Posts Tagged ‘voicemail’

Music On Hold – Entertaining Your Captive Audience

April 16, 2009

What experience do your callers have when they contact your business as a client, prospect, vendor, or even friends and family? Assuming that your AutoAttendant phone menu system is optimized to handle all of the choices they would naturally want to make, what do they hear while waiting for a particular person to answer? Is it customized for how you want your company to be represented to the caller?

Nobody likes to wait on hold for more than a very short time. We can all tolerate a reasonable hold time but then can be faced with a system that is unresponsive to the callers need to stop holding the phone and move on to something more important to them. Does your phone system have them spend that waiting time in silence? Do you play Music-On-Hold so they hear something or do you use that waiting time to tell the caller about your company?

Silence while waiting on hold is a bad idea for two reasons. The first is that from the callers’ perspective, they do not know if they are still connected to you or have been cut off without realizing that situation. The second is that silence is extremely boring and makes the time seem even longer than it takes. Neither one is good for your business or for the caller.

Music-On-Hold is a better idea. This feature should be setup for every business phone system. It allows the caller to know they are still connected and to enjoy something to pass the time which may give them the perception of spending less time waiting. A VOIP phone system can play any music feed that is brought into a computer including commonly used MP3 files. The choice of the music should be carefully made so that it best matches what your callers would want to hear. The wrong choice of music, such as loud heavy metal rock music at a relatively conservative financial advisors office can send the wrong message to the caller and actually make them hang up in frustration. Also, repeating the same music on a short cycle is annoying to anyone listening.

The best way to use Music-On-Hold is to play an MP3 file for the caller but to create an infomercial for your business. Depending upon your particular business and how you promote it, you can mix in verbiage about special sales, events coming up, warranty and service information, and other news that you want the callers to hear. Keep the tone of the message appropriate for your business and varied enough so that someone on hold for several minutes does not hear the same message over and over. You want to be informative, not annoying.

These MP3 files can be in place and setup on a timed schedule for during or after business hours. If you have special incoming numbers setup for specific advertising on radio, TV or print media, you can play your MP3 message to the caller before they ever have to talk to an employee. That message could be anything from a code word for a discount to the daily specials for today. Be creative in how you can use Music-On-Hold and your business will benefit from happier callers who are also more informed about your business.

Ask for your free phone system audit from Select Phone Solutions by calling 281-501-6464.

“Productivity Through Technology”

Do You Backup Your Phone System?

April 4, 2009

Disaster Recovery Plan. Business Continuity Plan. CYA Plan. They all mean the same thing – do you plan ahead for problems in your business such that you can both avoid having those problems and at the same time quickly recover from the ones that do happen? Smart business people have these in place, some more formal and some less. The key question is “Do you know if you have a plan in place for protecting your phone system?

Here are some points to consider in creating, revising or reviewing your plan:

1. Does it accurately represent your current phone system as is or was it written a while ago for an earlier version of what you have or even a previous system all together?

2. Does it list your phone system vendor and how to get technical support when you need it?

3. Does it list your telecom vendor (the dialtone provider) and how to get technical support when you need it?

4. Does it list your phone system hardware and software so you know what you have?

5. Is there a plan for how to prepare for an emergency situation such as an impending hurricane?

6. Is your phone system customization and configuration backed up locally and at a remote location in case of an office disaster?

7. Who performs this backup and how often is it done?

8. Who in your office is aware of this plan and knows how to implement it when necessary?

9. Who is accountable for phone system decisions?

Just as you backup your computer data, your phone system also must be protected. From these nine points it is obvious that some thought must go into the process and preparation of your plan. Think back to the last time you changed your phone system. It may have taken days to finally get everything just right. That would include your AutoAttendant (IVR) menu, phone extensions, call flow of your entire system, voicemail, and custom recordings for every office worker just to name a few items. How much productivity could you lose by having to recreate all of that from scratch?

Some company plans will include having the redundancy of a backup phone server and handsets. Most will just know where to find the vendor to supply replacement parts when necessary. The critical point is to plan for contingencies and know how you should respond to various problems that may occur. Involve your phone and telecom vendors so that you get their advice on what should be in your plan. Establish who has responsibility for each part of your plan so that you can implement it immediately when necessary instead of first deciding what to do. Every wasted hour or day where your phone system doesn’t work is time where your clients can’t reach you for your business. Can you afford not to have a qualified phone system backup plan in place?

Ask for your free phone system audit from Select Phone Solutions by calling 281-501-6464.

“Productivity Through Technology”