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Priming the On Hold Pump for the Holiday Season

imagesThink it’s too early for your holiday message on hold? Think again. Despite the fact that early promotion of holiday products sometimes elicits groans, it also gets consumers primed for holiday purchases…whether they realize it or not.

“The period before callers on hold are full bore into their holiday agendas, before any purchasing decisions are made is the best time to peak their interest in your product or service,” says Jim Mathis, president of On Hold Marketing & Communications. “Why not be the first restaurant to mention your holiday event capabilities, the first bakery to tempt your callers on hold with your pie selections or the first salon to talk up holiday gift certificates?”

Pre-season messages on hold give callers time to plan ahead and check items off their task lists before crunch time sets in. Your on hold message should contain pertinent information on holiday hours, season-specific products or services, sales and specials, vacation or spa packages or venue availability. Let your callers on hold know how you can accommodate their office parties, ensure transportation to and from airports, have those gourmet baskets or flowers sent out on time. You can also use your on hold message to direct callers to your website or blog for upcoming holiday events and specials. Highlight all the ways that your personalized and convenient service takes the stress out of holiday planning.

“Most businesses are impacted in someway by the holiday season,” says Mathis. “Use your on hold message to leverage what you have to offer with the needs of your callers.

See related articles:
How to Own the Consideration Phase: Professor James Loomstein on Marketing Smarts.
25 Holiday Marketing Tips and Ideas

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On Hold Marketing & Communications and TruMobility Team Up to Offer Marketing Solutions

On Hold Marketing and Communications (OHMC), a leading provider of professional on hold message programs for businesses in 33 countries throughout the world is partnering with connectivity expert TruMobility to enhance the effectiveness and flexibility of telephone marketing tools. OHMC’s on hold message programs will be offered as a value-added service to TruMobility customers.

TruMobility offers a hosted PBX system as an alternative to traditional phone systems. With enterprise class performance and no up front equipment purchase or maintenance, the system is simple to use and automatically upgrades as technology improves. Because users are not sharing a network with thousands of others, line degradation and delays are eliminated.

The TruMobility VoIP phone system also seamlessly integrates mobile technology with office-based functionality at a lower cost and higher quality than current systems on the market. It gives mobile phone users nationwide voice, text and 4G access to all of the features of their desk phones.

“A user can port an office phone to a cell phone and still get all of the nuances, like an on hold message, that give the call a professional quality,” says On Hold Marketing & Communications president, Jim Mathis. “This scenario also increases the marketing value of an on hold message as working away from the office becomes more common.”

True Mobility customers will have a choice of three OHMC “Voice of Your Business” message on hold packages, starting at $99.95 per month, which include on hold and auto attendant messages created by experienced audio scriptwriters, recorded by professional voice talent and paired with selections from an extensive library of background music.

An on hold telephone message is a “must have” these days,” Mathis says. “It should be in everyone’s marketing toolkit no matter where you are doing business…and True Mobility can help us make that happen.”

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Have you listened to yourself, lately?

Young Man On Phone Using Laptop At HomeThere are many ways to impress customers who call your business, including using on hold messages to spark interest and provide information until you can take the call in person. But there may be one very important call that you are missing. And, that is the one your make to your own business to ensure your on hold message is timely, correct and working properly.

It’s easy during a busy season to let information on events, specials or seasonal messages linger past the relevant time frame. But, having wrong information on your on hold message can be worse than no message at all, A change of hours, location or personnel is even more critical to address immediately. And, believe it or not, technology doesn’t always work the way it should. Equipment failure or muddled voices can send a very different message to your callers on hold.

When you receive a new on hold message, listen to it carefully to make sure that everything is how it should me from the pronunciations and tone of voice to the background music. Once it is downloaded to your system, call in and listen to what your customers on hold are hearing. Your phone equipment can impact the sound and quality of your message. So, you also may need to make adjustments such as turning the volume up or down to produce the crispest output.

In addition to calling in to your own business regularly, it is important to plan ahead and have a new message ready to go once a promotion or seasonal special has ended. For example, don’t wait until mid January to change the holiday language in your message. Get a post-season message in the works before the current season ends.

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AC Hotels Adopt OHMC On Hold Persona

photo5jpgFive AC Hotels by Marriott throughout North America, South America and the UK have a new “employee” who they will never see, but who often will be a customer’s first point of contact. Working with On Hold Marketing and Communications, these AC hotels have implemented a professional on hold messaging program that reflects the AC by Marriott brand’s uncomplicated, design-lead accommodations.

“We are working with AC hotels in a host of exciting cities from Birmingham in the UK to San Jose and Rio De Janeiro,” says Jim Mathis, president of On Hold Marketing and Communications. “We’ve created a script that speaks to a new generation of travelers and combined it with a voice and background music that embodies the AC Hotel’s modern sophistication.”

