Using an automated telephone answering service could be costing you sales

Time 8:55 am, May 5, 2015

telephoneDOES your business rely on an automated telephone answering service?

Are your staff too strapped for time to answer calls?

If so… you could be losing potential sales.

According to new research by alldayPA, which questioned 1,000 members of the public, it was found that over half (55 per cent) would take their custom away from companies that relied on automated call answering and voicemails, rather than providing a human voice on the end of the phone.

An even greater percentage (71 per cent) said a business having automated call answering would make them more likely to choose an alternative supplier.

The infuriating practice of having to navigate complicated automated menus or leave a recorded message is considered to be on a par with rude or unhelpful customer service, according to the survey.

When it comes to speaking to companies, consumers place great importance on speaking to a human being, on the person on the other end of the phone answering quickly (at least within 10 rings) and being able to answer basic questions, such as opening times, providing directions or giving an idea of costs.

Customers are more forgiving when it comes to not getting the exact person they are calling for, or having detailed questions answered straight away.  As long as they have been able to explain their query to a person, the majority (62 per cent) are happy to then get an answer later in the day or over email.

David Joseph, board executive at alldayPA, said: ‘Automated call answering is often used by businesses in an attempt to save money – but such practices can often end up costing money in lost customers and sales.

‘These findings show just how much people value being able to reach a real person when they have a query or a problem.  It also shows we don’t expect to have everything dealt with there and then, but that by being able to explain ourselves we are more confident that we’ll get the quality of service we’re seeking.’

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Colin Channon's avatar

Colin is a former editor of Car Dealer. He left the magazine in August 2015.

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