Monday, September 22, 2014
“The early bird gets the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese.”
It’s unclear who coined this bon mot, but it neatly illustrates that the right thing at the wrong time is the wrong thing. Anyone who’s been on the receiving end of an unsolicited sales call will vouch for that. It’s not that the incredible offer being made on a Friday night when you’re just beginning to unwind is unwanted per se. You just wish the caller would be a little less tone deaf regarding timing.
From this writer’s recollection, the ill-timed commercial call was huge in the 80s, when everyone had landlines and regulations surrounding cold calling were lax to the point of non-existence. That began to change after 1991, when the Telephone Consumer Protection Act was passed to protect consumers from nuisance phone calls.
But even with new legislation in place, it was still possible to annoy consumers in their homes without breaking the law. Annoyed consumers are bad for business. At the very least they won’t be using your service or buying your product. The worst case scenario is they bad mouth your company online. Besmirching the reputations of others has never been easier; an ill-timed phone call to the sort of person just waiting for an excuse to get splenetic on your Yelp page is like a red rag to an enraged bull.
Research indicates the key time to avoid is dinnertime, roughly between 6 and 8pm on weekdays. You could have an earth-shattering 95% discount on puppies and chocolate, with free delivery thrown in, communicated via a Morgan Freeman voice broadcast scripted by Billy Wilder and beautifully tailored to each recipient. But if that phone rings just as Joe Bloggs is sitting down to a movie and a takeout with his family, it’ll be nothing more than a nuisance call, and little Jenny and Jimmy Bloggs will never get their puppies.
The fact is, you shouldn’t even be aiming to speak to the recipient. It may seem counterintuitive, but the optimal scenario for getting the most out of a voice broadcast is to reach an answering or voicemail service. True, listening at their own convenience may simply mean ignoring the message altogether, but at least you haven’t wound up in their bad books. And you will still achieve a certain strike rate. Many consumers are amenable to taking 30 seconds out of their day to see what you have to offer. If you’re truly offering something of value, a well-timed voice broadcast will win you new customers.
The best time to schedule your voice broadcast is mid-afternoon on a weekday. Fewer people will answer the phone, allowing your message to sneak in, Trojan horse-like, and play the waiting game. And whatever you do, pay close attention to differing timezones. Make sure the sun is out wherever a phone receives your voice broadcast and it will smile on your efforts.