July: Featured Blog

virtual tours

Virtual Tours: Good, Better, Best

Virtual tours allow people to see something they can’t see in person, providing a unique opportunity to reach a virtual audience. A successful virtual tour is engaging, interesting, and user friendly. A good tour can turn virtual visitors into real life patrons, while a bad tour might turn them away forever. A virtual tour with professional audio can be part of a marketing campaign and brand building strategy.

Here are examples of 3 virtual tours that use audio in different ways:

Good: US Botanical Garden

The US Botanical Gardens has created a visually stunning 360 degree tour of their facility, shot with a high quality camera. Each room at the gardens is fashioned around a particular environment of the facility, like the desert or the Mid-Atlantic Region. Visitors can turn around the rooms and see flowers, cacti, tree-tops, and clear blue sky.

Pros:

  • High Quality, Beautiful
  • Some areas, like buildings or certain plants, can be clicked on for more information

Cons:

  • You can’t read any of the physical exhibit text, like the cards that identify the plants. There is no direction to get more information from inside the tour, and it may be unavailable all together.
  • There is no audio, either integrated into the tour or on another part of the webpage. You can read an informative sidebar while looking at pictures, but the experience ends there.
  • The tour is one you zoom through pretty quickly.  It’s a beautiful place, but because there is little content other than the visual, you don’t stay around very long

This tour might be useful for someone currently planning a visit to the National Botanical Garden, but for an e-traveler, it could be more engaging. For visitors to spend more time at the site, the tour would have to be more special.  In a virtual tour, visitors will use their eyes, but other senses should also be stimulated.

Better:Dioramas at the American Museum of Natural History

Best: UPM Forest Life

Click here to read the full blog

July Album Reviews

While many link Message On Hold music with the genres of Uptempo Contemporary or Light Jazz, this month’s album reviews feature two compilations that offer a break from the ubiquitous: the tranquil, New Age influenced Discovery and the uptempo, guitar-driven Cool Young Stuff Volume 4.  Complementing any of your On-Hold Messages with musical selections from these albums will keep customers satisfied.

Album: Discovery

Discovery

Holdcom offers an album that goes against the grain with the New Age Collection: Discovery. The overwhelming theme of this album is tranquility, and throughout the tracks you’ll find soothing melodies communicated through guitar, synth pads, piano, and even chimes. With this encompassing theme however, there is still enough variety to make it flexible for multiple applications.

The track “Back to Nature” epitomizes the peaceful aspects of this album, taking the listener on a journey into an imaginary paradise. With a constant pad of synthesized strings, a gentle piano melody lingers with a flute lead that creates a surreal, relaxing experience. If you’re concerned about call abandonment, having this track on hold might have your callers asking you to keep them there! (Read More…)

Album: Cool Young Stuff Vol. 4

Reviewed By: Joe Blakely

Cool Young Stuff

When you are looking for something with an edge, you are heading in the right direction with the choice of this album. Ripe with overdriven guitar and an upbeat tempo, it’s something reminiscent of music in the montage scenes of 80’s movie classics such as Top Gun or Breakfast Club.

Though keeping a mainly upbeat pace throughout, one track that stands out on the album is “Look Both Ways” with its delayed guitar over a serene acoustic guitar pattern. It is definitely something new for your customers while they are on hold. Another crowd pleaser is “Home Grown” – suitable for any whose caller-base would enjoy a blues/country feel while being on hold. (Read More…)

July 2011 Just for Fun

laptop next to typewriter on table

Most people spend a lot of time on the computer today, whether they’re emailing, writing a report, or tweeting. No matter what we’re doing, we’re likely resting our hands on the keyboard, waiting to type the next sentence or respond to a post on a social media site. So this month, we offer you some “just for fun” facts about writing and typing:

  • The average person’s left hand does 56% of the typing.
  • No word in the English language rhymes with month, orange, silver, or purple.
  • “Dreamt” is the only English word that ends in the letters “mt.”
  • The sentence: “The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog” uses every letter of the alphabet. So does, “The five boxing wizards jump quickly.” Sentences that use all 26 letters are called panagrams.
  • The words “racecar”, “kayak”, and “level” are the same whether they are read left to right or right to left; they’re palindromes.
  • There are only four words in the English language which end in “-dous:”  “tremendous,” “horrendous”, “stupendous”, and “hazardous”.
  • There are two words in the English language that have all five vowels in order:  “abstemious” and “facetious”.
  • TYPEWRITER is the longest word that can be made using the letters only on one row of the keyboard.

