The C.R.T.C. asked for comments during first phase last year, and over 600 Canadians commented via an online discussion forum. In addition over 3,500 written submissions were also received. Among other things, the public asked that contracts be written in easy-to-understand language, with no hidden fees. You can read the draft code here
You can also have your say until 15 February here
You can view the current hearing thanks for CPAC by clicking here
This outcome of these hearings are likely to impact the radio industry given the amount of listening to radio that now happens via smart phones.
Last month I shared some ideas on how to provide better customer services to one set of a radio station’s customer’s – its listeners. This month, I want to focus on the other set of customers, being the clients who purchase advertising on your radio station and, hopefully, your digital websites as well.
In today’s service orientated economy, great customer service is not only expected, it is often the difference between success and failure. The reality is that advertisers do not really need us, we need them. After all, they do have other options. Therefore, our job is to make our product as desirable as possible, ensure that the radio station is an effective advertising medium for the client, and make it as easy as possible for any advertiser to do business with the station. Remember that today the average consumer has many different options in your market and beyond when they need a product or service, and when it comes to advertising we know that the average retailer is approached by 10 different companies on any given day offering to sell them a product or services to help the retailer increase their market share. This includes your radio station, all the other radio stations in the market or close by, billboards, newspaper, flyers, magazines, cable channels, website portals and all the social media marketing experts. Then there are the companies selling branded merchandise, promotions, B2B concepts and numerous other companies all looking to grab a share of that local retailer’s advertising pie.
This means that if we are to be more successful in 2013 we need to look at our how we communicate with our customer, how we create a point of difference, and how we provide an even better customer service to the advertiser. So let’s start by asking when was the last time you looked at what customer benefits you offer your retailers in order to stand out from these competitors? Here are a few customer service benefits that will not cost you much, but may create a valuable point of difference and set your station apart from your competition:
24 hour on call service: This was easier to achieve when we had staff on the air 24 hours a day, seven days a week because there was always someone to answer the phone after hours. Then it was a matter of having one phone number that was answered by the front desk during office hours and by the announcer outside of normal office hours. The reality is that most clients will never call the station outside of office hours, but giving them the benefit of calling anytime of any day or night when they have an issue is a great service and will probably be appreciated by your clients. It would not cost much to have your office phones answered by a service outside of normal hours and they can email or text the message to the appropriate staff member who can then deal with the client’s query in a timely manner.
Advertiser referral service: Run an image campaign on the air inviting listeners to call the station if they want more information about an ad they heard on the radio. It is also easy to have this information on the radio station’s website with a link to the client’s website. This creates the perception that the station in committed to looking after the advertiser’s needs. Chances are, very few listeners will actually phone up asking about an ad, but advertisers will appreciate that the station is going the extra distance to make their advertising more effective.
Advertiser advisory panel: Once a month, gather several advertisers in your conference room, ask for feedback on how the station is doing and seek suggestions on how the station could improve. It needs to be a free form discussion where advertisers feel they can speak openly and even criticize the station. This creates an opportunity to fix those things you deem worth fixing and will help to build client loyalty, because they feel like they are contributing to the policies of the station. Chances are you will get some actionable ideas and those clients will listen to the station to see if their ideas are being acted upon.
Welcome board: This is a simple idea that makes the client feel important. When they arrive at the station have their name displayed on a “welcome” board similar to the board or screen you see in hotel lobbies. So when a staff member books a meeting with the client at the station to voice an ad, or meet with the rep or GM, tell reception who then ensures the client’s name is on the welcome board on the appropriate day. “XX-FM welcomes Bill Smith of Smith’s Menswear.” That way the staff knows a client is coming into the station and can greet them by name if they encounter them in the hallway. Over time, more of your staff will get to know the names of more of your advertisers, and those clients will feel important when they come to the station.
