How Automated Phone Systems are Hurting Small Business

With the advent of voice recognition technology and automated telephone systems, many customer service processes that were once handled by human beings are now performed by machines. While this progress can result in more efficiency and cost savings, there are numerous risks associated with using these methods.

Before you decide to ditch your customer service department for an automated system, consider these problems:

1. Your customers may not be that sophisticated

Your new automated system may be great for someone who is tech savvy, but to the common customer, it may be frustrating and difficult to use. You absolutely must test out automated systems on your average customer to determine whether it’s helping or hurting their experience with your company.

2. It’s an impersonal communication channel

The internet has drastically reduced the person to person interaction between companies and their customers. By implementing an automated phone system, you eliminate one of the last channels where people can speak to a live person and experience the human side of your business.

If you’re just looking to save money, maybe using a 24 hour contact center makes more sense. That way you can provide live personnel at a fraction of traditional costs.

3. It is impossible to account for everything

Human customer service agents can evaluate situations and respond accordingly. Computers, on the other hand, need instructed on every possible scenario. Setting up an automated system that can accurately address every possible situation is next to impossible.

For example, say a customer’s spouse just died and they’re calling to change information in their account. An automated menu may be able to make the changes for them, but it won’t be able to adjust to the situation and empathize with the caller. It will be the same cold voice that every customer receives.

4. It makes it harder to differentiate your brand

What stands out more: a company that implements a frustrating automated system in order to save money or a company that invests in customer friendly processes that emphasize satisfaction? Since most companies are in the former category, a company that focuses on customer satisfaction instead of cost savings is one that can truly stand out amongst the competition.

When you choose to ditch traditional customer service in return for automated phone trees, you lose the opportunity to reinforce what makes your company different. Make sure to consider these downsides if offering stellar customer service is important to your brand.

Conclusion

There are a lot of positives associated with automation and advanced technology, but there are downsides as well. Before you make a decision to pursue automated solutions and reduce your need for human personnel, take the time to consider the pros and cons. Protecting your brand and image is definitely worth the time.

Author’s Bio: Melanie Cartwell writes for Continental Message Solution, a 24 hour call center serving companies worldwide. They provide virtual secretaries, employee call-in services, and more for a fraction of internal call center costs. Learn more at www.continentalmessage.com.

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