What's different about streaming?

10 September 2021

Do you remember in the olden days when we bought CDs, tapes or even vinyl? The market for such audio storage has plummeted, with only music purists persisting on buying them under the perception that vinyl music (indiscernibly to most) sounds better. But how or why could the streaming audio revolution benefit telecoms resellers and their customers when it comes to the delivery of on-hold and in-queue marketing on telephone systems?

Ever since VoIP platforms were first developed, Music on Hold (MOH) had been an option – usually with a default track that proficient users could replace with a custom uploaded .wav file. Few customers make this change – leading to the default tracks from Avaya, Cisco, Gamma Horizon, BT’s HostedVoice or Wildix to be among the most recognised tunes in the UK.

Recent analysis of 1.4million SME calls kindly shared with us showed that callers listen to this music for a staggering 20% of the total call duration, so playing the same track as everyone else is a missed marketing opportunity, especially when marketing messages or helpful information can be added to the music, creating Marketing on Hold. A mid-sized UK utility company disclosed that they queue callers for a total of 750,000 hours a year and chose to repeat the same five comfort messages 25,000,000 times. As a marketing and branding opportunity this time is valuable, meaning there’s margin for the telecoms channel to share in.

So why does streaming help? Well, it enables your customers to select what music and messaging is playing to callers in real time, without involvement from you. It allows changes to be scheduled for the future (e.g. Christmas music and messaging in December, or Bank Holiday opening hours messages). Indeed, it allows the MOH space to be pre-programmed so that it becomes another component of the marketing mix - and all without any involvement from IT/Comms staff.

In the contact centre world, the power is immense. Two people listening to the same Spotify channel at the same time will hear different adverts, because Spotify targets adverts. Now the utility company above can play targeted messages 25 million times instead of repeating five messages.

The opportunity for telecoms resellers and platform providers arises because it is simple to replace the default audio track with a streaming audio service, like PromptVoice, and share in the value. One simple configuration change can enable a new service offering that can be used for every customer, from micro-SME to enterprise contact centre. Even better, such services are totally end-user managed, so it’s recurring margin for doing nothing.

Although streaming audio is still on the roadmap for some platforms, audio download and upload capabilities mean that these additional marketing opportunities are still available, and resellers have a fantastic download solution to sell nonetheless.

And for the caller? Well they get to hear enjoyable, regularly updated music and messaging that enhances the caller experience and informs them while they would otherwise be irritated by the listening to the same old track once more, highlighting the fact that they are being left on hold once again!

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