What’s Your Vanity Number?


Holdcom has expanded its product offering with toll-free Vanity Numbers. A vanity number is an alpha numeric phone number that contains a memorable word or phrase useful in communicating a message to an audience.  Holdcom has partnered with long-time client Primary Wave Media, a top source for vanity phone numbersToll-free vanity phone numbers will allow Holdcom customers to further their audio branding efforts.

In partnering, Primary Wave and Holdcom make 800 phone number look-up easy for business owners by incorporating an instant search on their websites.  Business owners can search by keyword or industry to find an appropriate, memorable toll-free phone number.

Both Primary Wave Media and Holdcom are dedicated to understanding their clients’ individual needs for advertising and audio marketing.  This dedication means guidance through the entirety of the process of creating an audio brand.  Together, Holdcom and Primary Wave have an in-depth understanding of advertising strategies, and with an extensive network of tools, experience, and knowledgeable professionals, can work with any client to solve audio marketing needs.

My Week In Haiti

By Brett Lubansky – Holdcom Producer

Brett with child from Haiti

My name is Brett Lubansky and I am a member of the Production Department at Holdcom.  I recently participated in a service trip to Haiti, during which I was able to be a small part of the ongoing work to clean up the destruction from the January 12, 2010 earthquake.  I was part of a team that worked alongside an organization called TouchGlobal.  This organization is based on “Crisis Response” and has had members stationed in Haiti since the initial shock of the earthquake was announced.  The TouchGlobal Team had several ongoing projects including: building semi-permanent shelters for families whose houses were destroyed, cooperating with another group in the construction of a regional medical clinic, and working with several short-staffed orphanages.

Arriving in Port Au Prince was an absolute culture shock – especially for someone like myself who grew up in the suburbs of New Jersey.  Coming out of the airport, you’re thrown into a world of chaos, where people are wandering around in a city of dirt, rubble, and trash.  Driving through the city, you find people hovering around what were once their homes, but have now collapsed upon themselves.  What exists now are “tent cities”, filled with thousands of people.  As we made our way around, several of us sitting in truck beds, residents would see us and shout, “Give me money, give me food.”


After the shock, my team and I got down to work.  Throughout the week, it was made apparent that there is slow but steady progress being done in the country – thanks to a variety of contributors.  The semi-permanent shelters that we constructed were provided by Samaritan’s Purse, who produces the main sections of the shelters before sending them to Haiti – so that they can be easily assembled on location.  The shelters are a basic 2X4 frame, with tin roofing and a thick tarp surrounding the outside.  Many families that receive these shelters also choose to install plywood walling to the inside for increased security.  While these shelters are not a permanent solution, they offer a more structured existence than a make-shift tent, and they give the families somewhere to stay while rebuilding their permanent homes.  The hope is to encourage the Haitian families to help themselves and give them the opportunity to rebuild what was lost, while discouraging dependency on international assistance.  Working with the families at these sites was extremely humbling.  Most of these people had lost everything they had, yet they still greeted us with smiles and extended their deep appreciation for helping them get their lives back together.

The medical clinic being built was a joint venture by several groups in the area.  The architect behind the project was a man from West Virginia, Caleb Lapp (www.haitibuilder.com). He told us his interesting story, which included how after a few short-term volunteer trips to Haiti, he had sold his business in the United States to settle in Haiti and commit to the cause of building the clinic and developing a long-term solution for earthquake-proof housing for the average Haitian.  The UN also had several divisions from Korea, Japan, and Sri Lanka on site helping to move dirt from dug-out foundations to a nearby soccer field.  The clinic is scheduled to be functional by September 2011, and our role in the construction was to build a massive septic tank out of concrete block.  As none of us were masons or had much experience to go on, this proved to be challenging.  Add in the fact that we were down in a hole of blistering heat with no breeze; this was easily the most tiresome activity of the trip.  Despite these obstacles, and with the proper guidance from other experienced volunteers, we were able to get the project completed; by week’s end, we were the proud masons of the clinic’s new septic tank.  Yet another humbling experience.

