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Why relying on answering machines is a nightmare for businesses
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Why relying on answering machines is a nightmare for businesses

Imagine you’ve spent days, or weeks, researching a product and company to buy from.

Or you’re having a problem with a product or service and you need it resolved as soon as possible.

You call your provider to speak to someone in sales to talk about a purchase, or want customer service to help resolve your issue.

But instead of being greeted by a real person, you’re met with a robotic voice telling you the business isn’t available and asking you to leave a message.

This is the reality of businesses and customers alike on many occasions.

And if this sounds familiar in your business, it could be creating big problems.

Because not only do missed calls mean lost business, if you’re relying on an answering machine to take messages, you could be hoping in vain as the majority of customers simply don’t leave voicemails anymore.

Worse, 85% of customers whose calls you miss, won’t call you back.

Instead, they move on to the next business.

So if you’ve been relying on an answering machine to deal with customers when you can’t get to the phone, here’s just a few reasons it could be hurting your business.

1 – Answering machines remove the personal touch

Despite the many ways customers can get in touch with you today, 60% prefer to call businesses, even if they’ve found you via Google.

One of the reasons they prefer calling is the personal touch you get with talking directly to another person, either about a purchase you’re interested in, or a problem you need resolving.

Asking customers to leave a voicemail on a machine is as impersonal as it gets.

In a day when ‘personalisation’ is a big buzzword in customer service, it’s essential this extends to your phone handling and that you have people available to talk to customers when they need you.

2 – Answering machines can be unreliable

Answering machines have never been infallible.

While they’re much better than the days when you had to record messages on a cassette (which could only take so many messages), digital voicemails can be just as problematic.

The caller could be in a bad connection area and their message isn’t clear, meaning you miss important info and can’t return the call.

You might not get any notifications that you have a voicemail at all, leaving you non the wiser but the customer feeling like they’ve been ignored.

It’s easy to forget you have a voicemail if you don’t deal with it straight away.

There may be a language barrier meaning you can’t fully understand what’s being said.

Or you may lose messages during a system upgrade, or your voicemail could have a major fault and delete the message or fail to save it.

There are so many ways an answering machine could fail that you have to ask if it’s really worth the risk.

3 – They cost businesses customers

In today’s world of convenience, consumers expect everything to be provided rapidly.

66% of consumers expect to have their calls answered immediately when contacting a business, according to Zendesk.

This is why answering calls quickly with a professional tone is an essential part of delivering a good customer experience.

Asking customers to leave a voicemail not only fails this expectation of answering calls quickly, but it leaves the customer wondering when – if at all – you’ve listened to the message and when they can expect the return call.

At least if they’ve spoken to a real person they know someone has listened to them and they’ll be more reassured that any issues are being dealt with.

4 – Customers don’t leave voicemails

While you might think an answering machine is a good answer to missing calls, your customers don’t agree.

In fact only one in five (20%) customers faced with an answering machine will actually leave a message.

The rest will hang up and move onto the next business until someone answers the phone.

That’s a lot of potential business lost, or a significantly large number of customers you risk alienating by relying on a machine to deal with customer service.

5 – They leave customers in limbo

You might think there’s nothing wrong with asking customers to leave a voicemail.

Afterall, you couldn’t get to the phone, they’ve left a message in your machine and you’ll deal with it when you get the chance.

No problems.

Except leaving a voicemail leaves customers in a situation where they don’t know if you’ve heard their message, or if you’re dealing with the issue you called about.

Every hour or day they don’t know what’s happening is more time for them to get anxious and annoyed about when a problem is going to be resolved.

Remember, when a customer calls with an issue, the minimum they want is to explain to someone what’s happened and to know it’s now being looked into.

They don’t get this reassurance from an electronic answering service – which puts you on the back foot.

Remove the need for an answering machine with a telephone answering service

If your business is still stuck using an answering machine to the annoyance of customers, it could be time to make a permanent switch to a telephone answering service.

A call answering service from Face For Business will make sure your business calls aren’t left floating in the wind and are answered by knowledgeable and professional call handlers.

Our dedicated team can also help out by providing other services. Like blocking nuisance calls, capturing caller details, highlighting repeat callers, accurate call transfers, eliminating missed calls and more.

If you’d like to find out more about how a telephone answering service could handle your incoming calls for the better, get in touch today.

13th November, 2023

Posted by Face For Business

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