Sat, Aug

On hold

Should you be following Greenhouse Graphics’ lead and using customer call wait time to promote your products and values?

Sustainable print specialist Greenhouse Graphics has reinforced its forward-thinking business approach by implementing an innovative marketing campaign that exploits telephone hold time. The EMAS-accredited firm, which has recently diversified its print operations, will use the phone to keep customers up to speed with the changes and to promote its green strategy.


Greenhouse has employed audio branding specialist PH Media Group to implement the on-hold marketing campaign, which includes specially created voice and music designedto reflect the firm's brand values. Now whenever callers to the company's office are put on hold or transferred, they will hear a series of short audio messages, known as on-hold marketing. These messages will inform customers about new products and services, helping to raise awareness and support sales efforts.

Investment in a Screen 1600 UV-F 320 x 160cm direct substrate press, has enabled Greenhouse to expand its large-format provision, offering a greater variety of large-format banners and exhibition stands in addition to more conventional print services.

"On-hold marketing has represented a perfect fit in supporting our efforts to diversify and offer a greater range of services to our existing customer base," explains managing director Ian Crossley. "It's important to take every opportunity to speak to the people we deal with on a regular basis and this is an important touch point in that overall communications plan.

"Although we aim to keep hold time to an absolute minimum, there are times when customers will have to wait on the line for a short period of time. In the past, this time might have represented 'dead air' but now it represents another means of communicating with our existing customers in a way that isn't intrusive.

"We will use the service to inform customers about the changes at Greenhouse, so it will act as a tool for up-selling, cross-selling and building greater awareness of what we do."

A recent study conducted among 3,630 UK businesses by PH Media Group discovered print companies are putting customers on hold for an average of 33.52 seconds per call - a figure that could represent danger for many firms, as research has also found 50% of callers will hang up within 20 seconds if forced to listen to silence while on hold.

There is a clear link between poor call retention and lost business but Greenhouse is among a handful of firms that have taken a more proactive approach to call handling. Use of on-hold messaging has been found to reduce caller hang-ups by 79%.

"Subliminally, we hope these messages will sink in while customers are waiting and listening, helping them to become better informed about the services we offer and ethos we have," says Crossley. "We're trying to educate our customers bit by bit, using on-hold marketing alongside direct mail and email in order to get the message across.

"Often it can be hard to change perceptions. Greenhouse is a long-standing business with many loyal customers, so people will already feel they have a strong idea of what we do. In order to change this we are using a multi-touch approach in order to communicate the right message many times through different media. That may take some time but we are already starting to see some of the benefits."

Greenhouse is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year and there has already been plenty to celebrate. It is one of only 60 companies in this country to have EMAS accreditation, which is regarded as the highest standard for environmental performance in Europe (see last Image Reports issue). In order to achieve the award, companies have to not only demonstrate compliance with a strict set of environmental standards but also to adopt a proactive approach in reducing the environmental impact of their operations.

Crossley addressed the audience at last month's Fespa 2013 show, exploring the key drivers for printers to adopt a sustainable approach. The presentation highlighted the savings that could be made through increased efficiencies  and discussed the increasing demands a number of brands and print buyers are making of their suppliers when it comes to sustainability.

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