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The Caller
07
JULY
2014

The Caller

“Good morning! Thanks for calling us!
We’re pleased to hear from you!
Your call’s important to us
So we’ve placed you in a queue.

Please find your account number and
Be sure it is correct.
It’s twenty digits long and if you
Mis-type, I’ll reject.

I’ll lead you through the whole routine
Please use your touch phone.
Press eight and follow with the hash
After you hear the tone.

If you are a new client here.
Press two, if old, press three.
Press four in case we’ve done something
With which you disagree!

You have pressed four, please wait a moment
While I transfer you.
And please enjoy, while we play you
A symphony or two!

But wait! It may be there is hope!
I hear a ringing sound,
At last a human voice is heard
After the runaround!

“Good morning! Thanks for calling us!
We’re pleased to hear from you!
Your call’s important to us
So we’ve placed you in a queue.

By Frank Halliwell



Customer Service Commandment 1: Customer is Always Right, Even When They're Wrong
23
JAN
2014
The Caller

The customer is always right. It's a lovely thought… if you're a customer. Of course, no one is actually, truly, always right. Customers - along with some politicians, children, and Tony Abbot - may think they're always right, but life is just not that simple. There are times when even the best customer will be wrong.

In many cases, the best approach will be to treat the customer as if they were indeed right. Offering a discount when a customer doesn't technically qualify can be a lot less expensive than losing a long-time customer for good.

In other cases though the mistake or misinformation may be so significant that there is just no way you can let it go uncorrected:

“I’m truly sorry, but no, the Buy One Get One Free special that we had last year is no longer being offered, and unfortunately it never applied to every single item in the store.”
“Sorry, but I'm afraid the Kids Eat Free special only applies when someone else buys a meal.”

Whether right or, well, wrong, though, every customer deserves the same respect and dignity they would get if they were indeed right. And if you do need to tell a customer that this time he or she is not right, stop first to ask yourself a few questions:

  1. Are you absolutely sure the customer is not right? Is it possible that maybe you or someone else in the company is at fault or that a new policy or sale is in place that you just have not heard of yet?

  2. Are there any special circumstances that should be considered? Yes, the sale price may no longer be in effect, but did the ad not run until after the deadline? Was the offer misleading? Is your product actually indeed a really bad product, and therefore you should offer an extra level of service?

  3. Does the customer deserve special attention? Has she been loyal to you since the day you opened, and raved so much that she has brought in more customers for you than most of your sales team has?

Taking the time to know the situation and customer can save you a lot of embarrassment and even some lost customers. Because the only thing worse than telling a customer he or she is wrong, is telling them they’re wrong when they’re actually right!


A Little Motivation to Start the New Year
06
JAN
2014
A Little Motivation to Start the New Year

I don’t know about you but I always find it a little hard to find motivation this time of year. There’s no more presents to look forward to, no mince pies to eat and no more frolicking in the sun whenever your heard desires. I’ve put together some motivation quotes related to business, customer service and teamwork to provide a little lift in this great time of need.

  • “If we don’t take care of our customers, someone else will.”  - Unknown

  • “Customers don’t expect you to be perfect.  They do expect you to fix things when they go wrong.”  - Donald Porter

  • “If you make customers unhappy in the physical world, they might each tell 6 friends.  If you make customers unhappy on the Internet, they can each tell 6,000 friends.”  - Jeff Bezos

  • “Sales without Customer Service is like stuffing money into a pocket full of holes.”  - David Porter

  • “The strength of the team is each individual member. The strength of each member is the team.”  - Unknown

  • “In business you get what you want by giving other people what they want.”  - Alice MacDougall

  • “You’ll never have a product or price advantage again.   They can be easily duplicated, but a strong customer service culture can’t be copied.”  - Jerry Fritz

  • “The only place success comes before work is in the dictionary.”  - Vince Lombardi

  • “People expect good service but few are willing to give it.”  - Robert Gately

  • “Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence wins championships.”  - Michael Jordan

  • “Snowflakes are one of nature’s most fragile things, but just look what they can do when they stick together.”  - Vista M. Kelly

