Automated Phone Answering – Horrible For Customers

The very last thing you need in business is a frustrated, disgusted, or angry customer or potential customer!  Yet, the “automated phone answering equipment”  you are thinking about getting installed will be the very first aggravation your clients will deal with.

Some slick salesman has convinced you that automated equipment with make you more efficient, save you time, and money, and make you look more professional.  In reality, it makes you look like that big cable TV company or satellite TV service that simply sucks.

Today, it is often challenging to make your customers happy. Sadly, too many customers feel “entitled” and try to take advantage. We’ve all been there and experienced that frustration.

Listed here are a few potential failures with automated phone systems:

  • Public perception of these systems is negative.
  • Often the “terminology” is confusing. (press 1 for collaboration tech support) or (press 2 for non-warranty technical help) or (press 7 if you would like to hear the menu again) “in case you weren’t paying attention the first three times, or you aren’t smart enough to know exactly which option you need.”
  • There are often too many unclear choices.
  • Even worse is when “your choice” isn’t listed
  • It’s even worse when they don’t work perfectly.
  • You are entrusting your “best first impression” to an oft-problematic machine
  • When things go wrong on the initial answer, (machine pick-up) there is rarely an opportunity to repair the damage.
  • People repeatedly say they want a live person.
  • The opportunity to quickly solve customer service issues is needlessly delayed, or even worse, it never gets resolved!
  • Many times sales are lost as a result of caller frustration at not being able to get to the right person.
  • The automated system enables employees to “distance” themselves from any urgency or immediacy.
  • It creates a company environment where the caller is not the most important.
  • Bottom Line: It helps people hang up!

Today, the only real differentiation you have is your CUSTOMER SERVICE.  Without the most awesome, incredible, problem-solving customer service, you really aren’t much different from all your competitors.

As your author, this isn’t some personal vendetta against technology!  I have, however, experienced many negative calls into a company where the automated system was lousy or in many cases, so bad that I simply hung up and called someone else.  Writing this article was prompted by several recent major frustrations – trying to do business with companies that used an automated (and terrible) system.

It should be quite obvious, that an automated phone answering system for your business can eliminate the cost of a receptionist answering all calls personally.  You might conclude that it’s an inexpensive way to expedite incoming phone calls, but you really need to reconsider. It’s kind of like stepping over a dollar to pick up a nickel!


By Dick Wagner, Co-Founder The CREST Network, LLC                         

 Nationally recognized coach, consultant, trainer, and speaker

Creator of the renowned PREP™ pre-disaster program

Owner of BLOG



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