“Please leave a message.” Did you know that these 4 words could be ruining your business? Customers are tired of struggling through automated menus and being asked to leave voicemails. They want to talk to a person.
A study about the declining use of voicemail found that companies across the U.S. are ditching it completely in favor of other solutions like robust web FAQs, chatbots, and virtual receptionists. Customers prefer these options because they’re faster and more helpful.
Coca-Cola, for example, stopped using voicemail across its entire corporation after research found that just 6% of employees wanted to keep using it and their millennial customers hated it. Instead, Coke now focuses on live interactions and new technology that leaves everyone feeling happier.
Where does your company stand with automatic messaging? Here are 3 ways to ensure you don’t get lost in the crowd.
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1- Try Live Reception Services
First, your company can avoid the dreaded voicemail altogether by using a live receptionist. Live reception services assign one or more receptionists to your company, training them thoroughly so they speak the language of your business and brand.
When people call, they receive a cheerful greeting from a live human being. Although this person isn’t physically located at your company, they are so flawless in their phone skills, your customers will never know the difference.
The big advantage of this approach is that you don’t have to pay to employ a receptionist, but you’ll get all the other benefits of live reception: it’s friendly, efficient, cost-effective, and generates more leads and customer conversions for your business.
2- Zero Out to a Person
If you do use a voicemail or automated answering system, offer an option to press 0 and reach a live attendant immediately. It’s the best way to ensure people won’t simply hang up the phone.
A study by Consumer Reports found that 72% of consumers will hang up as soon as they hear an automated message start to play. Think of all those lost sales, all the lost revenue, and all the customers who just called a competitor.
Make a plan for providing personal help 24/7, every day of the year, because customers don’t always call during your stated business hours. A remote receptionist can provide backup help so your customers can press 0 at any moment they desire.
3- Return Calls Quickly
Whenever a customer leaves a message, ensure they get a call back promptly. Most customers feel insulted if they have to wait more than 24 hours to hear back from a voicemail and 12 hours to hear back from an email.
In fact, research on first-call resolution (FCR) shows that if a company can’t address a customer’s first inquiry quickly, the customer will hold a grudge against the company. On the flip side, if a company’s FCR time is extremely short – meaning the customer begins to hear a resolution within 5 minutes – their customer satisfaction grows by leaps and bounds.
Reliably Standing Out From the Crowd
By following the three steps above – answering live, zeroing out for help, and returning calls quickly – your company will always provide great customer service. And that’s what makes your company rise above the competition – excellent service, every time.