Archive for March, 2010

Ten Mistakes You’re Making with your Voicemail messages

Today’s post comes from Dan O’ Day, the highly opinionated radio advertising guru and radio talent/morning show coach. He talks about the 10 mistakes you’re making every time you leave a voicemail.

See, great Caller Experiences start before your customer or prospect even calls your business. After all, something has to get them to call in and experience your company. Whether it’s a cold call or a warm lead follow-up, the message you leave on that prospect’s voicemail will have the biggest impact on whether they decide to call you back or not.

Are you surprised by having to leave a voicemail?

Do you know exactly what you’re going to say before you pick up the phone?

Are you measuring the wrong numbers?

Read Dan’s excellent commentary on how to leave an effective voicemail. (hint: he defines “effective” as “getting people to call you back”. Isn’t that the point?)

Giving your callers the run-around?

Sometimes you just have to laugh at the Auto-Attendant and On-Hold messages at some companies.

I mean, who are they kidding, is your call really “very important to us”?


“Good morning! Thanks for calling us!
We’re pleased to hear from you!
Your call’s important to us
So we’ve placed you in a queue.

Please find your account number and
Be sure it is correct..
It’s twenty digits long and if you
Mis-type, I’ll reject.

I’ll lead you through the whole routine
Please use your touch type phone.
Press eight and follow with the hash
After you hear the tone.

If you are a new client here..
Press two, ..if old, press three.
Press four in case we’ve done something
With which you disagree!

You have pressed four, please wait a moment
While I transfer you..
And please enjoy, while we play you
A symphony or two!

Our staff are all too busy now
To talk to such as you
Your call is so important that
We’ve placed you in a queue.”

Time passes and the music lingers
On, and bye and bye..
My cheek and ear go fast asleep,
My wrist gets R.S.I.

But wait! It may be there is hope!
I hear a ringing sound,
At last a human voice is heard
After the runaround!

“Good morning, this is Ladies wear
And may we help somehow?
Complaints?.. Oh! Just hang on a tick
I’ll transfer you right now!…”

“Good morning! Thanks for calling us!
We’re pleased to hear from you!
Your call’s important to us
So we’ve placed you in a queue.


by Frank Halliwell ..
Jimboomba, Australia
Public Domain

Monday I was looking at the features of a customer’s phone system at the manufacturer’s website, and they had this to say about their On-Hold message:

The InterStellar Phone System (name changed to protect the guilty. C.H.) gives you the opportunity to have music playing while a caller is on hold. Best of all you can insert interruptions during each recording in order to play a message.

You’ve experienced this. You’re On-Hold, listening to the music or messaging, when all the sudden “click”, the music is interuppted, and hope springs up within you that your call is going to be answered. Only to have your hopes dashed by the message: “Your call is important to us, please continue to hold”.

Can you say dissapointment?

I was On-Hold with a company last week that interrupted their On-Hold music every 10 seconds with this! Never do this to your callers.

Just because you use an Auto-Attendant doesn’t mean it has to be a poor caller experience.

Want to know what your caller experience is like? Why don’t you try our Caller Experience Evaluation? It’s like climbing inside your customer’s head, and hearing your business from their perspective. Very informative!

From a recent client of this:

Thanks for getting the report to me as fast as you did. I will be correcting a lot of the concerns you pointed out. Thanks again!

Don’t give your callers the run-around.


Your customers are listening, are you?

It’s not often we get this kind of straightforward feedback from customers: “I’m spending too much time On-Hold”, or “Every time I call, I get put On-Hold, and I don’t like it!”

When customers have the guts to speak up and tell you what you’re doing wrong, it would be best to listen.

But it takes really listening, not just to what they are saying, but what they are meaning. If someone is calling your company to see if their order came in, there is a certain expectation that they will have to wait for you to find out if it has arrived.

Yet these same people would say “I’m spending too much time On-Hold” or “whatever you do, don’t put me On-Hold”. So in essence, they are expecting to wait, but they are asking not to make them wait. Hmmmm…

Have you ever been somewhere, expecting to have a mediocre experience, but you came away surprised at how much you enjoyed it! (I sure have!)

Most people’s experience and expectation with being On-Hold is one of frustration, anxiety, and disgust. They’ve experienced the silence (“Am I still connected?” “Did they hang up on me?”), the radio station (“Exactly the kind of music I don’t listen to. “Don’t they know this radio station is not tuned in?”), and Rhapsody in Blue on repeat (Yes, I’m looking at you, United Airlines!)

So what could your customers be saying? They may be telling you that the experience of being On-Hold at your business makes them want to hurl their phone through the window. (or some other nearby glass object) They may be telling you that this is one area of your business that is not drawing them in to do more business with you.

Have someone unrelated call in your business, and get put On-Hold. Have them evaluate the experience. Is it silence? Do you have a message playing, but the volume is so loud that you can’t understand what’s being said? Is it so soft that the sound is dropping out? (Hint: the volume of your On-Hold message should be the same level as your receptionist answering the phone).
Is the radio in tune? One of the hazards of using a radio for your On-Hold is the ease of having the antenna bumped, or station changed. (not to mention the fact that playing the radio On-Hold is illegal in most cases)

So what kind of experience are providing for your callers? Is it an environment that is pleasing to your callers?

And if your customers are talking to you about it, are you listening to what they are telling you?

If you’d like some help knowing what you need to do, check out our Secret Caller service.

And here’s an interesting anonymous tool for reporting good and bad On-Hold experiences: Next time your On-hold and waiting, check it out.

And finally, a thought to leave you with…What if you delighted your callers?