Sales and marketing director of audio branding agency PHMG Worldwide Mark Williamson explains why call handling is an important marketing tool.
The importance of making a good first impression isn’t lost on those in the kitchen and bathroom industry.
Most business owners know how the placement of products in a showroom can have an impact on the completion of a sale.
They also understand the power of a good website, as well as consistent visual marketing collateral, such as signage and branded invoices.
However, more forward-thinking owners in the sector also recognise businesses can no longer just depend on visual marketing to grow and succeed in such a crowded market.
The telephone is still a main source of communication between a business and its customers.
On the important first call, a customer’s ears are their only tool for making an initial judgement, so staff should always greet callers in a professional, polite manner.
First perceptions are difficult to shift and a negative caller experience can put your company’s reputation on the line.
In fact, PHMG found almost three-quarters of Brits won’t do repeat business with an organisation if its initial call was poor.
Use hold time
It’s not just employee conduct over the phone that should be considered, however.
Most people have a story about an awful on-hold experience, from being made to listen to irritating ‘please wait’ messages for a lengthy amount of time, to a constant ringing every two seconds while waiting to be connected.
However, hold time is often a necessity for businesses, with kitchen and bathroom retailers found to keep callers on hold for an average of 51.97 seconds per call, a whopping 18 seconds longer than the UK average.
Yet the encounter doesn’t have to be a negative one. Instead, companies should look to employ on-hold marketing – an audio branding production that features creative script, professional voice artistry and exclusive music.
On-hold marketing replaces what would otherwise be ‘dead air’, changing uninspiring sounds into a unique opportunity keep callers engaged until they reach their intended destination.
The messages can help reflect and reinforce your brand image and values across another valuable customer touchpoint.
If your callers hear voice and music that aren’t reflective of the company, it can result in a poor caller experience – damaging the overall perception of the brand. They also offer an ideal promotional opportunity.
A script can showcase product information such as a marble surface or a promotion on tiling, or can emphasise the company’s wide range of services, from CAD drawings to installation.
Messages can also help build consumer trust by advertising your company’s awards or accreditations, such as BiKBBI, reassuring customers that they are dealing with a professional and expert outfit.
One phone call can attract a customer or put them off for life. The industry would be smart to consider the business implications of a poor telephone experience.
This is something that Stewart Woodruff touches on as he talks about the necessity for being honest with all your communications as a business.