I am amazed at how many of the items we humans employ to make our lives more efficient and easier actually do the opposite. Our society is full of examples. All of our processing power should save us more time and make us more productive; yet, we waste more time than ever on our devices and struggle to find time for the people we love and the things we enjoy. There are constant technological distractions throughout our days, and I marveled at how often my computer likes to freeze solid to really give my productivity a kick. One example that gets on my nerves quite often are the automated phone systems that businesses utilize.
This is fresh in my mind as I literally just got off of the phone. I was trying to contact a local organization to find out if they have a certain product in stock at one of their locations here in Edmonton, Alberta. I got the automated answering service, listened to the menu options, pressed the appropriate numbers, and found that wonderful hold music. I waited for several minutes, the phone would ring and then go straight to hold – no one ever answered or asked me to hold. After some time, the automated service simply said “goodbye” and it hung up on me. At this point, I did something rare: I tried to call the same organization again (a different location however…) and was greeted with the same automated service. Long story short, I ended up hanging up before they kicked me off their automated merry go round for a second time.
Though your automated phone answering service seems to make sense for you, it really may be a greater deterrent to your business than a benefit. You may lose more money in the long run if individuals simply choose to deal with different vendors because of their painful experiences in trying to reach someone who can help them accomplish their goals. It is common to hear about the importance of a first impression in our personal lives, and I tend to think the same goes for your business. In many cases, how phone calls are answered and directed plays a large role in determining how your customers and potential customers view your organization. It may just pay in the long run to have a human answering and directing calls.