Updated: 2017.02.22 In this article we cover: Why efficient communication is important for business; Typical communication needs of a foodservice company; How a virtual phone system can help small business owners; MightyCall and Homegrown Sustainable Sandwich Shop: user experience A recipe for accessibility: backstage of foodservice business The foodservice industry is one of the most…
No More Having to Answer for a Poor Answering Service: New Auto Attendants are Changing the Game
Before we start this article off, take just a second. Think about, for a minute, an automatic answering service (or an auto attendant, to use another phrase). Specifically, think about a couple of things which come to mind.
Odds are, they’re rather negative. Maybe the music is annoying. While you are listening to the slow, robotic voice slowly taking its time to talk to you, maybe the tone just gets a little…grating. And when you briefly get distracted and miss an option, you realize you have to go back through the entire menu to find out where it was- and you probably will have to end up speaking to an employee anyway.
The fact is, auto attendants do not have to be this way. All of those genuine, real and serious concerns—boring music, human contact, poorly laid out options—can be solved with newer, up-to-date answering service technologies, like the one offered by MightyCall.
In this article, we will be going over some of the features that put MightyCall’s technologies a cut above the rest. Features that solve the aforementioned issues and solve problems you did not even realize you had. Read on to find out more!
- What is an automatic answering service?
- How does an answering service help the client?
- Is it easy to set up an auto answering service with MightyCall?
- Eliminate the drawbacks of “robotic” greetings
The Basics: What is an automatic answering service?
Answering services are not difficult to understand, seeing as you have probably encountered one (after all, we started off this article talking about what you think of when you encounter an automatic answering service). Press one for this, two for that, etc, etc. You know it, we know it.
What you probably do not know is all the good they do for a business. They help save you big money; it may not be fun to read and may sound a little brutal and capitalist-y, but let’s be honest, saving the salary costs on not needing a secretary is pretty nice. For the employees you do need to hire, it ensures that they will only need to spend their time answering calls which are supposed to go to them. No need to play hot potato with phone calls and waste everyone’s time.
They also ensure some level of stability for a business. And let’s be honest: the most important thing for a business is stability. Knowing what will happen on any given day is critical for success. An answering service ensures this stability because a business owner knows that their computer program will never get sick or need days off. They know that, if someone calls at 9:30 AM on a Thursday, the answering service will direct them to, say, Jim in sales. If they call at 6:01 PM on a Saturday after closing, the business owner knows that this potential client will at least know their hours or what special offers are currently being pushed.
How does an answering service help the client?
This, of course, leads us to the next thing. Since sure, it’s great that a business can be helped, but a lot of things that may help a business may not necessarily help the client. After all, you have to cut costs, but not so much that your clients are not getting what they need.
And again, a LOT of people have negative views of answering services. So how can you alter those views and help yourself while also providing a genuine service to callers?
Using music and audio files
Firstly, let’s talk about the music. With a lot of answering services, the music is the music the provider gives you. If it sounds like you’re stuck in an elevator while on hold for five minutes, well…too bad. But with MightyCall, you can use any sound file you want.
Now, to be clear, you are responsible if you use something copyrighted, but if you want to use your own sound file that you create (or use music or tunes from a free use source- there are tons of them around the internet), then you can- that’s your call (pun very much intended). You can make your business stick out- even make it FUN (or at least tolerable) to be on hold.
And how about the robotic voice? Yeah, that can be annoying, especially since it reinforces the fact that the caller is speaking to a robot. But once again, MightyCall allows you to put whatever sound file you want in there- so you can even record yourself talking through the options, but in any way you want. It can be funny, unique, just…different from the rest. Not one of those robotic voices which are supposed to sound human (but just end up dropping you into the uncanny valley). A real, actual human voice.
Read more: 6 Steps to Perfect Voice Greetings
Flexible call flow
The third annoying aspect we mentioned was the order of things. Oftentimes it feels like what you want to get to is in the very end. But as a business owner (or, hopefully, as a human being) you know what order is best for the customer. If you realize over time that a different order is better, you can change it with a couple clicks on the MightyCall web panel. No difficulty involved, no need to talk to an IT guy.
Now, that said, you will never please everybody. You are going to occasionally get some annoyed caller who is salty that they had to talk to an answering service. Having worked phones before, I can also confidently say you will get some annoyed caller who wants to complain about the weather. By and large, most people are going to be happy that they can immediately be directed to where they need to go instead of having to hop around or wait in some long call queue while a single secretary deals with the five people ahead of them.
Is an auto answering service easy to set up with MightyCall?
It’s insanely easy. On the MightyCall web panel, just go to the Call Flow section, where you will see your Call Tree. You see “Hello, and thank you for calling”? You can change that to your own voice.
If you click the gear (the expanded menu option) on the block after “Thank you for calling,” and you select “Voice menu”- BLAMO, you can customize that too, just with a few clicks. Every single aspect of this was designed with simplicity. The idea that anyone can run their own business is important- and folks being able to run their own answering system is important too.
Just be sure to click save, of course.
While it is not a drawback of the system per se, one of the issues that can come up with businesses which heavily rely on answering services is just that: they heavily rely on them.
An answering service which is designed to give the answers your client needs is one thing. It is super helpful for them to be able to find out when you are open from a machine (with a human voice!) very quickly. It is not helpful to them to be thrown into a maze of “Press 2, Press 5, Press 8, Press 2, etc.”
And this is where a lot of businesses run afoul of what is otherwise a really wonderful system. An answering system is a tool, and just like any other tool it has applications which it is made for and applications which it can be used for in unintended but clever ways. What it is NOT is a tool which can be used in all situations- it just simply is not a catch-all. A hammer is a phenomenal tool. It has a lot of uses. If you use it to bash in a screw, all you are going to end up doing is destroying your wood.
So stay away from the mistake many businesses make: don’t get too clever by half with your answering service. Use it in the way that you would want to encounter it if you were a caller. Make it fun, make it unique, make it tolerable. Do not make it boring, dull, and annoying. The first three are words you want associated with your business. The last three are not.
Press 3 to speak to a sales rep…
So hopefully by now, you are sold on MightyCall’s automatic answering service. A system designed with small businesses in mind, you will be able to move yourself, your business, and your callers forward. MightyCall’s answering service answers the call (again, pun intended) and solves all of those annoying aspects of answering services which you have come to know and hate.
Put on some music or other hold sounds which actually don’t end up putting your callers to sleep, replace that dull robotic voice with your own or something else pleasant to listen to (if yours doesn’t do the job), and put the options in an order that actually makes sense as opposed to one which some IT guy decided to throw together when he put together your current answering service for you three years ago.