While there are many ways for customers to contact companies, the phone is still one of the preferred methods. Therefore, it’s essential to have your phone line working flawlessly. When designing your phone system, one of the first decisions you’ll have to make is whether you should hire an assistant to handle calls or set up an automated phone system. Both have pros and cons, so it’s vital to understand their differences to select the best solution for your business.
Pros of Using an Automated Phone System
You can get an automated phone system for a very affordable price. Most virtual phone system providers include this feature in their services and offer advanced IVR on subscriptions that cost around $20 per month – far less expensive than a receptionist’s salary.
Employees usually work eight hours a day; automated phone systems work 24/7. Moreover, unless there’s a technical problem, auto-attendants are operable every single day. This means no sick days or holidays.
Obviously, a receptionist can only answer one call at a time. On the other hand, automated phone systems can answer multiple calls and help numerous customers at the same time. Not only that, but by taking advantage of the call rules available, you can ensure the path to a particular department is as seamless as possible.
Cons of Using an Automated Phone System
Loss of Personalized Service
The other side of the coin of using anything automated is that the software is set to always work the same way (at least with current artificial intelligence). This means that all your customers will be addressed in the same way, which might not be the best option. For example, if your company provides an expensive premium service, your customers will probably expect to be treated as a premium customer and get personalized service.
While all calls will be answered, that doesn’t mean people will stay on the line. Have you ever hung up on a robot after spending countless minutes trying to reach the person who’s going to solve your problem? You’re not the only one. This is a massive problem since a hang-up means an unsatisfied customer who will go to the competition at the first opportunity. That’s why setting up a quick and simple call system is essential.
How To Give a Human Touch To Automated Phone Systems
Fortunately, there are ways to improve your automated phone system and give it a human touch. Even the top VoIP providers are aware that automated phone systems still have a long way to go. That’s why they’re always pushing the boundaries by coming up with new ways to make auto-attendants feel more personal while remaining efficient and cost-effective.
Use a Recorded Voice Instead of Text-To-Speech
One of the most basic things you should do to humanize your automated phone system is to ditch the text-to-speech feature and use a voice recording instead. Since text-to-speech uses software to create the audio, it will always sound robotic. But if you record yourself or hire a professional voice actor to direct customers, everything will sound more personal. Some VoIP providers, such as RingCentral, allow you to upload recorded greetings to answer your clients’ calls in the most professional way.
Make the Voice Recording Personal
There are simple ways to make your automated phone system feel more personal. One good example of that is having different greetings for each time of the day. A customer should hear “Good morning” if they call early, or “Good afternoon” for calls after lunch. But you can go beyond this with current technology. For instance, Grasshopper allows you to add specific responses for individual customer numbers. In other words, you can greet them by their name, wish them a happy birthday, or anything else you can think of.
Take Advantage of Conversational AI
Conversational AI allows your IVR to sound just like a person. Instead of asking customers to press a specific number to be redirected to the right department, the auto-attendant asks an open question instead. For example, the automated phone system will ask something like, ’How can I help you today?’, and if the customer answers that they need to speak with someone from sales, the AI is able to understand and direct the call to the respective department. Nextiva is one of the few virtual phone systems offering this option through its advanced IVR tool. It’s important to bear in mind that the robot might not understand the customer due to their accent or other aspects, so always include the option to speak directly with a customer support agent.
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