd party player, MP3 players are the current best choice, constantly plays a loop of music / messaging to the audio input port on the phone system.  Callers hear the content wherever it happens to be playing at a given point in time.  It’s like turning on the radio in your car.  Whatever is being played at that moment is what you are going to hear.

Hosted VoIP Systems play on hold messaging from internal memory.

Now here’s the newer way with customer subscribed Hosted VoIP systems:  On Hosted VoIP services, there is no audio input port.  Nearly all Hosted VoIP providers will accept an audio file, which is then uploaded to the Hosted Telephone System and programmed to play when callers are placed on hold.  But, there are many variables to consider.

  1. ·         Does the audio file start from the beginning?
  2. ·         How large of a file is supported?
  3. ·         Can multiple files be stored?  If so, can they be told to play in a shuffled or random manner?
  4. ·         Can the client load the files or is that capability reserved to the VoIP provider?
  5. ·         What audio file format is required?
  6. ·         Is the audio compressed, and if so, is audio quality compromised?

The answers to the above are contingent upon the Hosted VoIP service provider.  Some are significantly more flexible than others, and for those businesses that use On Hold Messaging as a marketing tool or image enhancer, the answers to the above are very important and often overlooked.  The general assumption has been….”with new technology, I certainly get more flexibility and features, don’t I?”    This is not necessarily the case at all.

So while we have experienced that many Hosted VoIP services fall short in how they approach Message On Hold when compared with traditional methods, there is one particular feature possibility within a Hosted VoIP environment that is…..well…let’s say “Utopian”.  Years ago, we coined an acronym in the on hold messaging industry call MFSP.

MFSP stands for MULTI-FILE SHUFFLE PLAY.

MULTI-FILE means that the VoIP hosting service can accept and store more than 5 separate audio files (the more the merrier) and make them available to callers on hold. SHUFFLE PLAY means that the host can allow for the files to be presented to the caller in a random or shuffled manner, much like we are accustomed when we program our playlists on our personal music devices to shuffle songs. As a quick side-note, there are scenarios (contingent on the profile of the caller) that are best suited for multi-file, top-down play (MFTDP) so that the client can present the most important messaging as guaranteed to play, and in a sequential order. An even bigger bonus is if the Hosted IP provider can provide either MFSP or MFTDP.

With MFSP, the end result is that callers will hear messages (files) from the beginning of each message. When a message concludes (and assuming the caller is still on hold), the next message will start playing from a playlist, and of course, from the beginning of that message.  Each message is essentially its own audio file.   This offers a much more eloquent and professional On Hold experience for the caller in most scenarios. While most companies will naturally aspire to deliver low hold times, industry studies suggest that a caller can expect a hold or queue time from 25 seconds up to several minutes in some environments such as a call center, parts counter or doctor’s office. On Hold Messages are typically designed to last between 18-25 seconds, so in a long hold time scenario, a caller may hear several messages.

Photo Credit canstockphoto.com

 

 

A repeat caller will become more annoyed over time if they are presented with the same messaging, in the same order every time they are in queue or on hold.

 

 

 

Another benefit of MFSP focuses on the aspect of MULTI FILE. Many Hosted IP providers that support MFSP also allow the capability for those MULTIPLE FILES to be assigned to different departments. Here is an example. Callers on hold in an automobile dealership’s SERVICE department could hear messages concerning winterizing their vehicle or anything associated with servicing their automobile. These callers are most likely existing clients to the dealership. Callers to the SALES department could hear on hold messaging more appropriately designed for that audience, to include financing specials or other SALES related topics. This is a prime example of target marketing that can really for a company.

There are a few Hosted VoIP groups currently offering their On Hold Messaging as MFSP.  They include (but are not limited to) Star2Star Communications, Vonage Business, Free PBX, and several Asterisk based offerings.  It is our vision and hope that most other Hosted VoIP providers will eventually adapt their services to provide MFSP, especially as more and more clients jump to cloud based services. It’s kind of a no-brainer.  Everybody wins….including the ‘holder’, the business that placed the call on hold, the Hosted VoIP provider and yes, the on hold messaging company!

Rich Moncure

About Rich

Rich is the President of On Hold Marketing, a marketing focused audio studio helping businesses and practices take advantage of their telephone system’s On Hold capabilities. Prior to On Hold Marketing, Rich spent 20 years in telecommunications working for such giants as Williams Communications, NextiraOne, Bell Atlantic and Nortel Networks.

How Do Care and Comfort On Hold Messages Work For My Retirement Community?

Messages On Hold

Americans are living longer than ever, and there’s more of us making it later into life. Not everyone wants to spend their golden years concerning themselves with housework, yard work, home maintenance or in many cases, even grocery shopping. Many Americans are considering retirement communities offering varying levels of independent and assisted living arrangements. And while the number of older Americans has increased, so has the number of retirement communities…resulting in an exponential increase in the competition among those communities for residents.

