Avionics News January 2017 - 48
While most customers would rather
avoid being put on hold, most recognize
that it happens, and they'll wait through
the dead air or awful instrumental music
to have their needs met. But according to global audio-branding agency PH
Media Group, you're missing a branding
opportunity if this is all your hold experience offers.
In fact, customized voice and music
messages played for customers can keep
them engaged and reduce hang-ups by
79 percent. For example, a hold message
that describes the range of services you
offer, specials, new products, or even
industry memberships and awards is
more meaningful and informative than a
mechanical "your call is important to us"
To do it best, consider some details of
Match the voice to your shop's identify, tone and personality. That's most
often conveyed with a professional
one instead of someone from inside
your shop, to provide calm delivery
and friendly tone, according to PHMG.
Consider, too, whether you prefer a male
or female voice; the former is perceived
to be authoritative and corporate-like,
while the latter is soothing, reassuring
and more personable.
With music, PHMG recommends
avoiding "popular" music tracks in favor
of pleasant, specialized hold music
that's chosen for your company's vibe.
Consider the volume, pitch and tempo
when choosing a selection, too; fastpaced, up-tempo music is motivational
and upbeat, which can help keep your
callers engaged and attentive. q
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In the latter case, you'll transfer the call to the right employee. Before
transferring, tell the caller why that's necessary, and ask if they'll wait.
Contact the person you're handing it to, and make sure he or she is
available; if they are, pass on the person's name, issue, and other relevant information, then return to the caller and give the name of the person about to take the call and the direct number. If they're not available,
inform the caller that the proper staff member is out of the office, and
ask if you can put him into voicemail or take a message.
To wind the call down, use a "closing phrase," such as "I'm glad
we resolved this concern." If there's an after-action item, say what
you'll do to follow up with a timeline, if appropriate, and end the call
politely by thanking the caller for contacting your company.
Closing the loop
If all of this works according to plan, you'll occasionally have to
return calls, and that's a practice that might need some polishing, too.
It's a vital skill; sales and relationships are infrequently made on the
first, second, or even fourth contact, so you may need to talk to a prospect a dozen times before a deal is sealed. The good news is the other
person wants to talk to you, so this isn't exactly cold calling. Still, you
should plan ahead for how you'll manage each conversation - or even
leave a message - then build follow-up into your business routine.
Etiquette suggests that you return a call within one business day,
according to Ward, and that's a no-brainer. Surprisingly, surveys suggest nearly one-half of sales representatives never return calls, another
quarter will give up after a second missed attempt, and barely one in
10 will carry through with multiple tries.
Yet before you pick up the phone, think through what you'll say.
Jot down a loose outline of discussion points and questions you want
answered, and set a goal for the call, such as scheduling an in-person
meeting. Prepare to answer some questions, too - many are predictably of the frequently asked variety or about equipment, service or
sales - so plan your answers and "presentation," according to Gere
Jordan of call-center provider Continental Message Solution. This
preparation shows you have your act together and instills confidence
in the customer. Of course, the expert-level execution of this is having
a checklist of each type of call you usually field.
When the prospect answers, identify yourself and your shop,
explain why you're calling, and listen to what he has to say before
launching into your presentation. If he doesn't, and you're now in his
voicemail, leave an effective message. Use your precall planning to
be as succinct and specific about why you want the customer to call
you back, and when you'd be available, according to Syndi Seid of
Advanced Etiquette. Speak clearly and slowly, leave your return number, and leave it again at the end of the message.
Build time into your schedule so that follow-up calls become part
of your routine. Remember, these people want to talk to you, so don't
worry about bugging them; in fact, you're building a stronger relationship with them.