Telephone answering machines were hailed as the answer to everybody’s problems when they first became commercially successful, back in the early 1960s. However, in the 21st century more and more business owners are coming to the same conclusion: nothing beats a real live human being when it comes to answering calls from prospective and existing clients. The reasons quoted for this sea change in popular opinion are as follows:
- The personal touch – when somebody calls a company to enquire about their products or services, they – not surprisingly – would prefer to talk to another human being rather than be greeted by an impersonal machine. Some people simply feel awkward when asked to leave a recorded message whilst others are annoyed because they feel that they are unimportant to the company they are calling. You should always strive to make your customers feel important.
- Corporate image – if a prospective client is constantly greeted by a recorded message rather than a real person who they can talk to, they may well form the opinion that the company they are calling is too small to be reliable and will look for a better established firm to deal with: one who they feel can trust with their hard-earned cash.
- Reliability – machines can and do go wrong, as almost everybody discovers for themselves, sometimes at considerable personal cost. If you want to be 100% certain that all messages are forwarded to you, a team of professional receptionists is sure to be more reliable than either a conventional or digital answering machine.
If you want to make sure that you do not lose business to the competition, it could be a good idea to ensure that all telephone enquiries are answered by a competent professional and not a machine that has no sense of responsibility to your firm.