In most instances, the first contact a potential resident, or a potential resident’s loved one, has with your community is likely on the telephone. And chances are, that phone call is going to be put On Hold for the period of time necessary for your Admissions Director, Executive Director or other member of your team to complete their current task in order to give this new caller their full, undivided attention. What impression will that caller come away with during that all-important first encounter with your community?

Turning a negative impression into a positive.

A customized Care and Comfort On Hold Messages program from On Hold Marketing lets those callers know that you care about them, you appreciate their patience, that they haven’t been forgotten about or hung up on, and gives you the opportunity to begin telling the story of your facility, and why so many of your current residents are pleased to call it “Home.”

We know how to combine the music and messages to create an effective Care and Comfort On Hold Messages program that occupies the caller’s attention and distracts them from thinking about the amount of time they spend holding. They’ll actually think their Hold time is less when they’re presented with information that is of use and value to them, and how your community can contribute happier, more relaxed and perhaps even healthier life in the years to come. This is far and away more desirable than silence On Hold, those annoying beep tones, or a radio station that someone in your office might like but your callers don’t.

So What Do I Say?

When a caller hears content On Hold – at a retirement community, a doctor’s office, car dealership, retail store, restaurant or any other business – a little voice goes off in the back of their head that says “Why do I care?” For a period that might range from a few seconds to as long as a few minutes, you have a captive audience that wants to know how you’re going to help them, or the family member they have called on behalf of. So get right to the point: Here’s what we have…here’s what we do that makes living here more than just an enjoyable – makes it an Experience! The content of the messages is the key to engagement and to distracting them from the fact that they’re waiting On Hold.

Examples might include:

  1. The kinds of homes / apartments / suites available
  2. Dining options
  3. On-site services such as light-housekeeping, laundry services, barber shop and hair salon services
  4. Proximity to nearby medical parks, healthcare centers, clinics and hospitals
  5. On-site social and recreational facilities such as a gym, pool, tennis courts, community garden, library, game room, snack bar, etc.
  6. Proximity to nearby attractions such as golf courses, bowling alleys, shopping districts, theatres, sports teams or other cultural attractions.
  7. Information on in-house medical care such as staff nurses, physical therapists, physicians and other providers.
  8. The option to transfer from independent living to assisted living, and the availability of Alzheimer’s or dementia care should the need arise.
  9. Staff led activities such as exercise classes, arts & crafts, cooking classes, technology classes, social outings and more.
  10. Physical location of the community, proximity to nearby local landmarks, community web site.
  11. An invitation to schedule a tour of the community.
  12. Availability of transportation to medical and dental appointments for residents who no longer drive.

    On Hold Messages

    When daughters call to check on Mom or Dad, an             engaging experience while On Hold creates a positive                    impression of the care they’re receiving.

The right content shifts the caller’s attention away from the wait time and toward the benefits of your community…

What kind of music will my Care and Comfort On Hold Message program have?

Our production library is rich with a wide variety of musical styles, genres and tempos, and we have a long and excellent track record of matching up the right music to the tone of your script and the professional image of your community. It’s always important to remember that the messages are the stars in your program…the music is just the glue that holds them together. If a caller comes away from your Care and Comfort On Hold program humming the tune of your music, but doesn’t remember the content of your messages, we’ve failed. That’s why our music options are decidedly background in nature. We’re not going to lull anyone to sleep, we’re just going to provide them with a calming, professional, assuring background that reinforces your community as a the next natural step in the life the caller.

How often will my Care and Comfort On Hold program change?

There is no right or wrong answer to this question. It depends on how often things change at your community. Do you change your other marketing efforts quarterly, semi-annually or annually? Then change your On Hold messages in conjunction. Does your community have a quarterly or seasonal them that changes four times a year? Change your program along with it. Things stay pretty much the same all year round? Then you only need to change once a year to keep fresh and current. We’ll help you determine that when we talk on the phone. And we’ll keep you updated with the right seasonal information at the right time, regardless of how often you want / need your program to be updated.

How does my Care and Comfort On Hold Message program play into my telephone system?

Telephone system types vary more widely than ever before…and how you play an on hold program to caller is dependent on the phone system’s capabilities.  Many telephone systems have an audio input jack to accept audio from an external audio source.  VoIP or Hosted telephone systems usually require an audio file.  Yet there are variations to every rule so asking your telephone dealer or your on hold provider is the best way to find out what your telephone system can do.

For more information, just call at 800-342-0098 during business hours and we’ll answer the phone…and your questions or visit our Care and Comfort On Hold Message page: www.careandcomfortonhold.com

Brian Illes

About Brian

veterinary hold messages and music

Brian Illes – VP/Operations

I’m one of five seasoned professionals here at On Hold Marketing where we all have over 10 years’ experience. Our Care and Comfort On Hold service is helping Retirement Communities reduce caller hang-ups and frustration, and reminds callers about the many services you offer to help fully enjoy their retirement years without the worries and responsibilities.