  • “When a Company compromises its principles one time, the next compromise is right around the corner.”  - Zig Ziglar

  • “The goal as a company is to have customer service that is not just the best, but legendary.”  - Sam Walton

  • “A company’s character is known by the people it keeps.”  - John Ruskin

  • “The harder I work, the luckier I get.”  - Samuel Goldwyn

  • “Being on par in terms of price and quality only gets you into the game.  Service wins the game.”  - Tony Alessandra

  • “Teamwork is the fuel that allows common people to attain uncommon results.”  - Andrew Carnegie

  • “It is amazing how much you can accomplish when it doesn’t matter who gets the credit.”  - Robert Yates

  • “Although your customers won’t love you if you give bad service, your competitors will.”  - Kate Zabriskie

  • “The way a team plays as a whole determines its success. You may have the greatest bunch of individual stars in the world, but if they don’t play together, the club won’t be worth a dime.”  - Babe Ruth

  •  “Laziness may appear attractive, but work gives satisfaction.”  - Anne Frank

  • “Organizations exist only for one purpose: to help people reach ends together that they couldn’t achieve individually.”  - Robert H. Waterman

  • “The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing.”  - Steven Covey

  • “Here is a simple but powerful rule - always give people more than what they expect to get.”  - Nelson Boswell

  • “To my customer.  I may not have the answer, but I’ll find it.  I may not have the time, but I’ll make it.”  - Unknown

  • “A smile is a curve which can set a lot of things straight.”  - V. Borge


12 Customer Service Tips for the 12 Days of Christmas
12
DEC
2013
Customer Service Tips
Be Patient

Try to remember that as a customer service representative for your company you are the expert on your service. Most callers probably don't have your level of expertise and may not understand something the first explanation. Be patient, and is they don't understand the first time, try to explain it again in different words. Never raise your voice, in all my years working with all kinds of clients has anyone understood something any better from hearing the same information in a louder voice.

Try to vary the tone of your voice

Talking in a dull monotone throughout a call gives the impression that you are not interested and is a sure way to put callers to sleep. I'm not suggesting you dazzle your customers with your best Sean Connery impersonation but changing up your voice to empathise certain words will make you sound more interesting and engaged. Same goes for your on hold message!

It's ok for ask for help

We all try to be as prepared as possible, but sometimes as issue may come up that you have no idea how to resolve. In that case, it is ok to get help from your supervisor, team lead, or co-workers, Getting assistance is a far better option than telling a customer the wrong information, for everyone involved.

Be forgiving

The holiday season can be a stressful time for many. If a caller snaps at you don't take it personally and remember that he or she may be under pressure. Remain calm and professional, snapping back will in no way help the process.

Listen Carefully

MostPeople need to know that they are being heard and understood. Listen carefully, don't interrupt, and really try to understand exactly what callers are saying so you do not have to ask them to repeat themselves. Even if you are unable to help them you will be able to pass on the information to the right person and save the customer from having to repeat themselves.

Spread the love

The holiday season is a time of joy. Now I'm not suggesting that you walk around hugging anyone that walks into the office but small random acts of kindness do go long way.

Breathe!

Seriously. You might have a lot of information to communicate, but blurting it all out in one big rushed sentence might make the caller feel overwhelmed and confused. Sometimes it's a good idea to take a pause and let an idea sink in before continuing on with the rest of the explanation.

Think positively

When presented with a challenge, don't dwell on the negatives (never helpful to anyone involved), but instead concentrate on what you can do to make the situation better. Try to practice this at work and at home.

Be a chameleon!

No two customers service calls are the same, and nor are the customers. Customer service agents need to be able to adapt to the particular circumstances of each individual customer and change their communication styles accordingly.

Mind you Ps & Qs

Including simple niceties like "please" and "thank you" in your conversation can go a long way towards making people feel respected.

Clear your mind

Lunch and coffee breaks are great opportunities to get re-energised for the rest of the workday. Make the most of your breaks by doing something that will leave you feeling relaxed and refreshed, like reading a newspaper article or going for a brief walk.

