Is it important to have a human answering your business phone? Why would it matter if the phones are getting answered either way? Sometimes you may have to remember your own experience as a customer and what it was like to call a business just to have an automated voice answer. You had to go through prompts to get to the right person and sometimes you hit wrong and have to start all over.
While automated phone attendants may sounds great for the business that’s set one up, it’s not ideal for a customer that just wants to speak to someone about a question, concern, scheduling of an appointment, or simply to learn more about your services. It feels impersonal and makes customers think that you simply don’t have time to deal with their phone calls.
Unfortunately, choosing an automated phone attendant to handle your incoming calls compared to having a live voice answer the calls is a huge mistake that businesses often make that could be costing money. Take a look at the top five reasons that a human should be answering your business phone and what it could be costing you to keep an automated answering service.
The human can act as a part of your sales team
It’s actually wise for businesses to treat their phone answerers as a part of the sales team. A phone greeter is the first impression of the company, the person that is going to answer general questions that may make an “interested” customer turn into a “sold” customer, and the person that verifies details to make sure that customer gets their appointment schedule or transferred to the person in the company that can help them best.
Companies that treat their phone greeter like a sales person may notice that taking the position so seriously is a great way to boost sales and get prospective customers to do business with you. An automated voice is such a deterrent that some customers won’t wait to go through the prompts or listen all of the way through until they know which number to hit; they may simply hang up after feeling like they are just another number. A welcoming voice on the other hand can make a person feel good, reflect well on the company, and make it easier for a solution to be made to the reason behind their call.
Automated voices could cost you sales
What happens when you keep an automated voice on the other end? You’re going to end up costing yourself sales. There is no longer a welcoming voice that is eager to get a situation resolved and the call handled promptly; it’s the same generic greeting, complicated menu to follow, and a frustrated caller deciding it’s not worth the trouble.
This new customer was excited to learn more about your company until the automated phone call made them feel unimportant and like it would end up take too long. A company, big or small, should have a human answering the phone full-time whether it’s a staff member or, more economically, a virtual receptionist that can make sure all calls get answered promptly and professionally.
A virtual receptionist is a great option for companies that need a human to answer the phones and their staff just doesn’t have the capability to keep up with the demand. Plus, there would have to be someone to cover breaks, sick days, and vacation time. Virtual receptionists are a perfect solution because there is always someone available to take a call which means that there won’t be any more missed calls or missed sales opportunities. It’s not only more affordable hourly than hiring a staff member, but it’s also going to save you from the cost of providing a workspace, desk, equipment, and a salary with benefits.
Saved time for your callers
One of the perks of having a human answer the phones compared to an automated voice is that it’s saving you and the customer time. You may think the technology behind the automation is saving you time by keeping your staff off the phone but instead, it’s costing everybody time.
Your customers have to wait through the menu to get transferred to the right person or start over if they hit the wrong button, they have wait through a menu of options until they figure out which one is correct, and sometimes you’re going to get a call for someone that was meant for someone else and it’s going to interrupt you. Instead, have your human answer the call and direct the call to the right department or contact, or simply help the customer right then and there.
Instead of your accounting department getting a sales call or your marketing team getting a call about scheduling an appointment, your virtual receptionist can handle the call promptly or get it to the right department with no issue. There is no frustration for the customer or the person getting calls not intended for them.
Rather than having someone listen to the message and dispatching or forwarding the message, time will now be saved and the immediate response time will ensure a better experience for everyone involved.
Shows the caller they are important
What’s worse than feeling like another number with a company you want to do business with? Your customers will feel much more important when they are handled by a human rather than an automated operator. You have a better chance at offering a superior level of service when a live person can help someone promptly and in a friendly way.
Your automated phone answering system will make your customers feel very unimportant and studies show that 20% of callers won’t end up speaking to a human when they call in to an automated machine compared to 100% of customers that call into a business that has a live person answering. Your customers will know right away that your business is about them and not about you and your own convenience.
Automation can hurt an already sensitive situation
When a customer calls in mad because an experience wasn’t up to your company’s standards, an automated voice system is going to make a bad situation even worse. Your angry customer is going to be furious when they can’t even get immediate assistance due to an automated machine prompt that they have to sit through and wait for the number on the person they need.
Don’t amplify the problem and creating a situation that wasn’t so bad to begin with by having technology in charge of your customer’s first impression; have an empathetic voice answering your phones and handling issues promptly, professionally, and with the utmost care. Take away the extra work involved with doing business with you when it comes to your customers trying to call and get helped.
For these five reasons, it’s of the utmost importance that you do away with your answering service and set up a live answering service right away. Hire a virtual receptionist to make sure your customers are helped quickly, efficiently, and empathetically because that professional experience is going to make a huge difference between closing a sale and encouraging your customers to call someone else who has more time for them.