Exceeding Expectations

Outside of my hours at Messages On Hold, I have a little creative side project that occupies my time and I recently ordered some promotional materials for it from a popular print house.

Now, this print house is no louse when it comes to customer service. They have successfully implemented an online ordering system that allows you to upload your own designs and place orders safe in the knowledge that things like overrun bleed lines won’t ruin the batch. You used to have to drive down to the store, talk to a printer representative and even pay a file handling fee. Now it’s done from the comfort of your own home. They also offer predesigned promotional material that you can customise and it’s all competitively priced.  After placing your order, you’re offered significant discounts if you buy something else within half an hour. Very clever. These guys are on the ball… mostly.

My order was for 30 pages of promotional stickers. A week later I had received 2 packs of 10, so I called to inform them of the mistake. The customer service representative was efficient and competent. I explained the situation and she concluded on the spot that there must’ve been an error and that she would send through the remainder of the order.

Do this. Not literally. But also literally.

Do this. Not literally. But also literally.

This company has empowered their customer reps to make these kinds of decisions without looking to a superior. Big tick, Kym Illman would approve. They’re also banking on the fact that they did actually stuff up and I wasn’t just trying to scam them out of another 10 pages. The cost of being scammed was significantly less than the cost of possibly insulting a paying customer. The call wrapped up and I received an email saying the package would be express delivered.

Good job, right? Almost. I was a frustrated customer, they admitted fault and now I’m back to where I started with a little lost time and some mild frustration. Will I go back to them? Maybe… sure they fixed the mistake as soon as they found out about it, but maybe one of their many competitors won’t stuff up the first time. I have nothing to lose by trying someone else.

Instead, imagine if the conversation ended like this:

“Please accept our apologies for the missing pages. We’ll quickly get those 10 pages out to you.  We would also like to send you a further 10 pages for any inconvenience that may have been caused.”

I suspect those extra 10 pages would’ve cost them very little to print and they would’ve likely gained a delighted lifelong customer whose expectations had been clearly exceeded.

When faced with a disgruntled customer, realise you’re being presented with an opportunity. It’s a rare case of someone actively engaging with your business with an explicit expectation. Take that expectation by the horns and run with it. You’ll find delighted customers are great for business.

– Jakub

Time For a Proofread

Here in the Message On Hold Copywriting Department, we write a lot of scripts.  We proof them personally before we submit them to be proofed by the other copywriters. Needless to say, we’re forever looking for errors in our copy.  There are a few cardinal sins… using stale phrases like ‘one-stop shop’ and ‘needs & requirements’ or mistaking ‘you’re’ for ‘your’. Proofing is where these sorts of subtle errors get picked up.

Should a mistake slip between our fine-toothed comb for one of our clients to pick up, we find a fair bit of egg on our face. If they don’t, the gentlemen in studio will, making it virtually impossible for a written typo to be recorded that, in turn, makes our clients sound foolish.

This is not a luxury you get with all marketing efforts, especially ones you do yourself. You can now make and host your own website, print out your own pamphlets and upload your own videos to the web (as mentioned in this story). If no one is looking over the copy you’re putting out there, you run the risk of public embarrassment. If you want to bottom out your credibility as fast as possible, just chuck in an obvious typo and watch your brand equity evaporate.

Typos are never fine.

Typos are never fine.

I recently found a website that contained the word ‘personalised’ in the company name yet in the ‘About Us’ section they had referred to themselves as ‘personzlied’.  ‘Personz lied’ to whoever thinks this is an acceptable public display of your brand. The easiest typos to miss are the skipped words (e.g. ‘the’, ‘that’, ‘a’). Unless you want to sound like you were raised by apes, get someone else to read over your copy… more often than not you’ll be surprised by what they find.

Take this opportunity to proof-read your website and ad material, if you catch any typos… you can thank us later.

– Jakub

Don’t Use That Tone With Me!

Do you ever think about what you sound like on the phone? If you’re like most people, you have a completely different phone voice than you do in regular conversation. Why is that?

The fact is most of us do it subconsciously. We’re programmed to switch off our personality and go into corporate mode when the phone rings at work. People are cautious about being themselves in fear of offending their callers.

But the truth is people love personality. In fact, it instantly creates a rapport with your caller and often leads to a relaxed and engaging interaction. When you’re passionate about your business, it becomes infectious and this is one of the best promotional tools there is. And it’s free!

So next time your phone rings at work take a breath and think about the following:
• Break out of the traditional corporate tone that’s dull & monotonous.
• Imagine you’re talking to your friend. Your relaxed and conversational tone will carry across to the caller.
• Be memorable. When asked things questions like ‘how are you’, don’t reply with the usual ‘good thanks’ be different, people love it!
• If you’re known for your sense of humour, use it. Humour is the best way to relax a conversation.

And don’t just change your tone when you answer calls; carry it through to your recorded messages. Injecting your own personality adds credibility to your messages; you’re instantly engaging the caller and getting them in a more receptive mood.

So take a minute to think about your phone tone, it’s something you can change quickly and easily and the results will surprise you. And if you need a hand injecting a bit in life into your messages, call 1800 637 724 (or +61 8 9260 4444).

– Dave Roberts

One Hit Is Never Enough

Marketing is a complex machine – it’s not simple by any length of the word. However, it all boils down to one seemingly simple objective: to reach an audience and convince them that what you’re promoting is worth their attention and worth acting upon.

In textbook speak, we could break this down into three elements: reach, frequency and continuity. A simpler way of putting this is exposure. In order to sell a product or service to a consumer, the consumer will normally need to have multiple exposures to said product or service. They might see it advertised on television, learn about it from a friend, read about it in the paper or hear about it while waiting on hold at a business. The challenge is finding the right number of hits needed to influence the consumer’s purchase decision.

Let’s say it’s a hot day and you’re parched. Someone offers to sell you an ice cold bottle of water – that might be the only hit you need to buy. Other products may need 20 hits, 40 hits; the point is no one knows the exact number.

This is where it pays to think smarter, not harder. Smart businesses will target – or segment – their marketing to reach the people who are most likely to buy. It’s no good hitting one million people to get across to the fifty that want your product if instead you can go straight to that fifty through another means. Why waste 999,950 hits on people who aren’t interested and won’t buy?

Take Messages On Hold for example; you’re reaching a target market that is interested in your product. How do you know they’re interested? They’ve rung you! They’re sitting on hold and ready to spend.