The orphanages in the area each consisted of at least 40 children, who had been abandoned or whose parents died in the earthquake and its aftermath.  The children ranged in age from infants to 12 years or so, and they all had great energy.  Many of the kids were also being taught English, and begged us to read to them from a pile of books they had stored in their small library.  Most of our time was spent running around with the kids and simply giving them tons of attention, which was something I genuinely enjoyed.  A majority of the orphanages are run by women who have their hands full with the children and therefore cannot dedicate the time to some much needed maintenance projects.  With the upcoming rainy season, digging a drainage trench was a necessary task that I was also happy to help out on.

This unique experience in Haiti was fulfilling and it was encouraging to see the cooperation of so many people who have abandoned their lives of convenience to aid those in need.  Despite the brevity of our trip, I could see that many things were in place that should help Haiti progress and continue to recover from the tragedy of last year.  Being there gave me a new perspective for awareness of things going on outside of my usual circles, and I would encourage everyone reading this to briefly put their lives “On Hold,” and consider what they can do to help those less fortunate.

Holdcom Staff To Ride In Space Shuttle

Buehler Challenge Logo
On June 10th, the Holdcom team blasts off into outer space as part of the Solar Flare corporate program at The Buehler Challenger and Science Center
in Paramus, New Jersey.  Holdcom’s Mission: to rendezvous with Halley’s Comet and return to Earth safely.

According to The Buehler Challenger and Science Center’s website (www.bcsc.org), The Solar Flare program is a venue to “create effective workplace relationships with team-building solutions and leadership development.”

“We look forward to having our entire staff be a part of this fascinating simulated mission program, which we first learned about while producing their message-on-hold programs,” said Neil Fishman, President and Co-Founder of Holdcom.

The Science Center’s name has its origins from the devastating Challenger explosion on January 28th, 1986, where from “the ashes of the disaster, Challenger Learning Centers were created…as a living memorial to the crew of STS 51-L.”  It is the 21st Challenger Center to be built, and has one of the few double simulators in the network.

The second portion of the Science Center’s name is to honor Emil Buehler, aviation visionary, architect, engineer, and philanthropist.

“Holdcom continues to look for new and innovative ways to motivate our staff and build culture within the organization,” said Director of Operations, Andrew Begnoche.  “One of our producers saw the team-building exercise in the Buehler Challenger script and suggested it as an event for the staff.  It goes to show you the power of message-on-hold and its ability to communicate valuable products and services.

Holdcom has been a partner with The Buehler Challenger and Science Center since 1996.

Check out the updated press release – After the mission.

Managing Your On Hold Space

nurses hand on patients handStrategic Healthcare Communications is an online healthcare resource that “since 1984 has been supplying marketing, communications, and business development information of vital concern to healthcare organizations.” One of their key publications, Strategic Health Care Marketing, featured an article about how “[Emergency Departments]…must adapt their emergency services to meet the unique needs of the over-65 population.”

According to William Thomas, MD, “the culture of the emergency department is built on fast medicine. The needs of frail older people are founded on the virtues of slow medicine.”  The “basic standards,” according to Sue Penoza, Director of Planning of Trinity Health System, “have fewer units, natural lighting, non-skid flooring, soothing colors, and amenities such as warm blankets and fresh flowers.”

Hospitals that offer these specialized services will increase their reputation, as well as their patient community.  More individuals with aging parents will trust these hospitals, and word of mouth will spread the wealth.

From a marketing perspective, this is not only a cultural revolution, but a response to their community’s needs.  According to Eve Pidgeon, Manager of Corporate Communications for the System, “you have to get involved with each patient to deliver individualized care…you really have to slow it down.”

Holdcom has a similar philosophy – the on-hold “space” is a place to provide one-on-one care to your “patients” (i.e., callers), who are “seeking cures for their ailments”, whether it be finding information, performing a daily task, or even speaking to the manager.  By renewing and customizing these on-hold messages, customers will stay alert and engaged on a frequent basis – creating dialogues that can only benefit your business and your consumers.

What do you think?  Should companies deliver highly specialized services, or focus on improvements that cover a general scope?

SOCAP Symposium Recap


SOCAP International held it’s annual Symposium on May 1 through 4 at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas. Holdcom and Caras Training were happy to kick off the conference by co-sponsoring transportation to Cirque du Soleil’s Beatles tribute, LOVE, Sunday evening.  “It was a spectacular show that came at you from all directions” recalls Holdcom’s Andy Begnoche.  “At one point, they covered the entire audience with a giant sheet that rose and fell with images being projected on to it.  It truly felt like I was ‘tripping.’  It was quite a spectacle.”

