Turning dead air into a valuable opportunity
by Mark Williamson
February 28, 2017

“Thank you for waiting; your call is important to us, and we will attempt to answer it as soon as possible.” That message is a common one, and waiting on hold often represents a source of irritation for consumers around the world. This is especially true if they are left in a call queue with nothing but monotonous beeps or poor music for company. In order to avoid the pitfalls associated with such practices, construction companies must take an alternative approach.

Many businesses want to answer the phone as quickly as possible, but there are times when placing a call on hold is the only option. In such cases, it is important for the caller to be kept engaged and entertained in order to avoid hang-ups. Inbound calls are a major source of new business leads, and customers have a notoriously low tolerance for poor call-handling practices, so the implications for profitability are clear.

Sound as Good as You Look

Visual branding is high on the marketing agenda for companies, as people can form a permanent opinion of your business based on how it looks at first glance. However, the way your company sounds is equally as important. When a customer picks up the phone, his/her ears are his/her only tool for forming an initial judgement and, as with its visual counterpart, a call may leave a lasting negative perception, which can be very difficult to shake.

In recent research of 2,234 American consumers by audio branding specialist PHMG, it was discovered that the construction industry lags behind when it comes to providing a positive telephone experience. Only 21 percent of respondents are happy with the way construction firms handle their calls, while the same survey also found 59 percent would not do repeat business with a company if their call wasn’t handled to their satisfaction. Therefore, it is important for companies to implement a best-practice approach to handling customer calls.

Employees should be trained to answer the phone in a polite way, giving their name and providing the caller with guidelines on how to respond to specific queries. This represents a good start in encouraging callers to enjoy a positive telephone experience, and it ensures leads are not wiped out at the first hurdle.

But when a customer needs more information or has to be transferred, leaving them to wait on the line is unavoidable. This is where on-hold marketing—customized voice and music messages played over the telephone—can turn “dead air” into a construction company’s advantage.

Speak to an Attentive Audience

Construction companies operate in a concentrated market, so it is even more important to have a competitive edge over other organizations. In essence, on-hold marketing provides an ideal chance for highly-targeted advertising that is conducted in an unobtrusive manner and speaks directly to a captive audience. The voice and music used in on-hold marketing messages can be customized to reflect specific brand values. Different attributes, such as the volume of the music and the age of the voice, should be taken into consideration and could have a profound effect on the customer’s impression of the company.

On-hold marketing can benefit a company’s business strategy and allow the company to up-sell and cross-sell its services, while also boosting customer service. For example, a caller could pick up the phone to enquire about the cost of a potential construction project, and find out through the on-hold marketing messages that the business also offers demolition services. The listener could then inquire about and arrange both services, leading to increased revenue for the organization and also showcasing the company’s ability as a multifaceted construction business.

Equally, the messages could promote the firm’s ISO accreditations, as well as advertising any notable projects from its portfolio. By notifying callers of certifications, qualifications and success stories, it can help build client trust and provide reassurance that a building project is in safe hands. It enhances the company’s image and gives customers another reason to choose your business over another one.

Perhaps your firm organizes training sessions or has promotions available on a certain type of construction project or equipment rental. Awareness can be boosted through the customized messages, leading to an increase in inquiries. Messages can also inform callers about the company’s website, which details the list of available services, business hours and industry guides. This can help increase website traffic, while also improving customer service levels by giving the caller a more convenient option to get information.

Know the Business Benefits

When done well, on-hold marketing has been found to reduce hang-ups by 79 percent, as well as decreasing the perceived amount of time left on hold. It ensures that those companies who sound as good as they look gain a competitive advantage and reap the business benefits from improving the customer experience.