OHMC equips the AC hotels with it’s multi-location clients with the Premier Hybrid 7600 Digital Announcer that enables seamless remote delivery and management of on hold messages and updates in mp3 format within 60 minutes. The wall-mounted unit is easy to install and set up. And, once installed, no further operator intervention is required.

“We think this is a great solution for AC Hotels,” says Mathis. “The polished quality of the message and the simplicity of the delivery method fall right in line with the AC persona.”

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Creating a “sound” strategy to boost customer satisfaction

There is plenty of documented proof that music affects our brains. Just the right tune at the right tempo and at the right time can enhance creativity, increase productivity, change your mood and even make your day. So, it stands to reason, that the use of ambient music in hotel lobbies, restaurants, fitness centers and other transient places where a wide range of people pass through or spend some time each day can be used strategically to improve the overall customer experience.

“Music is a great motivator. It can energize you, relax or comfort you, spark a good memory or change your perspective,” says Jim Mathis, President of Persona Business Music, a division of On Hold Marketing and Communications. “When you can get a customer going through your lobby humming, singing along or moving to the beat, you know you just scored points with them.”

Persona Business Music combines marketing expertise and state-of-the-art technology to create and curate custom playlists for businesses based on customer demographics and branding strategies. Partnering with a leading music supplier, PBM is able to source popular tunes that can be heard on any radio station and combine them into a playlist that appeals to a target audience.

The technology behind PBM’s service is impressive in both its sophistication and its simplicity. A “beats per minute” option enables the modulation of the music’s tempo to correlate with a time of day, activity, or event.

“Let’s take a restaurant for example,” explains Mathis. “You can select a moderate tempo for the business lunch crowd and ramp it up for the energetic happy hour patrons.”

The service also is simple to use. Once a custom playlist is designed, it is curated and updated monthly by Persona Business Music, with no interaction required at the customer site. Businesses also have the option of including voice-overs for announcements about services, specials, events and more throughout the day.

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Push Your Callers’ Buttons this Summer with an On Hold Message that Connects

The warm weather is a time for breakout fashions, farm fresh foods and inspired travel destinations. How about it? Are your trending along with your customers this summer? Your on-hold message is a great place to drop in the buzz words that will bring in the business. For example:

Does your restaurant create superior salads with locally sourced ingredients or does your bar serve the best herb-infused cocktail on the block?  Do you have the space to host a family reunion, wedding or outdoor summer soiree?

Does your salon achieve the best bronze hair color or offer spray tan and waxing services for that beach-ready look? Do you use organic, formaldehyde-free products and processes? Is mani and pedi art a specialty for you?

For stay-cationers and road-trippers, how does your local hotel create that “get away from it all feeling?” What attractions are you near? Do you offer special packages or reduced rates for children? If you cater to long distance and business travelers, are there conveniences like airport shuttles and mobile booking? Do you have a well-known chef for your on-site restaurant or provide guests with brown bag lunches?

Everyone likes to look their best in the summer. Are you a medi-spa or medical practice that offers cosmetic procedures such as teeth whitening or straightening, injectable treatments or laser hair removal?

Designer eyewear is definitely in focus this time of year. Do you stock retro rose-colored lenses from Ferragamo or wooden frames by O’Neill? How about the vibrant colored frames of Vera Wang?

Whatever business or industry you are in, your on-hold message has the power and flexibility to connect with what is on your callers’ minds from season to season and trend to trend. Let them hear it from you first and let them know that you do it best.

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Going International? Take your Branded On Hold Message Along with You

The economy has made it necessary….open trade policies have made it accessible….and technology has made it easier. That’s why so many US-based companies, large and small, are expanding globally, with locations, branches, or franchises in countries that are strategically suited to their business needs. The challenge is how to navigate the multicultural marketing maze this creates while adhering to your brand standard principles. Tools like on hold telephone messages can help maintain the consistency and quality of your communications when addressing different languages and cultures.

Audio based services, including telephone on hold messages, auto-attendant, voice mail, voice prompts and website audio are not just carriers of content, information and instructions, they are representative of a company’s brand as well – in professional quality, tone of voice, and the overall persona that they project. Businesses are bringing their product or service to a new market because they have determined it to be of value to that customer base. They can add to that value by incorporating a “voice” and “tone” that is unique to their business – something memorable that helps callers or web visitors recognize and retain a connection to the brand.

“Many US-based companies that have either tapped out their domestic markets or simply want to offset lost revenue from a flagging local economy are opening locations in Europe and Asia,” notes Jim Mathis, President of On Hold Marketing and Communications (OHMC). “However, they need to be careful that their brand does not get lost in the transition.”

OHMC, experts in brand standard international roll-out of audio messaging programs, serves businesses with locations in 37 countries. Using state of the art equipment to automatically upload messages and regular updates to multiple locations worldwide, the program offers hands-free operation, quick turnaround times and 24/7 support. OHMC also has the capability to record in any language and uses native-speaking professional voice talent for the production.