Have an interesting palindrome, panagram, or fun fact? We’d love to hear it-leave us a comment!

Interactive Web Design Features Professional Voices

Web Epoch Interactive logoHoldcom is pleased to acknowledge the innovative use of internet audio services for a revamped website required by Reproductive Medicine Associates of New Jersey, designed by web developer Roj Prasad, of Web Epoch.  Although web audio is not a new application, Roj’s integration of professional voice recordings within RMANJ’s redesigned website affirms their importance and value to website functionality.

Roj began his venture as a web developer in 1996 and traveled throughout the ever-changing world of the Internet, thanks to his vast multimedia background.

When speaking with Roj, I was curious to know what separated his web development services from the competition and the “do-it-yourself” clients.  “The web-developed pages, which I design, motivate interactive design,” explains Roj.  He utilizes advanced DHTML that Google searches “see”, which enhances SEO results.  These interactive designs rival “Big Banner”, which many companies’ sites showcase.

Businesses want their brands, products, and services to get noticed on the Internet…it’s not enough to simply have a web page.  A company needs a site that can be recognized sooner, rather than later, when browsers log on to search.

When Reproductive Medicine Associates of New Jersey approached Roj to enhance their website, they were currently working with an inexperienced vendor.  But after one month of working with Roj, RMANJ excitedly told him, “You’ve done more for us in 30 days than the other vendor did in five months… and we want you to do more.”

RMAReproductive Medicine Associates of New Jersey has helped thousands of individuals and couples realize their dream of having a baby. They offer the full range of fertility treatments, from the simplest interventions to advanced options, including in vitro fertilization (IVF) and other more specialized forms of assisted reproductive technology.  RMA of New Jersey has helped both men and women with challenging and complex fertility problems.

Roj based his visual design of the site on the scientific aspect of RMANJ’s facility – using the double helix structure of RNA and DNA strands as visuals.

So here is this state-of-the-art reproductive facility that’s enhancing their website with the aid of a highly creative web developer.  What role does Holdcom play in all this?  Well, Holdcom has provided Message On Hold services for RMANJ for the past nine years, and Roj recognizes the importance of audio on the web site.  “Audio holds attention when users may not want to read,” describes Roj.  “It helps users retain more…especially when the website is coupled with visuals.”

Roj was also aware of the benefits that a professional voice talent and studio-quality recording would provide RMANJ’s web site.  “A good commanding voiceover grabs users’ attention,” states Roj.  “The voice gives another dimension to the experience.”

Holdcom is very appreciative to Roj and Reproductive Medicine Associates of New Jersey for the opportunity to provide a useful service and enhance a quality presentation.

Click here to view Reproductive Medicine’s website.  Click on the left navigation buttons to hear the audio.

Holdcom Teambuilding in “Outer Space”

Holdcom staff @ Buehler

This past month the entire Holdcom team took a field trip to The Buehler Challenger & Science Center in Paramus, New Jersey to participate in a simulated spacecraft mission entitled, “Rendezvous With Halley’s Comet”.  Solar Flare Corporate Programs designed the outer space mission to enhance workplace relationships, incorporate team-building strategies, and develop leadership skills.  The spacecraft mission entailed orbiting around the Sun between Earth and Mars with the goal of reaching Halley’s Comet through the collaborative success of each “crew member’s” responsibilities.

The field trip began with a short information session about the composition and traits of comets and a remembrance about the devastating Challenger Space Shuttle explosion that took place in 1986.  The Buehler Challenger & Science Center was built in memory of the astronauts who lost their lives 76 seconds into their flight due to an O-Ring malfunction brought on by freezing temperatures.  After being educated on the original Challenger crew members and their space mission goals, the Holdcom staff took part in team-building games in training and preparation for their own simulated space shuttle mission.

