If you landed on this page, there’s a good chance that, like most of us, you already hate automated phone systems. That’s okay. We want to give you 3 more reasons.
If you’ve ever ground your teeth in frustration as you listened to endless telephone menu options, accidentally pressed the wrong number, and then sat through the entire process again, you’re in the right place.
We’re with you–automated phone systems are a nightmare to deal with. Maybe Michael Hess demonstrated it best in his article for CBS News:
Robot: “Your call is very important to us.”
Victim: “No it’s not, or we wouldn’t be starting out this way.”
Robot: “Please continue to hold, your call is very important to us.”
Victim: “Um, we already covered that five minutes ago, so I have to assume my call is actually less and less important to you.”
Robot: “Did you know you can get product information and answers to many common questions on our website?”
Victim: “Why, yes, I did! But I wanted to call you, that’s why I’m on the phone and not my computer.”
Robot: “Please enter your account number.”
Victim: “Why? There is a 94.7% chance you will ask me for it again if/when a human being picks up.”
Robot: “I’m sorry, I don’t recognize your entry. Ending call now, goodbye.” (Click)
Victim: “Did you just hang up on me?”
3 Reasons People Hate Automated Phone Systems
It’s hard to deny–most people hate automated phone systems. We’ll explain why below.
1. They give us all the run-around
Why you wanna give me a run-around
Is it a sure-fire way to speed things up
When all it does is slow me down” -Blues Traveler, Run-Around
When someone calls a business, they’re probably looking for specified help. The website FAQ didn’t cover their question or need, and they’re interested enough to initiate a phone call. They are closer to the mouth of the sales funnel than they’ve ever been. This is a critical time for a business. The response must be appropriate and not off-putting to the customer.
One thing that turns customers off right away? Automated phone systems. Just hearing the robotic voice causes some customers to hang up. Others begin getting irritated. When you know you have a question or issue that no programmed response will be able to resolve, it’s frustrating to sit through a menu of options without access to any kind of human operator.
2. It’s seriously frustrating
And when you make customers irritated, angry, or bored, you’re turning what could have been a simple, positive phone conversation into what the customer will remember as a frustrating experience.
“Add to this the frustration caused by dealing with an automated phone line. Technology is a wonderful thing (said the science blogger), and it makes economic sense for companies to automate the time-consuming elements of running a business. And it would be wrong to say automated systems can’t have benefits. But there are numerous psychological consequences for customers using the automated phone system.” –Dean Burnett of The Guardian
3. It makes it seem like you don’t care
A programmed message isn’t exactly personal. Customer service has to be personal to make an impact on the customer! Even if you try to address that by apologizing for the wait or ensuring that a representative will be available soon in your automated greeting, customers see through it and feel slighted.
Michael Hess said businesses shouldn’t think any kind of automated message will count as an explanation to customers:
“Don’t think that saying you’re ‘sorry’ or that all of your operators are busy counts as an explanation or apology. “You” are a recorded voice being played by a machine! Do you think I’m so dense as to not know that this message was probably recorded years ago? By a person who has no clue as to my current situation or even my existence? . . . It boils down to a company trying to placate customers who may have a genuine grievance, and doing it using a machine. That’s how little they think of us; they think we’re mentally inferior to machines. Perhaps they only mean well, but that’s certainly how it comes across to us on the other end.”
If you want to appeal to customers from the moment they place a call to your business, have a live receptionist answer your phone. Our call answering service packages range from 100 minutes to 500 minutes a month and ensure customers hear a friendly voice always picks up your phone.