An automated phone answering service at first glance, may appear to be a cost-effective way to manage your company’s inbound call process and customer service needs. Look again, and you’ll discover that what a live receptionist’s automated counterpart can’t do, can and will cost you clients.

Answer Services are a Turn-Off

80% of all business communications occur over the phone.

Countless market research and customer satisfaction surveys have indicated that when it comes to the available customer service methods, people always prefer to speak to live customer service representatives over fighting with an automated system.  In fact, more than 80% of callers will hang up immediately if their call is not answered by a live person.

Also preferred to auto answer services are website-based customer support and live chatting with a customer service representative, although only a very small percentage of consumers actually use these methods, as 79% do prefer to speak to a live representative.

Answer Services are Unpopular

Consumers prefer assistance over the following channels: Phone (61%), email (60%), Live Chat (57%), online knowledge base (51%), “click-to-call” support automation (34%).

Despite being the driving force behind most every advancement or improvement that has been made within any and every industry across the board, technology will never be able to replace the value of person-to-person communication

Auto answer service gripes aren’t simply a product of the digital divide, either. As auto answer limitations aren’t due to “user error”, the system’s shortcomings effect young, tech-forward Millennials just as much as they do smartphone-savvy seniors.

Answer Services are Inefficient

83% of consumers actively avoid companies who use automated phone services.

In order to route incoming calls to the correct department, automated answer services ask callers to choose from a list of options.The majority of companies using automated answer services have a minimum of eight menu options for customers to choose from, which in turn can significantly increase customer hold times, disconnect rates and caller frustration.

Answer Services are Imperfect

84% of people trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation

Imagine this – after spending the last five minutes listening to a long list of menu options in hopes of being connected to a live person, your call regarding a technical issue is routed to the sales department. They inform you that they cannot help you, but they will place you on a “brief hold” and transfer you to the correct department. You spend the next four minutes subjected to a mix of hold music, static and a computerized voice telling you how important your call is to them. And then, silence – you’ve been disconnected.

Calls that are improperly routed, long hold times and dropped calls will leave a lasting negative impression…and that negative experience will likely come back to haunt you.

Research shows that U.S. consumers are twice as likely to share a negative customer service experience over a positive experience. Statistics indicate that it takes 12 positive customer experiences to make up for one negative experience.And 

 

So when it comes to streamlining your company’s inbound call process, remember this: Your final decision should not be based primarily on whether the service is a good fit for your company, but if it will be a good fit for your customers.

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