After coming through the team-building sessions successfully, and intact, the crew was divided into eight teams with different “Comet Team Responsibilities”.  These duties all served a purpose in completing the mission to guide and launch a scientific probe into the tail of Halley’s Comet.  Some of the tasks and responsibilities the teams had to accomplish were using star charts to locate Halley’s Comet in the star field, assemble the data-gathering probe, collect specimens from the Spacecraft greenhouse, manage and take care of the crew’s health, maintain communication between the Mission Control and the Spacecraft, and transmit diagrams and information.

When asked about his experience at Buehler, Neil Fishman, President of Holdcom, replied, “For the past 15 years Holdcom has been privileged to provide Message-On-Hold services for the Buehler Challenger & Science Center.  We recently had the extremely gratifying experience of participating in one of its team-building corporate programs, and my only regret is that we didn’t sign up for this “mission” years earlier.  Every organization will benefit from an array of valuable, action-packed exercises in cooperation and communication, while having fun and gaining a better understanding of space exploration.  I recommend you find a Buehler Center near you and book a flight!”

Buehler Challenger & Science Center, a long time client of Holdcom, provided an enlightening afternoon of entertaining team-building activities followed by a space shuttle mission to remember.  The entire staff of Holdcom left Buehler with an appreciation for team-working skills and the importance of clear communication, something that is stressed at Holdcom every day.  Holdcom employee Joe Pietsch explained his thoughts on the trip: “It was a great experiment to show how we can not only work as a team at Holdcom, but also use that sense of team-work in other places and other situations.”

Holdcom Joins Flickr

Buehler skis

Have you been trying to put a face with the name (and voice) you’ve been working with at Holdcom? Maybe you’re interested in seeing what the Holdcom team is up to at our events? Or perhaps you want to see the photos from a Holdcom event you’ve attended. Check out our Photostream on Flickr! Right now, you can look at our pictures from the Buehler-Challenger Learning Center. Let us know which ones are your favorites by leaving us a comment on this social media site that is all about images. We’re in the process of uploading all of our pictures, so be sure to check back soon!

Equipment Upgrade Discount

tapes buster logo

If you’re still using cassette tapes for your MOH, the time has come to upgrade. As you may or may not know, antiquated cassette load technology for your Message On Hold communication is no longer supported. We all remember the days that videos tapes were the size of books and having to rewinding them before returning them to the store. The world has gone digital and so has your MOH equipment.

If you are currently using a cassette load digital announcer for your On-Hold Communication, HOLDCOM can assist you with upgrading to new MP3 and CD technology for a special price.  If you’re not sure what equipment you are currently using, we encourage you to contact cr@holdcom.com for an equipment consultation.  Or call them at 800.666.6465.  They’ll be able to verify if your equipment is compatible for the future.

Remember, having the most up-to-date technology will not only insure consistent and reliable on-hold messaging, but will provide you with a more convenient means to implement your update programs.  And keeping your content up to date will make for more effective on-hold communication in your marketing and customer service efforts.

Click here to save $50 on your upgrade

Script Tip -Advance vs. Advanced

pencil on white paper with eraser

A typical misconception is that the terms “advance” and “advanced” can be used interchangeably.

Often medical offices will submit scripting with the following sentence:

“If you need to cancel your appointment, we require 24-hours advanced notice in order to avoid charging you a cancellation fee.”

Did you spot the error?

It’s the phrase “advanced notice” that’s incorrect.

Advanced means “complex” or “sophisticated”.  It does not refer to a situation occurring beforehand, which is – among others – one of the meanings of advance.

On the flipside, I’ve also encountered scripts which state:

“With the help of innovative, advance technology, our doctors provide expert care.”

In this case, the word “advance” is inaccurate.  Since the sentence is trying to convey that the technology is state-of-the-art, “advanced” would be the correct adjective to use.

When in doubt, remember this rule of thumb:

When you hear about something before others do, you’re getting advance notice.

When you’re describing an object or entity that’s further along than others in progress, complexity, skill, et cetera, you’re describing something that’s advanced.

Do you look forward to reading our Script Tips every month? Click here to download our “Script Tips ‘Greatest Hits’ Compilation”