Category Archives: Live Message

Businesses are People, Too



I was just reading an article about Marketing and selling to doctors because I recognized that making a sales or marketing connection with a doctor or other professional – particularly in a smaller practice, presents some unique challenges. The article author Stewart Gandolf summed it up quite succinctly when he wrote:

“Doctors are notoriously hard to reach. They are unbelievably busy, refuse to use technologies like voice mail and email, and are protected by the most aggressive receptionists on the planet.”

Indeed, reaching out particularly to doctors and also to similar professionals (dentists, lawyers, accountants) was one of the driving forces behind Boxpilot’s live message service – but I digress…

Further on in the article, as the main points necessary to make an impression on a doctor came to light, it became pretty obvious that they really aren’t all that different from communicating with any other business – large or small.

Every marketing and every sales person knows that you need to start with an excellent offer. So why does it seem that we have so many truly feeble offers out there – like for example and event invitation whose only offer is that you can “see us demo our product”? I promise you, that wouldn’t get a doctor to your event.

If you can’t come up with an even marginally unique selling proposition and instead have to rely on a “me too” benefit, no one will get excited.

Get to the point, quickly. No one has the time to listen to you beat around the bush in a fruitless attempt to render them breathless with anticipation.

Add value to their daily business life, not just to their business. Make their lives easier, richer, happier, less stressful and win a customer. Most of the business messages I see don’t even acknowledge that the people who are in their customer offices are any more than a cog in the wheel (except of course for the decision making cogs).

Communicate with them as a real person who deserves their attention, respect and their business. I see a lot of businesses fall down on this point.

I think if we took more of our marketing and sales campaigns and measured them against these simple standards, they would me more successful and ironically, I think that these are guidelines that offer a point of competitive difference to smaller companies, who actually have a few real human faces of their own.

Live Message and the Sales Appointment Call





Recently I talked with a long standing client about a service that they had never used called Live Message. It was a great way to remind myself that as clients needs and our services continue to evolve, it’s necessary to review both our understanding of what we can do for them and their understanding of how our services fit.

For example- take the client. They have used us almost exclusively for event promotions in the past because all other parts of their lead generation have been outsourced up until recently.  However, they now have an inside sales team who not only follow up any inbound leads, but also cold call potential clients with an objective of setting a phone appointment.

Now take Live Message.  This is a service we originally introduced to manage a few industry verticals our clients wished to target, with a lower than average development of voicemail. We’re in the business of delivering messages to help our clients push their sales and marketing goals, so we chose to expand our service to ensure that we could still do the job when our call center agents enountered the response, “We don’t have voicemail. Can I take a message?”

So originally, live message allowed us to take a shortened version of our clients voicemail and deliver it directly to company receptionists and personal assistants, who would in turn pass it on to the original contact.  And it worked very well indeed.  Maybe its just something about the corporate culture in an organization that still writes down messages on litle pink slips, but the returned call rate has always been excellent and so the service thrived.

But, it also evolved in a very important way and it started, as many of the best enhancements do, with a client request.  “If you get a live answer, (that’s when the target contact picks up the phone. (Yes, it does still happen.)) can you deliver a live message directly to them?”So, we gave it try and after fine tuning our senior call agent training, made it a regular part of our add-on service line up.

Our call center agents have, in the past few years, routinely relayed information directly to our clients’ contacts, related to event invitations and reminders, down load opportunities and mail follow ups and confirmations.

So, going back to the beginning of this post, we now have a service that has evolved to fit with a client who is looking to do campaign types that they never did before.  When their inside reps call and don’t make a connection, they leave a message based on fairly broad opportunty categories, to intro themselves and line up a pain point with the potential for a solution and a phone appointment suggestion. It’s certainly not a one-size-fits all message, but with some intelligent list sorting the tactic works.

What they couldn’t see (at first) was how any shortened version of their basic voicemail message could potentially be delivered directly to their target contacts, since even the best trained callers, would not be properly prepared to do a really good job of fielding that “Tell me more” request.  Live message is, afterall, still a very clean and simple service.

The solution is a little counter-intuitive and a great example of how a flexible approach can help take advantage of any possible opportunity.  The live message version, when delivered directly to the target contact, makes no mention of an appointment request. Instead, it is used to ask permission to forward one of several possible case studies/whitepaper combinations.  Confirmation or denial provides a level of feedback that a delivery failure could never do.  Naturally, an agreement to accept the information is followed up by the inside team to further qualify the contact. The call pick up time is recorded to help guide the clients inside team to a good time to make a connection.

Services change.  Client’s needs change. When we keep track of both, new opportunities are presented for everyone.

