How to Answer the Telephone

A massage therapist gets a phone call:

Hello. I was referred to you by my doctor. I work long hours at a desk and…

Before the massage therapist hears another word, he is anticipating a series of topics. He already has an idea of which complaints are likely, and which muscle and nerve groups are most likely to be involved. The massage therapist draws on his experience to anticipate how he may be able to help, and is prepared for other questions that an office worker may have.

Is the the massage therapist’s web site equally responsive?

A brochure site is likely to stop at a mission statement, an address and phone number, a list of services, maybe a map and some background on the site’s owner. A brochure web site’s copywriting may not even touch on how the massage therapist would prefer to respond to whatever comes out after “I work long hours at a desk and…”

Bad Bad Brochure

A massage therapist’s web site gets a the call from a prospective customer:

Hello, Internet. Massage was suggested by my doctor. I work long hours at a desk and…

The bad bad brochure site answers:

Welcome to my home page. I have been in business in the AnyTown area for years and years and am really good at what I do. Please call to make an appointment.

Uh-huh. How fast do you think the “caller” hits the back button and asks Google to serve up another search result? What business owner would answer the telephone like that? Why treat web communication like a meeting of robotic answering machines?

There is no reason for brochure site type web content to behave like a so-so automated self-service telephone system. Brochures don’t need to stop at brochure-speak, either.

Good Brochure Sites Give Good Phone

Obviously, web sites have more room for answers than a 40 second answering machine message, but what does that mean?

Web Sites Can Paint a Picture

One quick diagram of affected nerves and muscles can show our office worker that the massage therapist has experience with their most likely complaints. Another diagram could empower independent self care by illustrating good desk ergonomics.

Add about 500 words per diagram page and you’ve invited search engines to the party. Indexable text gives Search Engines a way to cache a path between the searcher and the brochure site’s images.

The impression left on our interested office worker is of a thoughtful, knowledgeable, resourceful and professional massage therapist, ready to offer professional services. On the phone, our massage therapist can give that impression through tone of voice and basic knowledgeability. Online communication can afford to be wider, encompassing more than what is practical over the phone.

Web Sites Can Speak to Multiple Audiences

On the telephone, our massage therapist can only speak to one prospective customer at a time. Online, a full range of customer personas can be personally greeted.

Every business will have their own target audiences, each with a set of characteristics and needs that are beyond the scope of “Welcome to my home page. I have been in business in the AnyTown area for years and years and am really good at what I do. Please call to make an appointment.”

Massage might be of interest to these six prospective customer groups:

  • Office Worker
  • Hunched-over Gardener
  • Overworked Carpenter
  • Automobile Accident Victim
  • Injured Weekend Sports Star
  • Professional Dancer

Each of these customer groups can be distilled into personas who would have their own version of “the call.”

Hello, Internet. Massage was suggested by [referral source or influencer]. I am [a persona that is also a keyword] with [a problem that is also a keyword]. Can you [a solution that is also a keyword].

Can you hear the call? Write sites that can answer the phone!