Pros & Cons Of Automating Vs. Answering Your Calls
Phone calls are no doubt a critical part of connecting with customers in order to run a successful business. But when answering calls becomes too time-consuming, business owners begin to look for alternatives to help them manage their call volume so they can focus on other important work tasks. Typically, business owners debate about whether to use an automated answering system or hire a live answering service. Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of each option.
When customers call a business that has an automated answering service, they’ll be prompted to either leave a message or receive information based on a variety of options. For example, they might be prompted to press 1 for business hours, 2 for directions, 3 for the service department, etc.
Pro: 24/7 voicemail answering
Con: Loss of human connection and personalized service
While automated answering frees a business owner from answering calls at all hours, voicemail answering lacks the personalized touch that customers get when talking with a live person. And studies continue to show that today’s consumers expect personalized customer service in exchange for their loyalty to a product or service.
Pro: Lower cost
Con: More hang-ups = missed business opportunities
Automated answering systems may cost less than live answering services initially. However, more than a third of callers will hang up if they receive voicemail. You won’t know whether that missed call was regarding general information like office hours, or a lucrative business opportunity with a potential new customer, or an urgent issue with a current customer. Each missed call is a missed business opportunity.
When your calls are answered by a live agent at an answering service or call center, your customers have the opportunity to interact with someone who is trained to assist them with anything from general information to scheduling or ordering to conflict resolution and problem-solving.
Pro: Personalized customer service, 24/7
Con: Takes more time, less efficient
Business owners sometimes think that they’ll be paying for every second a caller talks to a live agent at an answering service, which will quickly rack up expenses. However, most calls are handled in an average of two minutes. Plus, with an answering service that charges a flat monthly rate, there’s no worry about any added expense from an extra chatty customer.
Pro: Acts as an extension of your business
Con: Costs more
When your calls are answered by a professionally trained agent at a live answering service, your customers won’t usually even be aware that they’re speaking with someone who’s not in your office. Live receptionists answer with the name of your business and are equipped with scripts or appropriate information to represent your business as if they’re part of your staff, which essentially they are. The operator will know which calls are considered urgent and which of your staff members needs to be alerted immediately.
Many business owners assume a live answering service will be a strain on their budget. They’re often surprised when they find out that live answering service plans start as low as $29.95 per month. Plus, a team of answering service receptionists are available to handle calls 24/7, 365 days a week.
Additionally, answering services have a variety of options for how to manage your calls, which affects pricing. You can choose certain hours that you’d prefer incoming calls to be answered by voicemail, with the option that the caller can press a number if they need to talk with a live agent immediately. The customized plan you choose depends on the unique needs of your business and your customers.
If you’d like to learn more about how a live answering service can make your customers feel heard and valued, contact Voice Link of Columbus, Inc. Customized communication solutions, secure HIPAA/HiTech messaging, and appointment scheduling can save you time and money while improving your level of customer service. We offer flat rate month-to-month service agreements, with no hidden fees, to meet the needs of any business regardless of size, 24/7, 365 days of the year.