 

How Do Patients On Hold Messages Work For My Orthopaedic / Spinal Practice?

By the time a phone call is placed to an Orthopaedic practice, or other practice that deals with spinal injuries, it’s pretty likely a serious injury has occurred…or at least…the caller or someone close to the caller is experiencing some amount of pain due to an injury or accident. Chances are they’ve already dealt with a primary care practice and possibly several layers of bureaucracy related to insurance, referrals, imaging studies and possibly a whole lot more. So when they reach your office, you want to make sure they have the very best possible experience, right from the beginning. That starts when you answer the phone…and continues when you put then On Hold.

Any successful practice is always going to have more patients than providers, more calls than staff to answer them. So calls placed On Hold is a fact of life, not an option. A customized Patients On Hold program of medical on hold messages lets those callers know that you care about them, you appreciate their patience, that they haven’t been forgotten about or hung up on, and gives you the opportunity to share the experience and expertise your practice can bring to their particular situation.

We know how to combine the music and messages to create an effective Patients On Hold program that occupies the caller’s attention and distracts them from thinking about the amount of time they spend holding. They’ll actually think their Hold time is shorter when they’re presented with medical on hold messages that are of use and value to them, and how you can contribute to their recovery from whatever injury or accident has caused them to need orthopaedic or spinal medical services. This is far and away more desirable than silence On Hold, those annoying beep tones, or a radio station that someone in your office might like but your callers don’t.

So What Do I Say?

When a caller hears content On Hold – at a doctor’s office, car dealership, retail store, restaurant or any other business – a little voice goes off in the back of their head that says “Why do I care?” For a period that might range from a few seconds to as long as a few minutes, you have a captive audience that wants to know how you’re going to help them, or the family member they have called on behalf of. So get right to the point: Here’s what we have…here’s what we do that treats injuries, relieves pain, promotes recovery. The content of the messages is the key to engagement and to distracting them from the fact that they’re waiting On Hold. Examples might include:

1.       The number of doctors on your team and their experience. Detailed bios aren’t necessary…                       just enough information to reassure the caller your practice is staffed with seasoned veterans                who’ve been around the block.

2.       Review of any specialty practice areas – injuries of the shoulder, the hand, the ankle, etc.

3.       In-Office services provided such as X-Ray, MRI or other imaging, Physical Therapy services, etc.

4.       General medical advice on how to care for an injury between the time it occurred and the first                     appointment (elevation, ice therapy, heat therapy, etc.)

5.       Alternatives to surgery

6.       Pain management

7.       Follow-up visits

8.       Office hours, insurance information, appointment cancellation policies

9.       Reference to your web site for additional practice details

10.     Office location or locations

The right content shifts the patient’s attention away from the wait time and toward the benefits of your practice…and in every case the focus is on a pain-free experience.

What kind of music will my Patients On Hold program have?

Our production library is rich with a wide variety of musical styles, genres and tempos, and we have a long and excellent track record of matching up the right music to the tone of your script and the professional image of your practice. It’s always important to remember that the medical on hold messages are the stars in your program…the music is just the glue that holds them together. If a caller comes away from your Patients On Hold program humming the tune of your music, but doesn’t remember the content of your messages, we’ve failed. That’s why our music options are decidedly background in nature. We’re not going to lull anyone to sleep, we’re just going to provide them with a calming, professional, assuring background that reinforces your practice as a reliable office to bring the furry members of the caller’s family.

How often will my Patients On Hold program change?

In some parts of the country, orthopaedic practices really do see a noticeable change in kinds of issues they treat as the seasons change from spring to summer to fall to winter. If that’s your practice, then updating quarterly makes sense. Chances are, however, that one update for the warm weather months, say in March, April or May, and other for the cold weather months, say in September, October or November, will suffice. We’ll help you determine that when we talk on the phone. And we’ll keep you updated with the right seasonal information at the right time, regardless of how often you want / need your program to be updated.

How does my Patients On Hold program play into my telephone system?

Telephone system types vary more widely than ever before…and how you play your medical on hold messages to your callers is dependent on the phone system’s capabilities.  Many telephone systems have an audio input jack to accept audio from an external audio source.  VoIP or Hosted telephone systems usually require an audio file.  Yet there are variations to every rule so asking your telephone dealer or your on hold provider is the best way to find out what your telephone system can do.

For more information, just call at 800-342-0098 during business hours and we’ll answer the phone…and your questions or visit our Patients On Hold page: www.patientsonhold.com.

Brian Illes

About Brian

veterinary hold messages and music

Brian Illes – VP/Operations

I’m one of five seasoned professionals here at On Hold Marketing where we all have over 10 years’ experience. Our Patient On Hold service is helping orthopaedic and other medical practices reduce patient hang-ups and frustration, and reminds callers about the many services you offer to help them return to normal functionality after an accident or injury.