Monthly Archives: November 2004

A month of reflections

As usual, I continue to be amazed at the products and services sold by our company. I’ve been looking around and observing how people use these products and I’ve come to a simple conclusion: most people have no idea what technology is available and if they do, they often don’t use it effectively.

I was stuck on hold the other day with a local ISP and was listening to the radio station while waiting. I’ve recently updated our message on hold offerings on our website and frankly, I’m amazed at what can be done to promote to people while they’re waiting on hold. Anyway, as I was on hold listening to the radio, I heard an ad for another local ISP! I couldn’t believe it – in the minute or so that I was on the phone, I heard an ad for a competitor to the company I was calling!

Now, I have no particular loyalty to the ISP I was calling (I was helping out a friend with a technical issue), but if I was in the marketing department at that ISP, I certainly wouldn’t want to sing the virtues of a competitor by handing out their flyers in the lobby. Yet that’s what they were doing by playing the radio station while people were on hold!

Imagine how many people get placed on hold there every day. Some of them are going to be having some technical issue that they’re not happy about. Imagine having those people hear a message from a competitor right at that time. What do you think the effect would be? One more customer likely to leave. Not good. My advice – get a good on hold message player and engage customers with messages about your great service or new product offerings. It’s much less expensive to do that than to advertise your competition.

My brother passed away recently and I took some time off to help my elderly parents with making his arrangements. I’ve been on the phone a lot with the cemetary because they provide funeral home services as well as final resting places. On Sundays, they have an answering service taking the calls. Now maybe it’s appropriate for a live person to answer the phone at a cemetary, but I was thinking that sending messages directly to voice mail would have been a better option. I had to leave a message about my brother’s arrangements with someone I didn’t know. I would rather have left a voice message with the representative I’ve been dealing with. Voice mail systems are so widely used that I was surprised and a little taken aback that I had to deal with an answering service.

Odd, isn’t it? The answering service was helpful, but at that time, I would have preferred the impersonal “leave a voice message” approach.

Every business has a different need to take information or inform based on its market and clients. The technology is available to serve your clients well. If you’re so inclined, have a look at the Telephone Magic website for inspiration on how you can better serve your customers.