The REAL Benefit of a Live Message

Talking about some delivery stats with our production manager, I was again reminded that when the objective of a campaign is to deliver a business message, the best way to get a great return for the client’s money is to use every available means to communicate that message.

For Boxpilot, that usually starts with a guided voicemail, delivered during a regular business day. But it never stops there.  Many extra messages are delivered off hours – at both the beginning and end of the day.  Off hours delivery doesn’t’ necessary mean 2:00am – we target the windows of 6-9pm and 7-8:30am local time.

Following up voicemails with an email lets you reinforce the persuasiveness of a spoken message with written details and the “Reply” button on email offers one of the easiest and quickest response options available. But guided voicemail with or without a follow up email, is just one type of delivery – although I grant you, it’s the best known. 

Some companies don’t use voicemail and messages are taken by receptionists and personal assistants during the day.  It’s not at all uncommon for these companies not to have personal voicemail boxes in the evening either, just shared department mail boxes.  I’ve experienced this a lot with professional services like; medical and dental offices, in the construction industry, with retailers and with some accounting and legal offices.

Boxpilot is a company with a responsibility to deliver as many of our clients messages as possible, so it made sense to extend our service to include the delivery of what we call “Live Message” to receptionists and personal assistants.  While a few clients have not elected to try this service, feeling that it reduces their absolute control of the message, I don’t think their resistance is necessarily serving them well.  Since our client’s must sign off on the exact message scripting and since the most effective live messages are just the key information that will be recorded on the message pad, they do have control.

The irony is that the response rate for Live Message delivery is typically about three times higher than standard voicemail response rates.  We don’t know why. But, it makes sense that it’s a reflection of the nature of those particular companies and maybe our clients also benefit from the necessary brevity of messages that need to be hand written.

Another delivery option that some clients have had an excellent response from is called “Live Message to Contact”.  Given an opportunity to speak directly with the person on the list and again using a controlled and single purpose script, we can create a short, controlled and highly desirable dialogue.  For example, on campaigns supporting sales teams making cold calls or reaching out for contract renewals, the call center can offer a live phone follow up call from the sales representative (think of it as opportunistic appointment setting).  Event and other invitations can get either a completed registration or an event RSVP.

In campaigns that include Live Message and Live Message to Contact, outcomes like elevated response rates, booked appointments and event registrations – all of which are incredibly desirable outcomes- are the alternatives to a non-delivery.   With all the takeovers, closures and layoffs happening in business lately, maximizing delivery percentages has a major impact on a program’s ROI.  Even if all deliveries were of the same value (which they are not) the extra ten to fifteen percent of contacts we can communicate with by using different types of delivery, are well worth the investment.  When you also add into the mix that the alternative delivery methods are actually very well received, using them can have a major impact on sales campaigns, event promotions and lead generation programs.

Guided Voicemail- Live Message – Fast Communications for a Time Limited Offer

This is a case study

Background – A software organization specializing in payment solutions for professional practices had a short term opportunity to boost sales to meet a compliance deadline.

Challenge – The potential base of smaller medical practices was too large to manage with outbound calling from their own sales team.  The solution they were offering was on par with competitive products, so being the first to communicate the offer was the only competitive advantage.  Practices varied but most decision makers were practicing physicians.

Alternatives

  • Lack of email addresses in the data base precluded email as a stand-alone option. Email alone was also not considered to be sufficiently intrusive, due to the competitive nature of the market.
  • A high visibility direct mail piece was considered and rejected because of the time lines and lack of urgency.
  • Traditional outbound telemarketing was rejected due to the high cost and slow penetration rate.  Additionally, without detailed product knowledge, telemarketers could
  • Computer dialed voicemail was rejected due to the lack of direct dial numbers.
  • Guided voicemail was the preferred alternative as it was fast and affordable. It also allowed for the client to maintain control over the message delivery and drive inbound inquiries. However, in the early stages of the program it was discovered that up to 50% of the professional practices did not use voicemail.  Receptionists took messages during the day and answering services managed in the evening.

Solution – Boxpilot created a hybrid messaging service for the program.  It combined the flagship guided voicemail service with a new offering – Live Message.  When Boxpilot’s callers were advised that voicemail was not an option, they instead verbally communicated the key information to be recorded by receptionists and assistants.  In some instances, the callers also directly communicated the contact information to the decision makers who in turn called the company for details. The Live Message communication also created an ideal opportunity to harvest new email addresses to facilitate “More Information”.

Results – The fast set up and message delivery allowed Boxpilot’s client to reach 70% of their prospect base before their competitors made their first recorded contacts.  The client’s inbound call center was pushed to almost 100% of capacity managing program inquiries.  Overall, the client exceeded their sales goals for this program by 18%.