Have we done something wrong: It should be very easy for your traffic person to keep track of any non seasonal advertiser who has not advertised on your station in the past 3 months. Send them a personalized letter from the General Sales Manager or General Manager along the following lines, “We note with concern that you have not advertised with our radio station in the past three months. Have we done something wrong? Is there some way in which our service did not live up to your expectations? If you were unhappy with our service, our product or your commercial we would like to know, and we hope you will give us the opportunity to put this right. I will call you personally in the next few days or please call me at your convenience because your business is important to us.”
Customer Service Manager: This is another job than can be easily handled by the Traffic Manager. They spend 20 minutes each day phoning clients who have schedules running on the station. They introduce themselves as the Customer Service Manager and explain that they are calling to check that everything is okay and if we can help them in any way. Most stations do not have that many accounts on the air at any one time so it should not take much time each day to make some calls. But it does show the client that the radio station cares about them enough to call. It is also a great way to identify any problems and allows you to get them fixed quickly. Not all sales reps are detail orientated and some may be reluctant to pass along the client concerns for various reasons. Also, some clients may not feel comfortable complaining directly to the sales rep.
Thanks for choosing us: Send this letter out to new clients welcoming them to the radio station and thanking them for their business. You might even include a voucher to use for an upgrade or to be applied to a future campaign. This is not only great customer service it also encourages future purchases. You probably receive lots of these types of offers yourself, but how often do you think about doing this as a radio station? You might also include some helpful information such as how to create a powerful radio commercial. If they are new to your station they may not have the knowledge or experience in what to put in their radio commercial.
Free sponsorships: If you have a programming feature that is not sold, then pick one of your top advertisers and offer them the feature at no charge for two months. If the feature is running and it is unsponsored then the station has lost nothing by giving this away, and the client will appreciate the gesture. Then talk to sales and motivate them to go get it sold. In the meantime one of the major advertiser’s names is associated with the feature which should make it easier to sell.
Run educational seminars: Put on a seminar once a year, or more frequently if you can justify it, and bring in an expert who can help your clients better understand how to use media and how to make their advertising more effective. By the way, you should listen closely to your local radio ads and look for copy that you know does not work for the client. If you would like a list of what to look for contact our office and we’ll be happy to send that to you. Then find out why the copy is like that. Was it the rep, the writer, or the client? Sometimes it’s all three! Seminars are a powerful way to educate your clients and they will appreciate that you did this.
The above are just a few ideas to get you thinking about ways to provide a better service to your customers. I am sure if you thought about it you could come up with others that would be just as good, if not better. But doing this is still not enough. You not only need to practice great customer service, but you also need to continually emphasize your customer service advantages you have over your competitors and make sure you market these benefits to your clients. I know of one station that sends out a personalized letter promoting a different customer benefit each month to all the key advertising decision makers. You might consider inserting the letter with the invoice if you send them in the mail, providing the marketing reaches the decision maker and not the person in accounts payable.
I should point out that some of these ideas were, and probably still are being used in New Zealand and Doug Gold was the person who came up with many of them. You can read more about customer service if you Google “Fun is a Serious Business The More FM Story.”
Recently I was talking with two different sales consultants who we work with in various stations and took the opportunity to ask them about customer service. I asked what is the one thing they recommend local sales reps do differently in 2013 in order to produce better customer service, and be more successful. Sean Luce recommends that reps use some form of an account management system to better track each account versus hit and miss and wait for your memory to trigger the follow up.
I also asked what is the most common mistake you see local radio sales reps making when dealing with local clients? Sean said, “They do not get deep enough inside the client’s business and really find out how they can accomplish success through radio. For some strange reason, in some cases, there is not a balance between selling the special packages and custom tailored campaigns with great creative. Failure to bring an idea – and that idea is not a cut your prices down to the bottom idea – it’s creative and problem solving.” Paul Weyland says, “Too many reps walk to a client not prepared. They flash a rate card and feel they should walk out with the order. Also, clients need help to craft copy points to promote the benefits they offer the customer. This means sales reps need training on how to pull relevant information from the client as to why someone should come and do business with them. Paul feels that most sales reps are lazy when it comes to gathering copy and they do not ask great questions to uncover the nuggets of information. This is why so many ads on radio are jammed with meaningless cliché’s that are not effective for the advertiser.