Don't fuss over things you can't control

Speaking as a handcore stresser myself, I know how hard this can be but at the end of the day when you give your best effort, it's always enough. Don't focus too much on things that are out of your control.



10 Great Ways to Promote Your Business This Christmas
05
DEC
2013
we will miss you
Holiday Decorate Your Website & Logo

Most businesses put up decorations in their office during the festive season. So why not spread the cheer on your website? You can make this really simple by changing the background image to a Christmas tree, replace the O’s in you logo with Christmas baubles or the I’s with festive candles, or simply chuck a Santa hat somewhere in there.
Or you can go all out and have a whole Christmas theme designed for your website. If you’re in retail or have an online store, this is a great idea, especially if you stock season products.
NOTE: don’t forget to update your email signature to match.
Don’t have a graphically creative bone in your body? No problem, the elves at Made2Create can help! 

Free Samples

Celebrate the giving season with your clients and customers by offering free samples. onquevision are giving away free Christmas animation to all our clients to say Merry Christmas.

Christmas Samples

Make Your Phone Messages Festive

You can update your incoming announcement, your on hold messages and music and even your voicemail to take account of the holiday season. Take this opportunity to thank your customers for their loyalty and wish them a Happy New Year. Let your callers know of any holiday opening hour changes or any holiday promotions while they wait on hold. The creative writing elves at
M2 On Hold are experts at coming up with fun and festive ways to great and entertain your callers, don’t believe me? Listen for yourself:

Have a Special Christmas Offer

It's really easy to offer something different for Christmas, often just by repackaging what you already have. The limited availability and seasonality gives people a reason to buy today.

Add some valued clients to your Christmas Party Guest List

Nothing builds better business relationships than one-on-one communication and what better way to socialise with some of your most valued clients than a party. Even those that won't be able to make it will still appreciate the invite.

Decorate Your Company Vehicles

Why not extend your office holiday decorations to your company vehicles? This is a great idea if you want to get noticed! Have some fun - keep it simple or go crazy. For an added bonus, film the staff decorating the cars and post it to your social media and website.

Wear a Santa Hat or Christmatise your uniform

Santa hats are inexpensive and for only a few dollars you can buy a bag of them and hand them out to all the staff. Not a hat person? No problem, a reindeer antler headband (wearing mine as I type this) spreads the holiday joy just as much. Why not hand them out to some of your clients too.

Make a Donation to Charity

Celebrate the giving season and make a gift to charity, let your customers know your contribution and give them a way to donate through your business.

Send Christmas cards with your invoices

No one likes opening bills so take some of the sting out this holiday season but including a Christmas card in everything you send out.

12 Days of Christmas
10. Incorporate the 12 days of Christmas in your marketing. Make the most of the post-Christmas period by marketing from the 25th of December to the 6th of January, offering a great discount each day.



Recipe for a professional message on hold production
18
SEP
2013
  • Gather a generous handful of good quality product information
  • Blend with smartly worded snippets of business location and operating hours
  • Carefully add important awards or achievements then combine wisely and check for clarity and flow
  • Let rest until "just right"
  • Review, then add exciting coming events and..... refresh
  • Sift phonetic instructions, stir gently and pour into production tray
  • Select voice talent to suit branding requirement and match to best quality
  • Mix meticulously with preferred music tracks then produce to perfection
  • Listen carefully and adjust volume to suit
We Will Miss You :(
22
AUG
2013
we will miss you

A big thank you and farewell to our loyal customers L & W Sales Pty Ltd of more than 17 years who have sold their hardware store in Karratha and will be leaving us an unfortunate result. We have enjoyed working with you for all these years and hope you have the outmost success in all your future ventures.



On Hold Messaging for Small Businesses
21
AUG
2013
on hold for small business

How a professional on hold message can improve the customer service of your small business

In today’s business environment, customers are demanding more than ever—expecting to get what they want, when they want it. And they want it customised. If they do not get what they need from one company, they can easily obtain it from another. When was the last time you left your office and actually experienced your business from your customers’ point of view? The key is to make the customers experience unforgettable, in a good way.

