Why Your Business Should Use an Answering Service Instead of an Auto Attendant

Image of a live answering service agent handling business calls rather than an auto attendant

The research is in, the results are conclusive, and how your phones are answered has a huge impact on your business. Do you think your callers prefer an automated greeting and dealing with a frustrating directory or having their calls answered by a live, helpful person?

Whenever new technology is introduced, especially as it relates to automation, it can be easy to get excited about the possibilities. However, it is important not to let excitement distract you from what is best for your organization and the customers you serve.

Take, for instance, the trend of businesses turning their customer service over to automated and artificially intelligent auto-attendants. Studies increasingly show customers much prefer a live answering service, with real people picking up the phone rather than the cold, cookie cutter experience of an auto-attendant.

But don’t think just because you have a live answering service supporting your callers that it means you are not benefiting from the efficiencies of modern, cutting-edge technology. For example, Signius Communications Call Center Services harness a call handling platform built with proprietary technology that U.S.-based phone agents use to provide elite customer experiences. Agents are prompted with a fully customized script that they follow to acquire key information and assist callers for each possible circumstance and situation. All this seamlessly plugs our receptionists in with our clients as if they were operating side-by-side in the same office.

Interlaced technology like this also allows for real-time reporting on calls, which is granted to clients via the secure account dashboard. There, our clients can get a top-level overview of their account as well as dive into more refined analytics to help them make the best decisions for their organization.

When you compare this sophisticated integration of human touch and tech to the limitations and binary options you get with an auto-attendant, it is pretty clear why callers and organizations prefer the former over the latter. This doesn’t even begin to touch on the increase of opportunities organizations gain through developing customer relationships, which result in brand loyalty while actively minimizing negative experiences that result in lost customers.

A few more reasons why an answering service is better than an auto-attendant:

  • Three out of four people said they became highly-annoyed with a business last year when they could not get a live person on the phone, according to Consumer Reports. With an answering service, you can ensure a real person always picks up.
  • Many of those who were annoyed hung up. 67 percent of people say they have hung up when they could not reach a person, rather than talk to the auto-attendant. On the other hand, a live answering service works by connecting people with people, eliminating the annoying extra layers of choices before connecting callers to someone who can actually help.
  • People prefer a real person or using other direct channels for customer service, not auto-attendants. For simple inquiries, a customer’s first choice of speaking with a business is to use e-mail or the company’s website. Their second choice is talking to a real person on the phone. For moderately and very complex inquiries, by far customers preferred method is talking to a real person on the phone according to an American Express Survey.
  • First impressions matter to callers. Customers will form an impression of a business within the first 7 seconds of a call, according to Forbes Magazine. Given that most people prefer speaking to a person rather than a robot, who or what picks up your calls could be the difference between a new customer and a hang-up.
  • Real people provide more options than auto-attendants. The most important factor in creating a good customer service experience is efficiency: having the reason for their call resolved quickly. The most effective way to accomplish this is through an empowered representative who can solve the issue themselves or immediately get the caller to the person that can accomplish this. With an answering service, you get exactly that; highly trained personnel who work quickly and efficiently and who are able to help achieve 1-call resolution. However, with an auto-attendant, you end up requiring your callers to endure sitting through options that aren’t all relevant to them before finally being transferred to talk to a person. And oftentimes, additional transfers are required beyond that, which creates a seemingly never ending loop of customer frustration.

There Is No Contest

While it might seem alluring to use an auto-attendant instead of a live answering service to help handle your customer service operations because you think you are saving money, it is not what customers want; and losing customers is a price you REALLY don’t want to pay. Don’t fall into the trap of equating trendy tech to a savvy strategy. Industry leading call centers like Signius use cutting edge tech too, but integrate it with human reps, giving a business the best of both worlds. An organization that has real people picking up their phones will automatically create a better customer service experience than one that doesn’t.

More articles you might be interested in:

5 Signs You Are Ready to Hire an Answering Service

Why An Answering Service is a Good Plan

3 Tips for Customizing Your Answering Service