Decades ago, voicemail was a big deal. There was something novel about calling a number, letting the phone ring for a while, realizing the person on the other end wasn’t going to pick up, and still being greeted by their voice on the other end of the line. The best part: you could actually talk to them, or at least provide an abbreviated, one-sided version of what you wanted to say. When compared to letting the phone ring 20 times, hanging up, and waiting to call again (and again and again), voicemail felt like magic.
Those days are long gone, to put it mildly. Today, few things are more annoying (or more inconvenient) than getting someone’s voicemail. It’s far easier and much less awkward to shoot someone a text, ping them on Skype, send a social media message, or use almost any of the other technology-enabled contact methods that didn’t exist a decade or two ago.
The same logic applies to small businesses. If you run a company or professional office that isn’t staffed 24/7, you probably have a voicemail answering system set up to handle after-hours customer calls. Maybe it captures a legitimate message from time to time. But how many more messages consist of clicks or mumbled “neverminds”? The bottom line: by entrusting your after-hours inquiries to a “dumb” machine, you’re almost certainly leaving money on the table.
Fortunately, there’s a simple, cost-effective alternative: a telephone answering service. Here are five reasons to get your business off of voicemail and embracing the power of telephone answering services.
- Voicemail Can’t Talk Back
Voicemail systems passively take messages from inbound callers. While this is useful for simple exchanges, it’s not ideal for more complex issues that might require some back-and-forth. Voicemail systems can’t ask logical questions in pursuit of additional clarification. Businesses that rely solely on voicemail are thus left with incomplete or inaccurate caller information, potentially creating problems down-the-line.
- Voicemail Is Time-Limited
Voicemail messages are typically limited to 120 or 180 seconds, and sometimes even less. That might not be enough time for a customer or vendor to explain a complex problem. To ensure that nothing is lost in translation, a staff member at the receiving organization may have to follow-up. This becomes a time and productivity sink.
- Voicemail Can’t Handle Dispatching or Confirm Scheduled Appointments
As a passive, one-way information gathering tool, voicemail can’t actively engage internal employees or customers. In particular, it can’t arrange employee dispatching or actively confirm scheduled appointments ahead of time. Without a telephone answering service, such processes require human employees, and most likely at substantial cost.
- Voicemail Can’t Handle Large Inbound Volumes
The ability of voicemail to process inbound calls and requests is limited by the amount of manpower (or automation) available to assist. Companies that regularly receive large inbound call volumes around specific events or initiatives, such as conventions or new product releases, set themselves up for failure when relying on voicemail to effectively process such onslaughts. Telephone answering services offer registration services for clients who are expecting high inbound volumes, boosting peace of mind come “crunch time”.
- Voicemail Can’t Deliver Messages
Voicemail can take messages, but it can’t actively forward them to the appropriate parties. Telephone answering services can — and through a variety of convenient channels, no less.
Does your company use a telephone answering service?