The bottom line is, if you don’t take care of your customers, someone else will. To be effective, customer service must be consistently good in every part of your small business. From the moment the customer thinks of purchasing right through to the final sale, there are opportunities for you to add value to the process. One of these very real opportunities is with the help of a professional on hold message.

Call your own business, listen to your hold music for a minute or two, and see if that doesn’t have you reaching for your blood pressure medication. For many business owners and managers, it’s obvious that the wrong style of music, illegal radio, or dead silence is irritating to callers, but others can’t seem to figure out why they even need a custom on hold message in the first place. Have you ever been put on hold and on the other end is silence? You may think for a moment that the person hung up on you. After you realise that you’re still on hold, you may wonder if they’re ever coming back to your call. After another few seconds, you’re probably considering hanging up. And by the time the person returns to the phone, it seems like an eternity has passed even if it’s been just one minute. Do you want your customers to have those negative thoughts about the customer service at your business?

Most businesses look at customer service as a necessary evil. They handle it begrudgingly, and with the lowest paid workers they can get away with. You know what? That’s a really bad idea. The first, last, and possibly only time a customer will deal with you is likely via the telephone, and when done properly, it can be a goldmine. This is “why” an on hold message is a powerful, two-prong solution, because it blends customer satisfaction with marketing. You want to provide a really good customer service experience to people who phone your company, you want to keep peoples’ attention while they’re on hold, prevent them from hanging up, and provide a superior, tailored  on hold experience.

While almost every company claims to offer superior customer service, experience shows that most companies’ customer service is atrocious to say the least. Bad customer service loses your valuable customers (Instead of complaining, unhappy customers often simply take their business elsewhere) and angry customers tell at least 12 or more others about their bad experience. Often, a good customer service experience not only avoids/fixes problems but turns customers into fans and advocates and provides an opportunity to develop more business. Don’t underestimate the value of providing a great telephone on hold experience! It is a crucial part of your customer service efforts and adds real value to your small business. In today’s competitive market place you must aim to provide superior customer service, because customers have so many choices, they’re basing their purchasing decisions on the service they receive, not just the price and quality available.



Don't just take my word for it...
02
AUG
2013
building trust

Of course I’m going to tell you that on hold messages are great for business. It is after all what I, as a marketing manager, get paid for. Lucky for me, there’s also plenty of evidence that on hold messages not only improve your customer service and company branding but also add real value to your bottom line.

Here are just a few survey and study results that highlight the benefits of on hold marketing:

In the national survey conducted by the On Hold Messaging Association, 85% of companies that responded called on-hold messaging a useful marketing tool that added value to their business. And 24% credited on-hold messages for adding real revenue to the bottom line.  

On hold messages were also credited for the following:
Building image and professionalism (74%)
Promoting the sale of products and services (72%)
Avoiding silence on hold (58%)
Providing callers with entertainment or information (56%)
Preventing caller hang-ups (31%)

Still not buying it? Here are some more facts (not opinions) about what a professional on hold message can do for your business:

“More than 70% of business calls are placed on hold for an average of 45 to 60 seconds. 60% of the callers placed on hold hang up, and 30% of those that hang up never call back.” - AT&T 

 “Callers with silence on hold will abandon their calls in less than one minute, 90% hang up within 40 seconds. Callers with information on hold will stay on the line for up to three minutes longer.” - North American Telecom  

“Callers stay on hold longer, more likely to exhibit interest in the product advertised, and they were less agitated.”  - Jefferson Denneandrus Research Firm  

Pilkington AGR reported that sales of their non-glass products increased 100% 30 days after they implemented a national On Hold Messaging program.

Executives spend 15 minutes a day or 65 hours a year on hold. - USA Today

SP/Barron Propane experienced a 1,100% return on investment from their On Hold Messaging program within 12 months. During the same period their expenditures for newspaper advertising returned no traceable results.

94% of all marketing budgets is spent on inducing a customer to call. Only 6% is spent on handling the call once it is received. - The Inbound Telephone Call Center

So while an episode of Ripley’s Believe it or Not may still leave you doubting, there is no doubting these facts. You can’t ignore them. And the bottom line is on hold marketing is a proven strategy to keep callers on the line, provide a better caller experience and increase sales.



