In the past decade we’ve seen a trend—a shortsighted overreaction—for companies large and small to phase out their telephone receptionist. In fact, many businesses have foolishly chosen to restrict or even eliminate telephone contact with their customers and prospects.
Instead of the telephone, they push callers to other forms of communication, such as email, social media, and even self-service solutions. Unfortunately, most people haven’t liked these options. Many rebel against these alternate means of communication, while others reluctantly accept them out of necessity.
This has put the honored role of the telephone receptionist in jeopardy. Fortunately, telephone communication with real people is making a comeback. Smart companies realize this and embrace it fully.
Here are the reasons why your telephone receptionist is your most important employee.
Make a Great First Impression
When most people call a company, they hope to talk to a real person, but they brace for a recording. They hate recordings. Even worse are the endless button-pushing options, which seldom provide the answers they seek or direct their call to the right person.
Being able to talk to another human being on the phone is the ideal way to communicate over distance. It makes a great impression on callers. Conversely, forcing them to interact with a computer has the opposite effect.
Have a telephone receptionist answer your phone and make a great first impression on callers.
Provide a Personal Touch
When have you heard the phrase personal touch used in the same sentence as computer or recording? Never. Machines and automation may excel at doing basic, repetitive tasks or handling simple jobs. But they’ve never provided a personal touch.
With a telephone receptionist you can deliver the personal touch your customers want.
Listen to Callers
Have you ever tried to explain something to a computer? Though voice recognition software and artificial intelligence have advanced a great deal, trying to interact with them using our voice is still frustrating. Sometimes they don’t understand us, and other times they don’t provide the information we seek.
It’s so much better to talk to a person. People can listen to us. If we miscommunicate, we can clarify. If additional information is needed, a person can quickly request it. And if our call is unusual, a person can grasp this much better than a computer.
Build Rapport and Convey Empathy
When you combine a personal touch with a listening ear, the result is that you can better build rapport with callers or convey empathy, depending on the situation. Machines can’t do that. And even though advanced technology is learning to mimic that behavior, it’s disingenuous. There is no true rapport. There is no real empathy. It’s false, and customers know it.
It takes a telephone receptionist to truly build rapport and convey empathy with callers.
Resolve Issues Fast
For most requests—especially those that fall outside of routine interactions or common questions—a person can grasp the nuances of a situation better, ask the appropriate questions, and provide the right answers fast. Though a computer program can approach the same results, it requires many, many more time-consuming steps. And these steps take time that customers are frustrated to give.
Rely on a telephone receptionist to resolve complex customer concerns quickly.
A telephone receptionist is ideal for many reasons. These include making a great first impression, providing a personal touch, listening to callers, building rapport, conveying empathy, and resolving issues fast.
But what happens when your telephone receptionist can’t answer your phone? There’s breaks, lunches, sick days, vacations, and personal time off. And don’t forget all those after-hours calls. At best your receptionist can answer your phone forty hours out of a 168-hour week, about one fourth of the time.
What about all the other time and all those missed calls? That’s why you need a virtual receptionist from a leading telephone answering service. In fact, if you don’t have a receptionist, your answering service can provide one for you 24/7.
Contact us to learn how Apollo Answering Service can help you better manage your telephone calls any time of the day or night.