October 23, 2014

3 Ways to Make the Caller's Experience Reflect Your Customers

Guest post by Chester Hull

DSP 168: Broken Mirror 2007-11-01

The human mind is hyper-tuned to detect irregularities in our environment. There are entire websites dedicated to pointing out the irregularities in films and TV shows! This is exactly the reason companies develop "Brand Books", or brand guideline manuals. Every customer interaction with that particular brand is specified to deliver the same experience (or at least one that is congruent with other touch-points).

The same thing applies to how customers interact with your business. Is the Caller Experience they receive congruent with the In-Store Experience? You need to design your Caller Experience so that a customer calling in to check a price, ask a question, or even find out what your hours are for the day, has a similar experience to walking in your front door.

So how do you do that? Here are 3 ways to make that Caller Experience coordinate with your retail environment:

1. Match the banners.


Bogo-message
Have your Auto-Attendant message read the same posters, slogans,and sale signs that are hanging throughout your store. Rack Room Shoes is famous for there BOGO sales. But when callers are on the phone, do they know when a BOGO Sale is happening? Let them know the moment the phone is answered. You can also accomplish a similar thing by having these messages play to customers while On-Hold.

2. Match the theme, style, and atmosphere.

We worked with a client who played this for callers On-Hold:   
…while when you walked in to one of their retail locations, you were greeted with this from the strategically placed speakers:
 
(Verve Remixed, Quantic Soul Orchestra and other "Euro-pop" sounds) 

When someone walks into your business, are they greeted by your staff in fashion-forward suits? Is the lighting progressive and modern? Is the overhead music unique, cultured, and hip? Make sure your On-Hold message uses those same elements to reinforce the in-store experience, even to a caller on the phone!

3. Match the upcoming events.

ExperienceEconomyBook More and more stores are becoming Experience Destinations, with much more than shopping. Special events, members-only activities, after-hours community functions, and even film screenings are becoming more and more normal at brand retailers. Your walk-in clientle may see annoucements and information about these events.

But what about the customers that call in over the phone? You have a prime opportunity to reach them with information they would otherwise not know. Inform your callers through your Auto-Attendant or On-Hold message, and you will be automatically reaching the people that are already interested in your business! The ways your customer interacts with your company or brand are very important touch-points. Make them incongruent, and you will upset your customer's sense of  connectedness to your company. Keep them consistent across the phone, website, and in-store experience, and you will draw your customer closer to your business.

Chester Hull owns ProsoundUSA, a company dedicated to improving the experience of being on hold by providing great on hold messages. He's a client of mine.

Prosound: On-Hold Messaging for Smart Business Owners

We launched a new client web site last week for ProsoundUSA.com, a company that specializes in improving the phone experience of your customers. Instead of just providing "on-hold messages" and those automated attendant systems that we've all come to hate, ProsoundUSA owner Chester Hull makes it his business to learn about yours BEFORE attempting to tell you what your message should be.

Chester-HullIn fact, he takes it one step further and will evaluate how your living, breathing, real-life staff is doing on the phones. His phone evaluation service costs just $149 and if it saves just one sale, would be worth it to most businesses. Followups include not only his message writing and production, but customized phone etiquette training for your staff.

I don't normally gush like this about clients, but Chester is a kindred soul to those of us who believe that building a brand is more than just a cool logo and a funny ad. Chester knows that a brand is built only at that place where the customer's world intersects with the business's world. The phones are often the very first point of contact.

If delivering an outstanding experience to your callers is important to your business, Prosound is your first stop. Take a listen to his on-hold message samples and you'll understand how he's different. And, be sure to subscribe to Chester's on-hold marketing blog, he's got a lot to say about your phones.

About the web site…

Chester hired Wizard of Ads Partner Paul Boomer and I to re-design his old site from the ground up using our Persona-based approach. As Chester will tell you, the effort of putting up a site using this methodology is about 80% under water.

That is, we spent a great deal of time getting to understand Prosound's customers and their motivations…what points of information are important to them and in what order. Only after we understood his business, could we begin to map out pages, sketch out designs and get to the point where most web developers begin their process.

Kinda sounds like the same approach Chester takes, huh?

Here's the "after" shot of Chester's site:

Prosound-After 

And…here's what it looked like before:

Prosound-Before

Ok…let's roll the credits: