Technology is great! I love my tablet, I couldn’t live without my Smartphone and over 97% of the work I do is on a computer or telephone. In addition, how did we ever cope before the internet, because it’s an amazing piece of technology that keeps us constantly connected to our clients and their systems each and every working day.
However, there are occasions when we lean on or rely upon technology to do the work for us to make a short term saving, but ultimately this can be costly, because we simply lose opportunities. Human intervention most certainly has its place and the most prevalent example I can share is when electronic invoices are generated by computer, only basing their figures on logical programming rather than on what is simply common sense. This often leads to overbilling and very angry customers.
From the mid to late 90s we also became very dependent on technologies for telephone answering and it got quite normal for many businesses to use a machine to greet and handle their calls. Whilst this is still quite a popular way to handle calls with an auto-attendant asking you to press 1 for this and 2 for that, many businesses realise that the statistics of leaving callers with a machine works very much against them and millions of pounds worth of opportunities are lost each year through unanswered and missed calls.
Whilst the benefits of setting strict telephone call processes using automated telephone technology allow managers to view call routing patterns and call flow reports quite easily and review their tactics, it removes the human touch, common sense and does not measure customer satisfaction.
Yes, automated telephone systems can be professionally recorded and yes, you can guarantee that your telephone will be answered in exactly the same way every time (without fail), but this is not everything, because callers are tired of working their way through menus and failing to reach the people they need to speak to. The statistics prove the majority of these callers will give up and contact your competitors.
So many businesses also rely on voicemail in the hope that callers will simply leave them a message when they are not available. Research shows that this is not the case with over 75% of callers hanging up without leaving their contact details. Yes, you can leave a personal message/greeting on your voicemail and good practice suggests that this should be changed regularly so that those that contact you know where you are and what you are doing. A positive step for those relying on voicemail as an option is to re-record your greeting daily, this allows you to announce yourself, the date and your whereabouts, which immediately tells your caller that you’ve been into your mailbox that day and reassures them that you do check your messages. However, it does not address issues of those that don’t want to leave messages, because ultimately they wish to speak to someone immediately.
Human intervention will always have the edge over any automated process. Those that answer your telephone can be trained and given information that could easily help a caller with their enquiry. Letting your valuable callers go to voicemail leaves them in total control of what they will do next and the real fear is that they will hang up and try someone else.
You can reduce this possibility dramatically by putting a human at the other end of the phone when you are not available to be there. This person will demonstrate professionalism at all times, they will make your caller feel special, cared about and valued. In addition, they will see opportunities to handle enquiries on your behalf for frequently asked questions, they will be able to handle a number of sales enquiries, they can process orders on your behalf and even up sell to your customers and generally ensure that you don’t miss out on opportunities – Does this all sound more attractive than hoping your voicemail will be enough?
Do call us to discuss your message taking and call handling requirements on 01858 439000.