Not so long ago, the only way to answer a telephone was to have someone pick it up and speak to the person at the other end. Of course, technology advances and things change, with one such advancement being an automated phone answering service.
The question remains, which is better for most businesses? Automation or a real human? In this article, we seek to provide an answer and help steer you in the right direction.
What is an Automated Phone System?
As the name suggests, when you ring such a number, you’re immediately put through to a recorded message providing you with further instructions. The purpose behind this is to get you to the right department without someone having to speak to you.
In practice, they work quite well. If you aren’t presented with the right options, simply hold the line and you’re usually connected to an operator who can point you in the right direction.
What is a Virtual Receptionist?
Despite the name, a virtual receptionist is actually a real person. When someone calls your business telephone number, they are connected to a call centre where they can speak to someone who can assist them with any enquiries they may have about your business.
This receptionist doesn’t work for you directly but instead provides a service on your behalf for which you pay a fee.
Which is Better?
That would depend on your needs. If your customers don’t actually need to speak to anyone and can obtain the information they need through a recorded message, the automated route is likely to be your best option. If, on the other hand, your business relies on human interaction with your customers, you’re going to want a virtual receptionist.
Some further points for consideration include:
- Automated phone systems are affordable, very simple to use and come with a great range of customisation options.
- An automated phone system may negatively impact upon the customer service experience of your clients. If they want to speak to a human, going through a series of recordings before they can do so may be damaging.
- You will only pay a virtual receptionist for the time they spend on the phone on your behalf. The less calls you receive, the less you will pay.
- Some virtual receptionist service offerings are able to fully integrate with your business, allowing your receptionist to tap into your systems and provide a seamless customer service experience.
- A virtual receptionist will usually cost more than an automated service offering, depending on your requirements.
- Most virtual receptionists will only be as good as the information you provide them with.
Have Your Business Calls Answered
As you can see, there are pros and cons to both options. What you need to do is really dial down what you need from your telephone answering service. In case the services of a virtual receptionist have piqued your interest, Message-Direct are one company who receive positive feedback but there are many others. We would suggest you perform a web search and compare the services that are available.
Whichever route you go down, we’re sure you’ll be impressed with the level of service you find.