Where Was Your Product When You Last Changed Your On-Hold Messages?

freeimage-4083600-high-resized-600At least a few times a month, I get a phone call from a Messages-On-Hold customer who needs to update their on hold messages – many times because they are changing their phone systems, or they’ve opened up a new office.

Beyond determining the month and year of the last update, I ask a few additional questions, all starting with, “Since You Last Changed Your Onhold Messages…..”

  • What has changed with your product?
  • Have you introduced any new product, services, or feature enhancements?
  • How many product promotions have you offered?
  • Have your competitors changed their offerings? Have new competitors emerged?
  • Has your marketing strategy changed?

Indeed there are some businesses that don’t change much over time – but for the most part, I am struck by how much has happened in their business since delivery of their last production. Yet, the client’s caller, reaching out in 2014, experiences a kind of On-Hold Groundhog Day; the caller hears, “Client’s Product, Circa 2011”, even when thousands of dollars have been poured into the other elements of the company’s marketing mix between then and now.
Here are at least four reasons to keep your Messages-On-Hold up to date on a regular schedule:

  • Highlighting new product introductions and promotions via on-hold messaging yields incremental revenue at a relatively low cost. If a customer calling in about one product and listens to an on-hold message about another newly introduced product that he or she may have not otherwise heard about, that’s easy money. If you are trying to get your customer to expand the breadth of products they buy from you, and one of those products costs a couple of hundred dollars, all you need is ONE sale to pay for a Messages-On-Hold update! If customers buy $2,000 of new products they otherwise would not have heard about, try to beat that marketing investment using other promotional vehicles! Now….update your Messages-On-Hold twice a year instead once every five years, and measure the revenue impact. Makes sense!
  • It’s a great way to continually educate a customer on something new. Messages-On-Hold is not for just promoting products and services, it’s about educating customers. From a marketing perspective being able to communicate something is a chance to stay fresh and top of mind.  One of our medical practice customers educates their patients about how to recognize stroke symptoms. A cable company reminds their customers to recycle their modem to restore their Internet service before talking to a technician. A sky-diving company informs their customers about weather conditions for that day’s jump. The customer now is better informed having called your company.
  • Communicate current and correct information. There are a few things worse from a marketing perspective than having your customer call in and hear incorrect or outdated information from an on-hold message, but not many. One networking software company I called into recently promoted a feature associated with an operating system that is, this very month, being discontinued (I won’t say which one!). Embarrassing? Yeah, but easily correctable. Keeping your Messages-On-Hold current prevents this from happening and keeps egg off your face!
  • Your competitors are not standing still. Messages-On-Hold acts as a cost-effective broadcast medium to announce products and product features that are designed to counter competitive moves. If your competitor comes up with a feature that gives them an advantage, and you have a response, a on hold messages update is a fast, inexpensive way to get word out, akin to moving chess pieces on the marketplace game board before your Queen gets captured.

So when you’re putting together your marketing budget, think about new product introductions, promotions, customer information requirements, and competitive activity when considering how often you plan to refresh your on-hold messaging. If your refresh happens only once a year, think twice… or better yet, think four times a year. Also, buying deeply discounted Messages-On-Hold programs in packages (we offer them in groups of 4, 6, or 12) is much less expensive in the long run.

It’s short money for long dollars, and makes your Messages-On-Hold program a truly hard-working contributor to your sales and marketing strategy.