When your customers pick up the phone and call your business, they’re often looking for fast answers to pressing questions.

Getting your voicemail time after time means they have to wait for a return call for hours or days, if one comes at all. Many customers everywhere are sick and tired of voicemail — they’re looking for live people to pick up the phone. If you can’t be there to answer the telephone and don’t want to hire someone to do the work full-time, you should consider hiring a live answering service to fill the void.

American Express was curious about how important the human touch was to customers, so the company asked them. It seems that as many as 48 percent of callers wanted to speak to a human when reaching out for help. That’s almost half of your customer base — if they were to opt to simply hang up instead of leaving a voicemail, you’d never know just how many opportunities you’ve lost.

Adding the Human Touch

People who are looking for answers or are in trouble naturally gravitate to other humans for reassurance and information, so when potential customers get your voicemail, they aren’t sure what to do next. Do they leave a voicemail that might never get returned or do they hang up and call a competitor? If you’re spending money on marketing to get those phone calls, every single caller who skips the machine is costing you a bundle.

Why they jump the voicemail line is obvious: your machine sends a message. It tells potential customers that you might call them back, but there’s an equal chance you won’t — and they have no way to know how long it will be before you even check for messages. From a customer’s perspective, voicemail is one of the worst things they can encounter when trying to interact with your business.

An answering service, on the other hand, adds a human element to the situation. Instead of being faced with a machine that can only do one thing, an answering service gives your potential customer options — and a reassurance that you’ll call them soon. If you arm your answering service with materials explaining your newest offer or that inform them of the answers to common questions, they become much more than a way to catch more messages. Suddenly they’re an extension of your customer service efforts — and that’s a big deal.

Answering Services Improve Customer Service

Answering service operators can not only answer questions, they can forward emergency calls to the appropriate contact, set appointments and relay messages directly from customers to your cell phone, email or fax machine. Those less urgent callers are generally encouraged to leave detailed messages for you to collect in the morning.

Instead of pulling an endless loop of messages from a voicemail system, you’ll receive a formatted list that includes each and every caller’s contact information and their needs. At that point, it’s a simple thing to prioritize callbacks and give each customer the individual attention they crave.

An answering service can revolutionize the way you connect to your customers by reassuring them that you and your team are working to help them. Imagine how successful your marketing will become when you have the help of an answering service to ensure that every caller is handled in a very personal way.