elderly woman on the phone
Are mobility companies making the most out of those precious moments when customers are on hold?

Daniel LaffertyWhen conversations turn to marketing and how mobility companies can better engage with customers, visual considerations usually spring to mind – billboards, print adverts, websites, social media and more. Less common is the idea of audio branding however, despite the telephone being the first port of call for many customers wanting to find out more about a business. Aiming to give some sound ideas to mobility retailers and suppliers alike, Daniel Lafferty, Director of Music and Voice at PHMG, discusses why investing in the way a company sounds might strike the right note with customers.


By Daniel Lafferty

As the UK population gets older, an increasing number of people are providing unpaid, informal care for family members. Nearly three in five carers in England and Wales are aged 50 years and over, many of whom are still in full-time employment as well as having responsibility for the daily care and welfare of elderly or disabled relatives.

And with 20 percent of homes occupied by older people in England failing the government’s basic standard of decency, retailers in the independent living sector can expect opportunities to emerge as families seek life-enhancing housing adaptations direct from retailers.

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As more and more people want to live longer in the comfort and dignity of their own homes, they need a lot of extra assistance to do so. And not just from relatives willing to give their time and support. They also need practical equipment and assistive aids which will make everyday tasks that were once simple and taken for granted, easier to manage in old age or disability.

Subsequently, mobility and independent living retailers are big business right now – riding the wave of this demographic and socio-economic trend. Local retailers who can provide first-class service and affordable solutions that harness the best technology and everyday practical aids should thrive in this buoyant market – if they stand out for the right reasons.

Lending a sympathetic ear

The importance of making a positive first impression in this very sensitive and growing market is crucial. Concerned consumers will thoroughly research which companies will be best to help them through the difficult transition to being either a carer – or cared for.

All businesses are now exposed to the wrath of online rants that name and shame businesses that disappoint. But equally, they can reap the rewards of glowing forum testimonials, word of mouth recommendations and Trustpilot ratings.

“Research shows that 73 percent of Brits would not do repeat business with a company if their first call wasn’t handled satisfactorily. Brand reputation can be irreversibly damaged by a badly handled call – or worse still – an unanswered call.”

Visual marketing generally dominates every marketing budget – from dynamic websites and engaging social media to well-designed brochures and advertising. Yet few businesses recognise that how a brand sounds can be just as influential as how it looks.

In fact, a recent study found that 60 percent of Brits now feel that music is more memorable than visuals when used in marketing.

Well-crafted and well-executed audio branding productions have the ability to generate sales and deliver one of the most valuable marketing assets – long-term customer loyalty.

Please hold…

The telephone still remains a key touchpoint in the customer journey, from product and cost enquiries through to arranging product demos or delivery. It is therefore an essential tool in delivering excellence in customer service.

Research shows that 73 percent of Brits would not do repeat business with a company if their first call wasn’t handled satisfactorily. Brand reputation can be irreversibly damaged by a badly handled call – or worse still – an unanswered call.

When it comes to choosing the right soundtrack that callers hear when they are put on hold, mobility retailers should think like a customer. How would they react to confusing silence, irritating beeps or repetitive ‘please hold’ messages during what could be a distressing time?

In fact, our research shows that the average hold time is 33.56 seconds. Would a customer wait that long to get answers to life-changing and potentially life-enhancing questions? Or would they hang up and call the next provider on their list?

PHMG marketing advice sounds

The sound of a sensitive brand

An effective audio branding soundtrack combines a unique combination of three elements: brand-congruent voiceover, custom-made music and an engaging script.

Music is powerfully influential and emotive – it has the ability to remind people of events, people and places that can raise a smile. But not always. If callers have a negative association with a well-known song it could prove costly, not only in terms of copyright spend, but also brand integrity. It could even make callers hang up if memories are too painful.

When creating an audio brand production, the composer needs to fully immerse themselves in the essence of your brand and think about what customers should feel when they hear the music. In the independent living sector, callers need to feel reassured that they are in safe hands with a sense of calm and confidence that the retailer can change the quality of their lives for the better.

In retail, high street and mass-market audio branding favours major tonality and bright, fresh live instrumentation. However, for specialist retailers targeting a more mature audience with very specific needs, laid back music with a calm melodic tempo would be more appropriate to evoke a sense of professionalism and empathy.

Mainly female voiceovers are used in this sector, and the tone will be friendly and engaging, inviting people to spend in a relatable, “you deserve this” manner.

Make the right noise

Not only does audio branding establish brand personality, it keeps customers informed – and therefore spending – and brand loyal. Scripts can be tailored to promote special offers and new product launches or share practical information such as store opening times and parking information. Savvy retailers could also craft scripts to tie in with disability or charity awareness weeks to demonstrate that they are in touch with the very specific needs of individual illnesses and disabilities.

Industry accreditations and staff qualifications can be shared to reassure callers of a professional and personal service with exemplary standards of care and knowledge. As well as giving practical advice, scripts can be updated regularly to share independent living tips and expert advice on government initiatives to new and nervous customers.

Powerful audio branding productions give mobility retailers a compassionate voice. It provides a platform for them to become the ‘go-to’ resource for the latest information as well as products that will enable customers to live longer, happier lives in their own homes.

Singing your praises: Are you a Which? Trusted Trader, member of the British Healthcare Trades Association or Motability-accredited? Or have you scored highly on customer review sites such as Feefo or Trustpilot? Perhaps you have invested in having your team complete the Disabled Living Foundation’s Trusted Assessor courses?

All of these well-known accreditations and associations help potential customers trust a business and the short time a customer is on hold provides a business with the perfect opportunity to let them know.

Working to get companies heard, PHMG supply audio branding and on-hold marketing to a large number of retailers across the world. Based in Manchester, PHMG works with 36,000 clients across the globe. Find out more about the company at www.phmg.com or call 0161 877 2253

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