Sound Communication: The Holdcom Blog

Message On Hold is MTA's Solution

overhead-announcementsHave you ever wanted to call a specific department of a company, only to find hundreds of contact numbers on their website? Maybe you become frustrated dealing with wrong transfers, disconnections, and long wait time? Message On Hold and Integrated Voice Response (IVR) systems are designed to alleviate these call frustration issues. In fact, until recently, Metropolitan Transportation Association had roughly 117 different phone numbers listed as contacts on their website. In an effort to increase customer satisfaction, MTA has decided to consolidate their extensive list of phone numbers to just a handful. “Rather than having a scattered campaign with different message and designs, it hangs together,” Mr. Soffin, the MTA spokesman, said.

The Metro North Customer Information Center receives 60,000 new customer contacts a year. This growing amount made MTA officials realize the need for more efficient call processing and customer service. Since the beginning of the year, promotional posters have been displayed on trains, buses, subways, and station walls promoting the changes being made that benefit MTA passengers. MTA's "Improving Nonstop" campaign focused specifically on revamping their customer service initiatives. Mr. Soffin added, “There was a feeling that the M.T.A. hadn’t been as effective as we could be in communicating things that are going on to our customers. This is a way of trying to improve that.” By integrating a customized IVR system, your callers will hear a clear, professional, and unified voice providing important information.

Now that MTA is consolidating their phone numbers, they will inevitably have to sit down and decide which phone numbers to use. From a marketing perspective, a vanity phone number would be the best solution for MTA. A vanity telephone number is a toll free number that uses words instead of traditional digits. Using a vanity number builds brand awareness and improves customer service and customer feedback by allowing your phone number to be a word that is associated with your organization.  MTA might want to consider "1-800-RIDE-MTA," for example.

Improving customer service for mass transit systems is something that is catching on internationally as well. The Bejiing Subway, poised to be the largest subway system in the world by 2015, has adopted audio marketing techniques to reach their enormous customer base. They are now using converged voice, data and video communications, dispatch, and management applications for keeping their network and customers up-to-date in real-time. A necessity in the transportation business, professionally conveyed audio messages allow passengers, crew, and station employees to hear announcements clearly. These Overhead announcements allow crucial information to spread instantly while reaching the most important people (mass transit passengers and employees), while they are in and around the station. In an emergency situation, such as the detection of suspicious activity, safety instructions must be communicated quickly and to as many people as possible-- which makes overhead announcements and Message On Hold effective solutions.

Mass transit has unique communication initiatives. Customized voice prompts, call navigation, Message On Hold, and overhead announcements allow the mass transit riders to hear time sensitive announcements in real-time. These announcements are crucial to the transit function and can be changed as necessary. Rail work, delays, train suspensions, and other problems are a constant for mass transportation services, which creates a need to change audio messages a constant as well. Keeping riders informed is part of providing excellent customer service.  MTA is taking this one step further by consolidating its phone numbers, giving customers a better call experience. Keep in mind the importance of Message On Hold, IVR and audio messages in relation to customer service, especially in all of the hustle and bustle of mass transportation experiences.

Tags: Message On Hold, customer service, voice prompt, communication, audio message, emergency response