I then asked what sales reps need to do in order to generate more local revenue in 2013. Sean Luce said, “Measure, source and track the campaigns they run for their clients.” Paul Weyland recommends that sales reps need to ask the client good questions to establish a clear point of difference in their product or service. Secondly, sales reps need to become better listeners because often the client will say something important that the rep will miss because they are more focused on delivering their sales pitch, as opposed to listening to what the client is saying. Paul Weyland also suggests that sales reps need to have more face to face meetings with clients and they need to be doing a better job of closing long term business. He suggests that reps should talk to clients about building a five year advertising and marketing plan broken down into 12 month increments so they can measure progress. He believes a good sales rep will have no more than 32 active long term accounts on the air each month for 12 months a year. They will then work with these clients to provide outstanding service, and ensure their advertising copy is great. The advantage of long term agreements is that the rates are locked in, the client gets the best availability on the schedule and your competitors will be less likely to take budget away from your station because the client is locked in. We also know that radio works best when a client is always on the air because they will be top of mind for that product or service in the minds of your listeners.
Lastly, I asked what trends sales reps should be aware of that may help them in 2013. Sean said, “The continuing shift of media dollars into digital. Radio needs to sell value, not cheap. Sell what radio can do better than any other media…build top of mind awareness as well as drive people into their business and pay full price.” Paul Weyland says he is seeing more “real people” ads on the air. Get the facts from the client and build a conversational commercial. Ask the client what he says to the customer in the show room. If it works in the show room it will work on the radio. So why do we hear radio ads that say, “We must sell 30 units this weekend,” when this is not what they say to a customer in the showroom?
Thanks to Sean Luce from the Luce Performance group at www.luceperformancegroup.com. Paul Weyland has a new book called “Think Like an Adman Sell Like a Madman” which is worth reading. Paul is also from Texas and works with radio stations to build more long term business and help clients create more powerful radio commercials. Find Paul at www.paulweyland.com
Feb 1-28 “International Boost Self-Esteem Month”: Focus on the importance of nurturing and cultivating self-esteem to beat the winter blahs. Call Valla Dana Fotiades 863-875-0759. email email@example.com.
Feb 1-28 “Junior Achievement Month”: Junior Achievement students in Canada participate in experiential learning programs to discover free enterprise, understand business and economics and develop their entrepreneurial and leadership skills. See www.jacan.org.
Feb 1-28 “National Heart & Stroke Month”: see www.heartandstroke.ca
Feb 1-28 “National Black History Month”: see Citizenship & Immigration Canada www.cic.gc.ca/english/multiculturalism/black/index.asp
Feb 1-28 “National Psychology Month”: see www.cpa.ca
Feb 1-28 “Plant the Seeds of Greatness Month”: If you are unhappy with your career, use these next 28 days to put to use your own unique prosperity and plant the seeds for your new career. Call Lorrie Walters Marsiglio 630-584-9368.
Feb 1-28 “Return Shopping Carts to the Supermarket Month”: An opportunity to return stolen shopping carts, milk crates, bread trays and ice cream baskets to supermarkets and avoid the increased food prices that these thefts cause. Call Anthony A. Dinolfo 815-463-9136.
Feb 1-28 “Spunky Old Broads Month”: A celebration for all women over 50 who are interested in living a regret-free life. Call Gayle Carson 305-534-8846, email Gayle@spunkyoldbroad.com. See www.spunkyoldbroad.com.
Feb 1 “Working Naked Day”: A day for all those who are working from home “naked” – stripped of the resources that millions take for granted in the traditional corporate workplace.
Feb 1 “International World Cancer Day” see www.uicc.org.
Feb 2 “Groundhog Day” If the groundhog comes out of his hole and sees his shadow, we’re in for another 6 weeks of winter. Call Woodstock, the town where Bill Murray filmed Groundhog Day 815-338-2436 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Also check out Wiarton Willie – Canada’s leading weather prognosticator Phone:(519) 534-1400 or e-mail email@example.com.
