- Written by Hannah Dunne
- June 18, 2017
For so many florists answering the phone is the first interaction you’ll have with a large chunk of customers; it’s an unusual industry where telephone sales are still extremely common as customers need to talk through bespoke orders and explain delivery details. So why then, do so few florists think about the tone, attitude and atmosphere created for every phone call?
If a customer feels you’re in a hurry or not able to cater to their needs or budget, they’ll be less likely to come back or even make that initial sale. Worse still, if a customer tries to call and you don’t even answer the phone or you lack a professional voicemail, you’re as good as asking them to go straight online where they’ve got guaranteed service at the click of a button.
There are whole areas of research which draw on science and psychology to discover ways to access the consumer psyche and sell more. Often it looks at subtleties many of us would never notice, and our latest contribution from Dan Lafferty, Director of Voice and Music at PHMG, explains a little about his specialist subject and suggests simple tricks for florists to maximise profits.
Here, Dan Lafferty explains in his own words how sound forms a powerful and essential element of the marketing mix for florists.
For florists, the telephone is a key sales tool.
Granted, the online flower retailing business is blooming but many customers still prefer to speak to an employee about their order, perhaps to create a bespoke bouquet or ask for advice.
In fact, a study of 1,000 British consumers by PHMG discovered 42 per cent of respondents would still rather have enquiries answered over the phone than look online.
This could represent a problem if budgets are not being devoted to what people hear when they call the business, creating a detrimental experience for the customer.
Cultivate your company’s sound
The importance of visual branding is understood by florists. In this creative industry, how your business looks, from signage to window displays, is vital as it reflects the skills and expertise of your company.
Yet how a business sounds is often overlooked. Hearing is one of our most powerful senses, capable of having a profound effect on our subconscious and provoking strong feelings in our mind.
The impact on a customer is subtle yet long-lasting so if they are faced with inappropriate voice and music on their first call, it could communicate the wrong image and be off-putting for the listener.
On the other hand, carefully selecting an audio brand that is congruent to your existing visual counterpart can further strengthen your company’s professional image, enhance brand values and offer a higher level of customer service.
Pick the best voicemail voice
When it comes to choosing the voice of your business, getting a member of staff to read off a script won’t necessarily work.
Rather than making a random voice fit, instead consider the visual branding and work forwards. This gives a framework of the desired brand image and values your voice needs to reflect.
There are a number of variables to consider, such as gender, age and whether the voice has an accent. But ultimately, it comes down to the perceptions associated with each of these attributes.
Research has found that the typical voice of the floristry industry is female, aged 30 to 40 with a warm tone and welcoming delivery.
A feminine voice is often used as a soothing tool to make the customer feel calm, working best for companies looking to provide a friendly, personal service. It is perhaps unsurprising then that florists tend to use a female voice given a lot of customers will be purchasing flowers for emotional events, such as weddings and funerals.
The age profile is also important. Customers want to know that they are purchasing quality flowers from a knowledgeable florist. An older profile helps to do this by conveying dependability and expertise, while ensuring customers that their order is in safe hands.
As florists usually cater to a local demographic, many use a voice with a regional accent to connect with a customer on an emotional level. This could be difference in whether the customer chooses one company over another due to the local accent providing a sense of reassurance.
Bloomin’ marvellous music
Like with voice, an existing music track can’t be made to fit a purpose it was never intended to. Many businesses will simply choose a popular song thinking it will entertain customers yet how the listener responds depends on their previous experience and thoughts on the track.
Each individual element of the music, from the choice of instrumentation to the tempo of the track, has an emotional effect on the listener. It’s chosen to complement the accompanying voice – along with the company’s overall image. For example, florists have been found to employ organic instrumentation, like acoustic guitars and pianos, to form a relaxed and friendly sound.
Turn over a new leaf
Many floristry businesses have got their visual branding down to a tee, understanding its importance in attracting customers and generating sales.
But what about how your company sounds?
Given the numerous benefits of audio branding, you would be wise to give it a thought.