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Smarter Office Blog

The Importance of Speaking to a Live Person

How You Can Improve Your Customer Service with Virtual Receptionists

No one likes talking to machines. This is true whether it’s an automated system that requires complex navigation to get to the applicable department or it’s reaching someone’s voicemail. In this age of technology and impersonalization, one of the number one complaints by customers is still not being able to speak to a real person about their needs or inquiries.

Benefits of a Live Person

Whole websites, articles and forums exist that tell people how to bypass automated systems to reach a live person when calling a company. Why? There are many reasons why people hate dealing with these systems. For one, they’re often confusing. Press the wrong option, and you’re likely to get stuck in an endless loop of unhelpful choices. Another reason is that most people feel like they’re getting better service when talking to a real rep – even if their end-result is the same.

Automated systems work fine for some types of queries. For example, if a person just needs their bank balance, then the automated system is perfect. If their debit card, however, has been stolen or hacked, they want to quickly reach someone who can help them. They don’t want to wait 20-30 minutes to connect with someone.

If a person doesn’t get their needs quickly met, they may get angry and express that anger in public via forums or social media. This creates bad PR for the company and may drive some people away from ever using a company’s products or services.

How Can a Virtual Assistant Improve Customer Service?

Small businesses often don’t have the luxury – or capital – to hire someone full-time to answer their phones. Instead, they do rely on their voicemail quite a bit, and hopefully the person who left the message will be amenable to a call back later. Small businesses, however, now have an alternative, cost-effective option that doesn’t involve either a full-time, in-house receptionist or advanced voicemail options. Virtual receptionists offer the best of both worlds.

Virtual assistants are trained to do a variety of office duties, including answering the phones and assisting customers with certain needs. For a small business owner, a virtual assistant can accept calls when the person is on the road, doing work or meeting with customers. Virtual assistants can take messages and only pass along those messages that need to be taken care of immediately.

Virtual assistants ensure that someone is always answering your phones – no more customers having to leave a message or deal with an automated system. Virtual assistants are extremely cost efficient since they only work when the phones ring. Unlike traditional customer service reps or assistants, a business isn’t going to pay for health insurance, taxes, sick days or office downtime.

According to Intelligent Office, most clients only pay a few hundred dollars a month as opposed to the thousands of dollars a month that a full-time assistant requires. Additionally, business owners don’t need to worry about hiring, firing or recruiting.

Providing a consistent good impression to your current and potential clients is a must. Avoid letting them believe that the business is unresponsive or doesn’t care about them because the company doesn’t have a person answering the phones. Get a virtual assistant to take your calls, and eliminate the customer voicemail and automated system frustration.