Automated Answering Services: How Do They Work?
What if I told you that you do not have to actually pick up your device when answering a customer call?
Someone else will. So convenient, right?
Answering phone calls doesn’t require someone to be on the other end of the line. Efficient automated phone systems can do the trick just as efficiently as a live agent – and sometimes even better.
In this article, we will cover how automated answering services work, the benefits of using this service for your business, and why you should invest in this technology.
What Are Automated Answering Services?
An automated answering service or interactive voice response system is a phone system that communicates with callers without a live person on the line. When companies use this technology, customers can get the answer to a question about your business simply by using interactions set up on a pre-programmed call flow.
Automated answering services are very versatile and can be set up for a variety of use cases and scenarios. For instance, callers might be prompted to press 1 to get your business work hours and 2 to get guidelines. According to a survey conducted by Clutch, 54% of callers dial a call to schedule an appointment, 14% ask about a product and 12 % want their billing issues handled.
For small companies, hiring live agents to answer calls during 8-hour shifts is not always feasible. Although live operators upgrade the customer service experience, many calls do not require human interaction. A simple recorded message or instructions on how a customer can retrieve a piece of information usually solves a caller’s immediate need.
How Do Automated Answering Services Work?
Automated answering services are a simple and effective way to direct incoming calls to the right person. It gives businesses a way to answer a call quickly, have the caller respond to pre-arranged menus using their keypad, and then transfer the call to the appropriate person or department.
Notice that when you call a company, either for support or product inquiry, the first thing you will hear is a pre-recorded voice greeting and a series of options like press 1 for customer service, press 2 for inquiries, and so on.
The pre-recorded options branch out to other choices depending on the customer’s selection. This type of system is referred to as a “phone tree“. The phone tree system helps direct callers to the right person or department using the keypad on a mobile phone. In some instances, callers can use their voices.
It’s worth noting that auto-attendant options aren’t restricted to the ten numbers on a phone’s keypad. Once the caller has selected their first option, you can design a multi-level auto-attendant that uses sub-menus to direct the caller to the right kind of assistance.
Automated answering services can also function as a call flow filter. The caller does not have to communicate with a person if the auto-attendant phone system can handle their concern. The automated service can route callers to an employee if they reach a “dead end” and require assistance from a live agent.
How an Automated Answering System Helps Your Business
It is costly to hire an operator or executive assistant. When perks, training, and other expenses are factored in, even low-paid staff might end up costing more than $2,230/month. Automated answering services, on the other hand, are substantially less expensive and provide significant cost savings at an average of $200-$420/month.
Even if you don’t have dedicated staff to handle call routing and management, an automated answering service improves productivity by allowing your team to focus on their strengths so they can more efficiently spend their time on the phone.
Calls routed are filtered and, depending on how it was set up, basic customer information is already registered on the system.
A sales lead routed to customer service is a lost shot. If a customer who has product questions reaches the wrong department or receives incomplete answers from well-meaning employees who are less trained to handle a specific type of question, it can be a cause of frustration and dissatisfaction.
An automated answering system can lessen the number of misrouted calls, thereby helping your employees make better use of their phone time while freeing up time in their calendar for other tasks.
Benefits of Automated Answering Systems
Creates A Personalized Experience
Assigning and redirecting customer requests to different departments is a daunting, repetitive, and time-consuming task for both customers and your employees.
With Automated Answering Systems, you can create a personalized experience for both your staff and your callers. Make a recording of your main greeting, and simply update it regularly to reflect what is going on in your organization. You can create as many departments or menu options as you want. You can even have an after-hours option that allows callers to reach you directly. With this, you will never again miss an important call.
Provide consistent and reliable information to your customers
Answering phone calls often leads to productivity loss and workplace distractions. Automated call systems can prevent this from happening.
When you’re busy working on a project or attending meetings, an answering service can ensure that clients and customers are directed to the appropriate department or voicemail system.
When it matters most to your clients, such as when they have queries or problems with your products and services, they need to know they can count on you.
When customers contact you, an answering service helps ensure that personnel follow stated procedures and provide excellent customer service.
Offer 24/7 customer service options to your customers
No receptionist can be at his or her desk 24 hours a day, so you might have to invest in a backup system or an office phone answering service for times when the receptionist is unavailable.
With this service, certain information can be garnered from the customer at any time of the day– not only cutting company costs but also reducing the staff workload when they become available.
The remote answering service continues to work even if your office is closed for any reason (emergency, weather, or power outage). Even if your staff is unavailable, your company remains “open for business” and you won’t miss any calls.
Reduce Customer Overhead
It takes much management work to hire a receptionist or an answering service with a live receptionist. You will need to train the people who answer the phone, monitor conversations to make sure they’re being professional, and refresh or alter their training as needed. You will have to provide performance evaluations and address any problems or questions they may have.
Recruiting an in-house workforce to answer your calls is costly and time-consuming. A telephone answering service provides the flexibility to scale up or down in response to changing business needs without incurring the costs associated with hiring more employees.
Lessen the waiting hours of customers
Callers who want to speak with a real person may have to wait for a while. Customers say they spend 10-20 minutes on hold per day when they call businesses, which adds up to 13 hours each year. Your customers will not have to wait with an automated answering service.
The primary objective for a small business owner is to expand the company by offering the best customer service assistance that could efficiently address the needs of the clients whenever necessary.