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TJ Tedesco

View from Mount Olympus

By TJ Tedesco

About TJ

T.J. is team leader of Grow Sales, Inc., a marketing and social media services company operating at the intersection of compelling content, clear vision and quality communication practices. In this blog, fire is a metaphor for print. Hang on, this ride will be weird...

Prometheus crept into Mt. Olympus, stole fire, returned to the lowlands, ran from house to house distributing it, got caught, was chained to a rock, lost his liver to a huge ugly bird and was rescued by Hercules. Leveraging his fame, Prometheus started Fire Enterprises Inc.  (FEI). Since fire was the hottest technology of the time, company success came fast and furious. Two generations later, fire isn't such an easy sale. Now led by Prometheus' grandson Org, FEI's growth is non-existent, competitors are pounding and prices are in the toilet.

Forget Muzak, On-Hold Messages Are a Great Marketing Tool

Last week, Marka and the FEI tribe concluded their discussion on SEO. This week, the topic is how on-hold messages can teach customers and prospects about your business while they wait. Remember, fire = print.

Marka strode into Org’s office one morning. “We need to change the message people hear when they call FEI and are placed on hold.”

Org was confused, but willing to hear the marketer out. “What’s wrong with it?”

“After leaving the office yesterday, I called FEI because I couldn’t remember if I’d left my grape-leave wallet here or at home,” Marka said. “Rowena, one of our CSRs, put me on hold while she looked for it...and I had to listen to five minutes of Orpheus FM.”

“The all-lyre station?” Org asked. “Who chose that?”

“It’s Zoot’s favorite,” Marka said with disgust. “Using radio music as our on-hold audio without proper licenses, however, is actually illegal. Radio music played on hold is technically a rebroadcast and therefore not legally covered by the license the radio obtained from the record companies.”

“So we call the radio station and get a license of our own,” Org suggested.

“Nope,” Marka said. “Radio stations cannot legally provide us with a usage license for the music they play, because they do not own the rights to it. Essentially, using radio music on hold legally would involve getting express permission from every record company whose artist’s music is played on whatever station we were using. It’s not even close to being worth it. Our choice of station can also be controversial...”

“It’s safe to say some customers won’t share Zoot’s love of the lyre,” Org interrupted.

“FEI can do better than lyre music, top 40, or dead air for our on-hold audio,” Marka said. “Let’s take this opportunity to educate customers and prospects about our company and the products and services we provide.”

“It’s challenging to make fire-buyers aware of all we offer,” Org acknowledged. “Everybody knows Torches Classic, but they sometimes forget about our windproof torches, fire stones, relighting services, and other products and services we provide.”

“Repetition through top-of-mind positioning is key to ensuring fire-buyers think of us whenever they need a fire solution,” Marka answered. “Using on-hold messages, with their repetitive nature, can help.”

“Tell me what our on-hold messages might say,” Org replied with curiosity.

Marka pulled down the whiteboard in Org’s office and wrote on it in coal:
  • List our products and services and briefly describe each.
  • Spotlight anonymous client testimonials.
  • Thank callers for their business.
  • Prepare callers for their conversation.
  • Entertain and inform callers with interesting facts about FEI.
  • Share helpful torch and match lighting and upkeep tips.

“Those are fabulous ideas!” Org cried. “Produce them all on one tape, and we’ll set it up to play automatically whenever someone is placed on hold. That way, a customer won’t have to hear the same one every time they call.”

Three days later, the new on-hold messages were up-and-running. The next week, a customer called Zoot to say: “Love your new on-hold messages. I never knew you offered fire stones! I’ll take 10 boxes!”

Zoot missed the soothing sounds of the lyre, but he couldn’t argue with the results of FEI’s new on-hold messaging.

Today’s FIRE! Point
Your company can use on-hold messages as another opportunity to educate customers and prospects about your company and the services you provide. Repetition through top-of-mind positioning is key to ensuring print buyers think of you whenever they need a solution. Using on-hold promotional messages, with their repetitive nature, can help.

FIRE! In Action: On-hold Messages Recruit Volunteers for Bayada Nurses
The home healthcare company used a variety of customized on-hold messages, one of which was aimed at recruiting registered nurses for a trip to Haiti to help with the relief efforts after the 2010 earthquake. As a result, 37 percent of nurses who volunteered heard of the opportunity via Bayada’s on-hold message—more than from any other source.

Next week: The FEI tribe discusses tips on leaving a voicemail that will get returned.

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