Phone calls are an important part of running a successful and growing business so every call should be answered. When call handling becomes too time-consuming for business owners, however, they will begin to look for alternatives to assist them so that other business functions don’t fall to the wayside. The alternatives are typically an automated answering system or hiring an answering service. Let’s look at the pros and cons of each.
Pro: 24/7 call answering
Con: Loss of personalized service
While it saves the business owner from being tied to a phone 24 hours a day and 7 days a week, using call automation leaves out the personalized touch of talking to a real human being.
Pro: Reduced hold times
Con: More hang-ups
Because every call will be answered, the customers will have less time to spend on hold, waiting for someone to get to them. Having their call answered by a computer, however, may mean that the customer doesn’t stick around to get their questions answered or make that appointment.
Pro: No more missed messages
Con: Messages may not be retrieved or answered in a timely manner
Customers can certainly leave a message for your business with an automated answering system but the timeliness of the message retrieval may be a detriment. What if your customer has an emergency? What if all they need is directions to your business location? What if they need to schedule an appointment, today or right now?
Pro: Saves time and money
Con: May cost more money in the long run
Studies show that consumers prefer to talk to real humans instead of a confusing and inflexible computerized call tree that may or may not give them the answers they need. In fact, 66% of consumers switched brands due to poor customer service.
Pro: 24/7 call answering PLUS personalized service with a human touch.
Pro: Reduced hold times PLUS improved customer service experience.
Pro: No more missed messages PLUS questions answered and appointments taken on the spot.
Pro: Saves time and money PLUS offers a human element to customer service, increasing the possibility of more business.
Con: Hiring an answering services may be more costly than call automation but will certainly be an investment in the future of your business.
The bottom line is to consider the bottom line of your business. The future of customer service is offering a quality experience to consumers including engaged listening and a caring voice. Gone are the days where “press 1 for directions” is okay to your customer. Both current and potential customers are demanding more from you. They will reward the business who offers the human element in customer service. Will that be you?