The conference offered the “opportunity to network with industry peers as well as take part in targeted workshops designed to enhance your knowledge within customer care.” Featured speakers included Terry Jones, founder and former CEO of Travelocity.com; Edward Jay Goldberg, Senior Vice President of External Affairs at Macy’s; Frank Eliason, Senior Vice President of Social Media at Citi; and many others.

SOCAP Sponsor

Since 2003, Holdcom has been a strong supporter of SOCAP.  Our Director of Operations, Andrew Begnoche, has served on various SOCAP committees; he is currently Vice Chair of Members Services and is SOCAP’S Social Media Ambassador.  As Holdcom’s mission is to bring businesses and clients closer together through the power of audio, we value SOCAP as a fantastic resource for trending technologies and customer service best practices.

For more information, check out the 2011 SOCAP INTERNATIONAL SYMPOSIUM.

June: Just For Fun

Library of Congress National Jukebox

I don’t know about you, but my iTunes library has been severely lacking in Golden Oldies.  You may wonder, “Why doesn’t he just pick up a Motown Greatest Hits compilation? Or tune the radio to 106.7 Lite FM?”  Please, those songs are infants compared to the “oldies” I’m talking about.

Library of CongressTake me back to the finest operas, the brass bands, and rags of the 1900s – and with the help of the Library of Congress’ National Jukebox, my ears can rejoice.

According to their website, “The National Jukebox…makes historical sound recordings available to the public free of charge, [featuring] recordings from the extraordinary collections of the Library of Congress Packard Campus for Audio Visual Conservation [as well as] other contributing libraries and archives.”

What exactly is featured?

The navigation bar provides multiple approaches to search, catering to the audiophile or the curious stumbler-upon.  You can browse by artist, genre, featured daily song, and playlist.  For starters, check out the National Jukebox Sampler, which features recordings “between 1901 and 1912 [and] covers a broad range of genres, styles, and categories, including unaccompanied jubilee singing, political and comic spoken word, vaudeville, ragtime, art song, and grand opera.”

Another treat is the 1919 edition of the Victrola Book of the Opera “reproduced…as an interactive digital facsimile.”  This feature takes advantage of digital mixed media by providing audio samples of “nearly every recording listed in the book” alongside text and images.

Imagine hearing segments from early Tin Pan Alley or the latest aria while waiting on hold!

What do you think?  Share your thoughts with us on our Facebook page or on our Twitter @Holdcom!

June: Featured Blog

Message-On-Hold Wisdom From Panel Experts{jcomments on}

SOCAP (NY)At a previous New York SOCAP Annual Conference, Holdcom put together a panel represented by some of our major clients – Verizon Wireless, Metropolitan Opera Association, and Dannon Company. Each panelist responded to the central question – how does your organization handle placing customers on hold?

Recently discovered in our digital archives, Holdcom is in the process of remastering this valuable panel discussion and making it available to you for download.

Here are learned insights from the first speaker, Mike Roby, VP of Customer Care of Customer First Call Centers (and former SOCAP president):

  • Message-on-hold has a number of applications, but centers around two main points: how you are putting people on hold and what message you want to give them.
  • If using a sales approach, on-hold messages are the perfect opportunity for cross sale.
  • The quality of a company’s on-hold message is a direct reflection on the company itself, especially for conveying professionalism.
  • The general mindset of business is just to let anyone answer the phone, regardless of voice or training. The same lackadaisical attitude is applied to queue lines, where callers must hear the same god awful music, or hear the same reporting – I’m sure all of you can come up with any number of horrid examples of waiting on hold and having to hear the same, boring message over and over.

Another speaker was…. Click here to read the full blog

Script Tip – Enhancing IVRs One Prompt at a Time

pencil on white paper with eraser

Here is, by far, one of the most common errors Holdcom’s Script Department encounters when reviewing IVR script submissions from clients.

Let’s see if you can spot what’s wrong with this sentence: “Please choose from one of the following options.”

On initial glance this might seem fine.  But take a closer look.

Are you really choosing “from one” of the available options?  No, you’re choosing one from ALL of the available options.

Therefore, the correct way to write the sentence would be: “Please choose one of the following options.”

Or, alternately, you could say: “Please choose from the following options.”

A simple, but important, tip such as this is just another way the Holdcom Script Department can help you enhance your IVR menu.