Breathe New Life into Your Script
29
JULY
2013
breathe new life into your script

Much like the dreaded flu we have discovered something else going around this winter… Update Inspiration Deficiency, is where a long term client feels compelled to update their production, but becomes starved for new script ideas. The good news is that much like taking Vitamin C will improve your immune system our creative writers can improve your on hold script!

If you think you’re suffering from Update Inspiration Deficiency, load up on your vitamins by reading the below tips our copywriters use to refresh and re-energise tired scripts.

Don’t you use that tone with me young man!
Adjusting tone is one of the simplest ways to refresh your on hold production and while keeping your key message intact. Think about how you want your clients to think of your business and what mood you want to inspire in them while they listen to your on hold message.

Take this message, for example;
[Company name] has fast become one of Victoria’s most recognised design companies in the construction industry, and we work with some of Australia’s largest builders, developers and architects.  

Look at the mood this message inspires. It’s casual and a little bit dry - I got a little bored writing it so I’m sure you got at least a little bored reading it (and your callers will be bored hearing it). We can safely say this message doesn’t do a lot to arouse callers’ emotions (unless you include yawning in your list of primary emotions?). The below example is the same message, rewritten with a more emotive tone.

Some buildings are destined to be landmarks and some are talked about even before their doors open to the public - [Company name] sets these standards, so let us make your vision a reality.  Enquire about your new design today.

This shift in tone alters how it’s perceived by the caller and impresses upon the client the true level of the business’ expertise instead of just telling them the bare facts.

What’s your angle?
Stop telling your callers why you’re so good or why you’re the experts and start demonstrating it by using examples. Take a minute to look at your current message and think about what it is you’re promoting. Is it speed, price or availability and convenience? Once you’ve done that, offer your callers an example of how you do this.

For example:
We’re currently involved in some huge projects that draw on our decades of industry experience and ability to provide customised designs for our clients.  The best part is you can view our work for yourself today: we’ve just completed our work on [a], [b], [c] and [d].  Find out more in a moment.

The lengthy list of examples dilutes the whole impression! Rather than having one message with four points, and replace it with four messages with one powerful example each.

For example:
…first complex of its kind, boasting cutting-edge innovation and eco-friendly design right in the heart of St Kilda.  [Company name] is proud to have played a part in this monumental development, providing a contemporary design to main service area.   This project allowed us to showcase the true scope of our design capabilities, as we produced over 12 varying layouts and designs…

While most doctors don’t recommend mixing medication in the case of Update Inspiration Deficiency we strongly recommend that you take the above vitamins and mix them with a good dose of catchy music and an engaging voice to give your on hold production a new lease on life.


VoIP Explained
16
JULY
2013
voip explained

VoIP - Voice-over IP is not a telephone system as such. It’s the way your office phone and switch are connected to make telephone calls using your broadband data connection.

A business VoIP platform can be set up as one of the following:

  • In the “cloud” where your virtual system is hosted by a provider
  • You have an onsite piece of hardware that uses the internet instead of telephone lines for outbound and inbound calls.
  • A traditional PABX style of telephone system that uses internet instead of standard telephone lines for calls

If you’ve chosen a “cloud” hosted solution, there is obviously nowhere to connect your M2 On Hold digital announcer, therefore, you will need your messages supplied as a compatible audio file. Your IT specialist can load your messages and program them to play.

Your platform should also be configured to play messages as a loop instead of starting at the beginning each time. Regular callers will become very frustrated hearing the same introductory greeting every time they are placed “on hold” especially if they have to be transferred a couple of times.

Unlike the onque3 announcer, your VoIP platform will not be able to play your on hold messages on any type of schedule. Messages will need to be changed manually. Unless you have a maintenance agreement with your IT specialists, it will be more cost effective for you to learn how to load the messages to your platform yourself.

Luckily, the second two solutions should still allow the connectivity to the onque3 digital announcer allowing your messages to be programmed to play as you wish.



The Fab Four - IVR TIPS
10
JUNE
2013
messages on hold the fab four

It's always the fine print - message on hold agreements.

