Visual branding has long been considered a crucial element of a company’s marketing strategy but what about how your organisation sounds?
A study of 3,630 UK companies, conducted by PH Media Group, has found letting agents, estate agents and property firms leave customers on hold for an average of 30.74 seconds per call.
This may not seem like a long time but considering 50 per cent of callers will hang up after 20 seconds after being subjected to silence, the implications for a business can be grave.
When a customer calls a company, they are put on hold for three seconds longer than an average television advert, making it a valuable timeslot to market your business and its services to an attentive audience.
Research has found 20 per cent of customers will make a buying decision based on information they have heard while on hold, so the telephone can be used as a powerful, yet inexpensive, marketing tool that helps to convert leads into sales.
First impressions last, with customers often building a permanent opinion of a company based on initial contact. Therefore, good telephone presence and call handling practice are both essential in constructing an image of trust and professionalism.
Despite a caller’s low tolerance for poor call handling, 34 per cent of callers are still being subjected to silence, 26 per cent are made to listen to generic music, while a further 26 per cent hear beeps – worrying statistics when it comes to customer retention.
One solution is on-hold-marketing, which involves the creation of tailored voice and music messages played to customers whenever they are put on hold, transferred or call up outside of normal office hours.
Of course, every company will endeavour to resolve each inbound enquiry within a matter of seconds but this is not always possible. If calls cannot be answered immediately, audio branding keeps the caller engaged and entertained, while decreasing the perceived amount of time spent on hold and raising customer satisfaction levels.
Sales and letting agent Orchards of London has reaped rewards from such an approach. The firm implemented tailored messages for each of its three offices – in Acton, Chiswick and Ealing – developing messaging, music and tone of voice that reflected the differences in customer base across these locations.
The result has been an improvement in customer awareness around the services offered by Orchards and increased satisfaction expressed through positive customer feedback.
Avoiding a one-size-fits-all approach in order to develop voice and music that fit an organisations brand image helps to reinforce specific values and perceptions.
In terms of the content itself, letting agencies could promote rent payment options or advertise newly available properties. Also, given 60 per cent of callers are sat in front of a computer (ICM Omnibus Survey, November 2011), on-hold marketing could even be used to boost website traffic by directing callers to properties advertised online.
Such highly-targeted messages have been proven to reduce hang-ups by 79 per cent simply by turning previously ‘dead’ time into an opportunity to inform customers about products and services.