In today’s digital age, computers are everywhere. For some jobs they are extremely efficient, but acting as a virtual receptionist isn’t one of them. According to a PwG survey, 80% of respondents would prefer to connect with a real, human customer service agent when calling a business, rather than speak with any kind of automated answering system. Similarly, 71% of internet users wanted a real person to help answer questions while they shopped on a retailer’s website.

This data does not surprise us. Think about the last time you called an e-commerce company, doctor’s office, insurance company, or service provider. Did you enjoy the experience of navigating touch-tone menus and trying to get your questions answered by an automated system? Or would you have preferred to speak with a human customer service agent, who could have listened to your question and provided a prompt answer?

Computers don’t always understand people, but a real human can

Computers or automated answering systems might be able to answer a few common, straightforward questions. But things get tricky and stressful for callers when they have a question that isn’t straightforward, or if they aren’t quite able to articulate it.

Attempting to communicate with a machine that will never understand them is extremely frustrating, and this frustration and anger can quickly result in a lost sale or even a lost customer for your business. These callers will resent your business for wasting their time, and likely hang up and move on.

Having a live telephone answering service agent answer your phone calls when you are not able to ensures that every customer can be assisted by someone who is able to communicate efficiently and provide real answers to their questions.

Live telephone answering service agents provide human support

While there are many things that computers are particularly good at doing, acting as a virtual receptionist and providing the “human touch” is not one of them. Here are four things that a live answering service agent can do that a computer likely cannot:

  • Make a good first impression. Customer relationships often begin with a phone call, and your business only gets one chance to make a solid first impression. When a customer calls for the first time, it’s hard for a positive first impression to be made if they have to leave a message, or speak to a computer. If you and your staff are unable to answer every phone call that comes in, it’s beneficial to have an answering service that can. By speaking to a friendly live agent, your prospects will see that you really care about working with them, and they will appreciate the prompt and professional customer service.
  • Ensure that your customers are heard. Many callers would rather hang up on an answering machine than leave a message, which can result in lost revenue. When a virtual receptionist answers, that customer is more than happy to leave a detailed message for you or your employees. 
  • Provide emergency instructions. In a stressful situation, your customers do not want to have to leave a message, or speak with a computer. A virtual receptionist can bring reassurance and comfort to your callers as they ask specific questions to determine exactly what the problem is and how quickly it needs to be addressed.
  • Calm down angry callers. There’s nothing worse than being forced to navigate complicated menus just to ultimately talk to a computer- especially if you’re already angry. Virtual receptionists can provide customer service to these individuals and reassure them that someone is listening, and their complaints will be addressed.