Important points to note when choosing a voice to answer your telephones.

Tip 1: Choose a warm, welcoming voice

With only a handful of seconds to impress a caller to your business, your choice of professional voice is paramount. A voice that will put your caller at ease and encourage them to follow the voice prompts to the next IVR level will ensure your customers stay on the line.

Tip 2: Does your voice match your Brand?

Branding is important. And it applies to all aspects of business. As the most important part of your telephone system, your IVR voice represents your company in a very direct way. Taking the time to select the right voice is always a good idea.

Tip 3: Style of “Read”

Caller expectations need to be considered. The vibrant, cheeky voices used for answering an Internet provider or telephone company would probably not be suitable for a doctor’s surgery or insurance company. Our professional experts will offer advice and suggestions on how to match your Brand with a suitable style of read.

Tip 4:  Keep it short

Australian businesses are still coming to terms with the total IVR experience. Frustrated callers will hang up if diverted through too many menus. Keep your callers happy with short and simple scripts and avoid multiple levels when clear concise information will do.

Read the Fine Print
30
APR
2013
messages on hold fine print

It's always the fine print - message on hold agreements.

Amazingly smart, professional businessmen operating a successful entity often forget to read the fine print. The message on hold industry in Australia offers a minefield of options; with long & short term packages, specials, freebies, guarantees all sounding glossy and wonderful until “the fine print”!

Ensure you read any agreements carefully and be wary of third party rental contracts, add-ons for script writing, additional voices, or even music.

If you're not sure…. Ask! If it sounds too good to be true - be wary!

All reputable message on hold companies outline their services in easy to understand language with clearly explained options. We deal with these companies on a daily basis and enjoy a “friendly” competitive relationship based on respect for their professionalism.

And, if you're deluged with gifts and fancy marketing paraphernalia, rest assured that somewhere along the line your business will be paying for them.

Shoes On Hold
08
APR
2013
Shoes On Hold

That was the topic announced for this particular Blog!

How on earth do shoes relate to audio messages? - When pushed for her reasoning, our marketing guru-ette announced that shoes don’t always fit - she believes that the components of a creative writer, style of read, voice talent, music and final production should be a perfect fit - every time - for every one of our clients.

So, how is this achieved? We combine creative flair & colour with solid construction & recognised professional voice talent, then of course - try on for size with a free trial!

Importance of On Hold
22
MAR
2013
Importance of On Hold

Earlier this year, Yahoo’s CEO, Marissa Mayer was caught on microphone before an earnings call admonishing her team about the quality of Yahoo’s on hold music. “You need to get good hold music” she was heard saying, “Can you make a note of that?”

Now, Yahoo is a pretty big company, so it’s easy to see how the issue of On Hold Messaging was ignored until ‘the boss’ got wind of it. But it does raise some important points about the importance of an often overlooked aspect of marketing.

Silence is not golden

On Hold Messaging and IVR recordings are often the first things your new customers or prospects will hear. And as Mayer clearly knows, every second counts. As with any interaction with a company or brand, the customer experience needs to be the best it can possibly be.

Placing callers on hold may not be ideal for your company, but it is inevitable. By putting the right practices in place, you can ensure your callers aren’t left frustrated. Setting up an On Hold Message or playing music can reduce the perceived wait time and make for a less painful exercise; but only if done correctly. A short snippet of music played on repeat will just agitate listeners, and bland, repetitive music will bore them and only infuriate them further.

Conversely, an entertaining, informative and targeted On Hold Message can support your brand and increase your revenue by promoting sales or specials, highlighting new products or services and reinforcing ad campaigns and branding.

An opportunity gone begging?

When a caller rings your business, you can be pretty sure he or she will be a current or soon-to-be customer/client. So why not target your On Hold Messaging to that? How many other chances do you get to communicate direct with someone actively seeking to conduct business with you?

The majority of your on hold audience is likely to have an interest in your on hold content. So be proactive, fun and engaging - your callers will thank you for it and you’ll be that much closer to achieving your marketing goals.