Feb 1-18 “Winterlude”: Ottawa, ON. Annual celebration of Canadian winter. Call 613-239-5000 or 800-465-1867. Web www.capcan.ca/winterlude.
Feb 2 “Groundhog Job Shadow Day”: 12th annual. Students spend part of the day in the workplace “shadowing” an employee as he or she goes through a normal day on the job. Call 1-800-373-3174 for a kit. Email firstname.lastname@example.org. See www.jobshadow.org.
Feb 2 “Safer Internet Day”: To promote safer and more responsible use of online technology and mobile phones, especially among children. See www.saferinternet.org.
Feb 3 “Super Bowl XLVII”: Mercedes-Benz Stadium, New Orleans, LA. Call 212-450-2000. Web: www.nfl.com.
Feb 3-9 “Dump your Significant Jerk Week”: With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, there’s no time to waste. If you’re in a loser relationship, it’s time to cut the cord. So call Marcus P. Meleton for ideas at 949-413-3052, email email@example.com. Web www.sharkbaitpress.com.
Feb 3-9 “White Cane Week”: For info see Canadian Council for the Blind www.ccbnational.net
Feb 4-8 “International Networking Week”: To celebrate the key role that networking plays in the development and success of businesses around the world. Call Ivan Misner, PhD 1-800-825-8286 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Feb 8 “Laugh and Get Rich Day”: When people laugh they are more effective, stay in the same job longer and tend to remember things better, according to Rick Segel. Phone: 781-272-9995 or e-mail email@example.com
Feb 10 “Chinese New Year”: The Year of the Snake begins today.
Feb 10 “Man Day”: A day for celebration by friends, family and associates of the men of the world. Annually, the Sunday before Valentine’s Day. Call C. Daniel Rhodes 205-908-6781, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Feb 10-16 “International Flirting Week”: Recognizing the role it plays in the lives of singles seeking a mate, couples looking to sustain their love and those simply exchanging a playful glance with a stranger, acquaintance or colleague. Call Robin Newman 516-773-0911, email email@example.com. Web www.lovecoach.com.
Feb 11-17 “Random Acts of Kindness Week”: A week to raise awareness about kindness and invite people to give and receive kindness daily. Call 1-800-660-2811 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Feb 12 “Mardi Gras”: (Fat Tuesday). Last feast before Lent.
Feb 12 “New Mexico: Extraterrestrial Culture Day”: A day to celebrate and honour all past, present and future extraterrestrial visitors in ways to enhance relationships among all citizens of the cosmos, known and unknown. Annually the second Thursday of February in New Mexico.
Feb 14 “Valentine’s Day”: An occasion for the exchange of gifts and greeting cards with affectionate or humorous messages.
Feb 18 “Family Day”: Annually, the 3rd Monday in February.
Feb 21 “Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day”: The engineering community is asked to reach more than one million girls and encourage them to pursue the fields that lead to engineering careers. Call Natl Engineers Week Headquarters 703-684-2852. email email@example.com. web www.eweek.org/site/news/eweek/girlsday.shtml.
Feb 22 “World Thinking Day/Founders Day”: Birth date of both Lord and Lady Baden-Powell, founders of Boy Scouts and Girl Guides. Don’t be surprised to see members of these organizations in uniform today at school and work. See www.scouts.ca or www.girlguides.ca.
Feb 23 “Open That Bottle Night”: 13th annual. A night to finally drink that bottle of wine that you’ve been saving for a special occasion that never seems to come. Email Dorothy J. Gaiter and John Brecher of the Wall Street Journal at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Feb 25 – Mar 1 “Read Me Week”: National and local celebrities and other volunteers read in classrooms wearing readable clothing with school-appropriate messages. For info call 615-834-7323. See www.bookem-kids.org.
Feb 27 “Pink Shirt Day”: A day of anti-bullying. See www.pinkshirtday.ca.