Additional information can be found at www.onholdmktg.com

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Put the Summer Holidays “On Hold” with a Message that Sizzles

Is your business gearing up for summer? From Memorial Day to Fourth of July to Labor Day there are plenty of ways to use your On Hold Message to boost summer sales. Many of the warm weather holidays and celebrations center around food, family and fun – parades, fireworks, picnics, barbecues, weddings, reunions and more. Do you have a product or service that meets the needs of summertime festivities? Make sure your customers hear it in your On Hold message. Here are some hot summer topics. Where do you fit in?

Food and Drink:

Dine in, take out or catered- food is a main attraction throughout the summer months. What makes your food service special? Are you a farm to table establishment? Do you deliver? Do you offer a picnic lunches to go? Are you a full service caterer for outdoor events offering chairs, tents or wait staff? Does your eatery have outdoor dining space. What are you summertime Happy Hour specials?

Do you sell or serve the perfect wine for pairing with warm weather recipes?

Outdoors:

Spring is the time to clean out and spruce up to get ready for those summer celebrations. Callers may be interested in home improvement services such as building or refinishing decks, installing pools, planting a garden or power washing the house. Being outdoors also means keeping your family – including pets – safe. If you are a doctor or veterinarian, it’s a good time to tell your callers how to prevent problems from sun exposure and insects.

Travel:

Summer vacations require a lot of planning. Whether your callers are taking a trip to the beach or an excursion to Paris, let them know how you can take the stress out of their travel. Perhaps you have a service that helps prepare customers for beach vacations such as spray tanning or waxing. This is prime time for hotels and resorts to promote summer packages and get-aways. People will always need a ride to the airport and back, so car services also are in demand. For road-trippers, auto repair shops can spotlight their tune-up or new tire specials.

Don’t forget “back to school.” Use your on hold message to promote products or services that meet the needs of all ages – from kindergarten to college.

Not sure where your business fits into the summer holiday sales cycle? At On Hold Marketing and Communications, we have experience working with many industries and our scriptwriters will be glad to help you create an effective message that suits the season.

For other great Music On Hold Marketing information, please visit www.onholdmktg.com

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Voice Prompt Technology is Foundation for Building Out Brand

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More and more companies are enhancing their branding with professional voice mail greetings. In an effort to improve the caller’s experience, businesses have embraced technology such as interactive voice and speech recognition. The implementation of speech recognition and IVR technology … Read more

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There always is a season or a reason for flowers and the same holds true for marketing possibilities. As a florist, you have unlimited opportunities throughout the year to position your creations as the perfect gift for any occasion. Using an on hold message to your advantage means planning ahead and keeping the information as fresh as your flowers.

“In this business, especially, your on hold message needs to be dynamic and strategic in order to be effective,” says Jim Mathis, President of On Hold Marketing and Communications. “For instance, your April message should remind people that Mother’s Day is only a month away. And your September message should put callers in the mindset of ordering holiday decorations or centerpieces.”

In addition to promoting the “big flower days,” your on-hold message needs to let callers know why they should choose your floral designs over someone else’s. Talk about any exotic flowers or plants that you offer or avant-garde arrangements. Promote your knowledgeable and talented staff of designers who provide personal attention and custom configurations.

“Flowers are a generic concept to some customers,” Mathis says. “It’s up to you to tell them how you can make the outcome unique.”

Weddings should be a strong and consistent element of your on-hold message. Even though June and October are peak months, planning for weddings and accompanying celebrations such as showers and rehearsal dinners is a year-round process. Promote your ability to personalize – from classic or chic designs to theme-based colors and styles that tie all of the wedding events together. Emphasize how your professional staff will attend to every need. Don’t forget to include any extras you provide such as linens, lighting, and other decorations.

“When you are dealing with weddings, not only does your creativity need to shine through, but your customer wants to be assured you will be on time and on top of every detail,” says Mathis. “The more stress you can take off of their plate, the better.”

Flowers are a universal symbol of love, friendship, appreciation, comfort and sympathy. Let callers know that you have the expertise and the inventory to create an arrangement that will convey their particular message. What is the scope of your delivery capability? Is it worldwide? Do you hand deliver to hospitals and other local establishments? Are unique delivery options available?

In addition to fresh flowers and plants, what other services do you have that callers may want to learn about? Do you provide corporate landscaping or weekly plant maintenance services for home and offices? If so, emphasize convenience, quality and reliability. Ready made baskets with gourmet food, chocolates or fruits are great gift alternatives, as are silk or dried flower arrangements. Make sure callers know you have them in stock or can create something custom to suit their needs.

And finally, let your website support your on hold message. Direct callers to where they can view your arrangements, check out specials, and get information on your location and hours as well as conveniently order online.

To learn more about how Florist and Flower Shops can benefit from On Hold Marketing, visit: http://onholdmktg.com/serv-onhold-spec-indus-florist.php 

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