Lessons from the CEO of one of America’s biggest companies

If you are unsure about the importance of On Hold Messaging and IVR recordings, take a leaf out of Mayer’s book. Call your business from a potential customer or client’s perspective. Does this interaction assure you of professionalism and also communicate a message to you?

If you are looking for effective marketing from the ground up, call the M2 On Hold team on 1800 802 822 today.

Source: http://www.businessinsider.com/marissa-mayer-hates-yahoo-hold-music-2013-1

You say tomayto, I say tomarto!
21
MAR
2013
You say tomayto, I say tomarto!

Whilst reputable message on-hold companies touting their services on a national basis have generally got it together to ensure that pronunciations and terminology are accurate regardless of where their customer is located,  the importance of accuracy must be top of mind!

A professional script writer will obviously have a sound understanding of Australian English, however, there can be huge discrepancies in the way place names and products are pronounced according to their client’s location.
Many advertising campaigns have been suddenly pulled off the air due to broadcasting incorrect pronunciation of a suburb of the target state. 

Some fine examples: 

  • Wynyard station is pronounced win-yard and not wine-yard
  • Wollongong isn’t pronounced Wo-lon-gong. It can be pronounced either Wool-long-gong or Woollen-gong even though there is no double o, depending on who you talk to.
  • Booragoon is even more confusing; Boora uses the oo as in book however goon is oo as in room. 
  • Is Merimbula pronounced Mer RIMbewla or Merrim - buewla?
  • Monaro in NSW pronounces mon-air-ro should not be confused with the iconic vehicle, the Holden Monaro, pronounced mon-ah-row

It’s not only in the pronunciation of words, even terminology is different. For example, if a creative writer is constructing an on-hold message for a swimwear or surf shop, they need to keep in mind that whilst the term “bathers” is commonly used nationally, those in NSW say “swimmers” or “cossies” and in Queensland it is “togs”.    

A writer needs to know where the proposed on-hold message will be played i.e. in just one state, or on a national basis with the client being advised they are likely to upset someone somewhere!

Questions must be asked of the client as to the preferred language or pronunciation. 

As a script writer, it is often difficult to explain to a client the process of phonetic pronunciation. For the purposes of accuracy, it’s easier to go back to the old school method of rhyming.   

For example:  the town of Albany in Western Australia pronounce their city Al as in Pal - ba-knee
Whereas, almost every other state refers to it as Orl - ba-knee

Of course, the best and most obvious method of ensuring accuracy is for the creative writer to CALL the client and take a recording for the VO to listen to during the recording session.

Advance preparation will ensure a satisfied client with a professional production.

Modern On-Hold Hardware
19
MAR
2013
Modern On-Hold Hardware

On-Hold Machines have moved with the times.
Back in the 1980s, widely used “digital” on-hold message machines were generally an imported plastic box, using endless loop cassette tapes and driven by an elastic band.  That’s right - we actually pulled one apart to see how it worked.  This hardware was the “digital answer” to a cassette player or CD with a repeat play option.  The catch phrase was “no moving parts to wear out or break down”. 

How things have changed. The 1990s saw the use of a plethora of machines using Eeprom chips, flash memory the size of a credit card and more recently in early 2000s multi-media cards as used in cameras and USB memory sticks. 

Despite the various types of playing platform, the on-hold message still consisted of a standardised 4 - 5 minute production that looped in continuous play mode.  The fancier ones allowed a message switch with a push button option.

More recently a small handful of innovative on-hold message suppliers have developed Australian designed hardware offering callers a more enhanced service. These allow timed/dated messages loaded as playlists programmed to play on a specific schedule. The first of these machines allowed this option by pre-programming a memory card, or in some instances a business needed to allocate an entire computer to do the job.

The latest versions now in the market place are arguably the most effective systems currently available. New messages, updates and edits are downloaded and programmed via the internet. 

Gone are the days of “standard” on-hold messages. A business now has the capability of adding or deleting single on-hold messages at minimal cost compared to even a couple of years ago. The more innovative hardware even allows a business to load their own 40-second commercials to play in conjunction with their main professional production. 
And even more importantly for multiple national locations, a message update can be downloaded automatically overnight timed to start playing on the same date across all sites.

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