Virtual Numbers

What British Airways Can Teach Us About “On Hold” Marketing

Let’s be real – when people think of telecoms, they usually think of a ton of wires, complicated switchboard systems, a dodgy connection or a bored sounding receptionist at the other end of the line. That’s all there is to…

Let’s be real – when people think of telecoms, they usually think of a ton of wires, complicated switchboard systems, a dodgy connection or a bored sounding receptionist at the other end of the line. That’s all there is to it, right? Wrong.

Little do you know, but making some simple changes to your organisation’s telecommunications system could enable it to act as a valuable marketing tool…at little or no extra cost! What’s more, there could be an astonishingly easy way to manage the admin and customer services side of your communications, so you have time for other things. We know – it sounds too good to be true.

Firstly, we have to highlight one of the most important beneficial factors in jumping to the cloud: cost-efficiency. Cloud telephony doesn’t come with any huge surprises cost-wise; you don’t have to pay for lots of technical equipment, and with monthly rolling contracts, you stay in control. With VoIP hosted systems, calling costs can also be greatly reduced in general – even for international communications. They’re also low maintenance to run in the long term, and can allow mobile working for employees, regardless of device or distance from the office.

Excellent. Now let’s look at it from a marketing perspective. Anything that’s cost effective, or even better: that you already have in action elsewhere which can be applied as a marketing tool, is your best friend. Most likely your organisation already has a standardised script used in sales or customer service. With the executive call features that accompany cloud-based communications solutions, you can utilize this script in your telecoms to provide customers with information, up-sell products, allow them to self-direct their experience, and much more.

Learn from the experts

Last week my other half booked us a surprise weekend break to New York in November. “Amazing!” I thought, “Can’t wait! How long are we going for?”. On closer inspection of the booking, we discovered she had reserved flights that left us with a grand total of one full day in the Big Apple. How were we going to explore this magical city in just one day?! This is why I usually plan our holidays. Of course, I was straight on the phone to British Airways to extend the trip.

Now you may or may not have a preference towards British Airways as an airline, but if you live in the UK, you’d definitely recognize their logo and branding. In the past few days, I’ve probably spent a grand total of 4 hours on the phone to BA, a large proportion of which was on hold, waiting for them to check this system or that system and make the necessary changes to our booking. You might have seen the British Airways television adverts and no doubt recognize their “theme” song, the Flower Duet by Lakme. Adopted by BA in 1989, this song has grown to represent the company as a brand; they played this down the phone and I knew I was in the right place.

Before speaking to a customer service operative, I had to direct myself to the right department, pressing “1” for bookings, “2” for baggage, and so on until the next level, pressing “1” for flights only, “2” for flights and hotels, and so on. The benefit of this ‘virtual receptionist’ was that I didn’t have to explain my predicament to a different person each time – I was able to take control of my own pathway. So far, so good.

While waiting to be connected, I was put back on hold, this time with a stream of information playing over the oh-so-familiar Flower Duet. I’m not going to lie, I was pretty tempted by the services they were trying to up-sell to me – a flat lying bed in business class? Yes please! There were also several advisory messages on how to manage my booking online, an overview of various facilities they offered to make my travel experience better. Although I didn’t choose to take advantage of these on this occasion, the fact that I could hear them further re-assured me of British Airways’ reputation, re-enforcing their brand image tenfold. The upselling messages made use of a line by adding marketing material to a phone call that would otherwise be channeling silence, which the company would be paying for anyway.

Cover all your bases

Sure, British Airways are a huge corporation and you might not be as well known, but no matter how large or small your company is, you can still achieve the same marketing and brand awareness strategies by converting to the cloud.

Pick a song that represents your organisation and use it as on-hold music. Tailor your sales pitch into snippets of information that can be played to the customer as filler – upsell, advise and re-assure. As we mentioned in a previous post about the customer-focused benefits of cloud communication systems, callers are far more likely to stay on the line when something is keeping them occupied, i.e. music or information, rather than deathly silence. Let your customer direct themselves through to the right department, freeing up your call operators’ time that would otherwise be spent transferring calls all over the place. Save yourself some pennies, increase productivity and embrace a global workforce.

It’s predicted that by 2020, over 27 million employees are set to be using cloud telephony solutions in the UK and US alone, not forgetting the rest of the world. You need to make sure that your company is in a position to reap the full benefits this technological shift will bring.

Click here to find out more about switching to a cloud-based communications system, and get your extra marketing tool today!

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