Computers are everywhere, they help us do our work and even greet us on the phone, leaving many people to wonder if the human touch really matters anymore.

After all, computers are more efficient, they can work long hours without needing a break and they very rarely ask for a raise. There are a lot of jobs that computers are particularly good at doing, but acting as a virtual receptionist isn’t one of them.

In fact, a 2013 survey by AchieveGlobal found that “not getting a real person” was one of the top three negative behaviors customers experience most from companies. Forty seven percent of people surveyed worldwide admitted that they’re at least annoyed when they don’t get a human operator! In addition, a full 50% of respondents in the U.S. said they’d be likely to defect due to a single bad experience, such as frustration with an automated menu.

It would seem, then, that the human touch really does matter, even in the computer age.

You Can Increase Your Company’s Human Touch

No matter the size of your business, live telephone answering services can make a huge difference to your customer’s happiness. They can provide a variety of services, depending on your needs — and best of all, unlike hiring an employee, a virtual receptionist is only paid for the calls they actually take.

Here are just a few of the ways these services can help you better connect to your customers:

Ensure that customers are heard. Many people would rather hang up on an answering machine than leave a message, creating a vacuum of communication when you or your team simply can’t get to the phone. When a virtual receptionist picks up the line, that machine-weary customer is more than happy to leave a detailed message for you or your employees.

Provide emergency instructions. Sometimes, things go very wrong and your customers need to know there’s someone they can turn to. You can leave specific instructions with your virtual receptionist on handling these emergencies, and they can ask the probing questions a computer never could to determine exactly what is the problem is and how quickly it needs to be addressed.

Reassure frustrated customers. Customers who are frustrated with the product or service they’ve received aren’t going to get any happier when they’re forced to navigate complicated menus just to ultimately talk to a computer. Virtual receptionists can provide customer service to these upset patrons and reassure them that someone is listening and their complaints will be addressed.

Automation has made our lives easier in many ways, but there’s nothing that can replace the sound of a human voice on the other end of the phone when you’ve got a problem. Keeping your customers happy should be your first priority, and virtual receptionists are a great way to do so without spending a lot of extra money.