Cutting corners in customer service is not uncommon, but it’s also not without consequence. Making your customer experience as enjoyable, simple, and efficient as possible is not only in the best interest of your customers, but also the livelihood of your business.
It all starts with how your business phone is answered. If a live person isn’t answering your phone, you’re losing customers. There are numerous statistics that back this statement and we’ll cover some of those in this blog post. We’ll also give you a few tips for ensuring all your calls are answered by a live person (read: No machines or automated systems).
If a Live Person Isn’t Answering Your Phone, You’re Losing Customers
Seriously – does it really matter if an automated system picks up your business calls instead of a real human being? Both options result in the customer making contact with your business, and using an automated system certainly seems to save time. Why would this be a decision that would cause a business to lose customers?
The answer is simple. In one word, the thing most customers absolutely hate about automated phone systems is the frustration that goes along with using them. Frustration wrecks the customer experience and makes them think negatively about their interaction with your company.
Why are automated phone systems frustrating? Let’s ask Dean Burnett of The Guardian, who has studied the way consumers react to automated phone systems versus dealing with a live person.
“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
Why don’t customers like dealing with automated phone systems?
There are more reasons automated phone systems are frustrating, including the impersonal vibe they impart to customers and being inefficient.
Frustrating to customers – Michael Hess of CBS News wrote a funny article about the frustration of dealing with automated phone systems. He included an excerpt from his experiences with an automated phone system (which ends with him getting hung up on by a robot). All jokes aside, Michael understands the reason automated systems are frustrating to customers: They can’t respond in a human way to customers, and the lack of proper response is frustrating.
Robot: “Did you know you can get product information and answers to many common questions on our website?”
Michael H.: “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.”
Michael H.: “Why? There is a 94.7% chance you will ask me for it again if/when a human being picks up.”
Many customers need help with a quick question or just need something verified or confirmed. Waiting to hear a laundry list of menu options – none of which seem to fit – and still eventually ending up on the line with a live person who can help is inefficient. Instead, have a live person answer the phone and cut out the inefficiencies.
Unfortunately, choosing an automated phone system to handle your incoming calls compared to having a live voice answer the calls is a huge mistake that could be costing your company money and driving customers away.
How can you ensure there’s a live person answering your phone?
Ensuring there’s always a real human being there answering your phone may be more difficult than it sounds.
If you’re the owner and operator of your business, there’s a very good chance that you’re often too busy to grab the phone when it rings. Even with a small staff, ensuring someone is always available to pick up the phone when it rings may be challenging.
That’s why many small businesses rely on the use of a virtual receptionist, a remote receptionist who has your phone calls routed to them and fields each call according to your instructions.
Dealing with virtual receptionists can be tricky, as some work on a freelance basis and may not have proper training and experience to handle professional phone calls. When selecting a virtual receptionist, always look for an A rated BBB provider like Conversational.
Our virtual receptionists work full-time for us and are screened, trained, and thoroughly vetted before joining our team. Because they work full-time for us, you can hire them to handle your calls for as little or as much time as you need per month. Our plans range from 100 receptionist minutes per month to 500 receptionist minutes per month.
To learn more about getting a virtual receptionist and ensuring there’s always a live person answering your phone, please check out our Virtual Receptionist Pricing page.