Dear Phone System … Stop Making Me Look Like a Fool!

by Jeff Wiener on February 24, 2011

Is your business phone system making your company look bad? While I don’t want to overstate, or understate for that matter, the importance of your communications technology, if people don’t find your telephone system helpful and easy-to-use, well, they’ll find someone else’s that is.

So for those wondering if their phone system is up to par, here are some phone system basics you should, or maybe shouldn’t, do!

Many people ask me whether it’s better to have a real person answer the phone, as opposed to an automated attendant. While there’s nothing wrong with an auto-attendant answering your company’s phone system, you have to make sure its done right.

In many cases having an auto-attendant is demonstrably better than the all too frequent cranky receptionist who makes you feel like there are a hundred other things more important to do than answer your phone call; at least the auto-attendant sounds professional and consistent on every call.

Or does it? Not necessarily, and that’s the problem.

The reality is that many users don’t know how to properly employ an auto-attendant, using automated voices that sound like they were by Ingebord speaking with a heavy German accent; and unless you’re calling the German consulate, that’s probably not the voice you’re going for. Remember, that auto-attendant is representing your brand, your company, and your name; you need to get it professionally recorded.

When customers come to Digitcom with exactly this sort of problem, we generally refer them to some excellent recording studios that charge under $40 per prompt, a worthwhile investment for an integral piece of communications technology.

That being said, however, there is no replacing a good ol’ fashion human voice on the other end of the line, so when your message says, “Press 0 to speak with an Operator,” it’s vitally important to make sure there’s an actual operator available to answer the phone.

But perhaps your operator is busy on another call, wouldn’t it be okay to let the machine handle it then? Absolutely not! Nothing says small time business more than getting voicemail after pressing ‘0,’ only the government could ever get away with providing that kind of shoddy service.

Further, I’m often amazed to find just how many companies think it’s acceptable to have a 3 minute hold time when waiting for a customer service representative or operator. IT’S NOT! I mean, unless you’re the only game in town, are giving away free gold nuggets to the ninth caller in, or work for our incredibly efficient Federal government, there simply is no excuse for keeping your customers on hold for that long.

All this and I still haven’t mentioned my biggest pet peeve, communications confusion. Have you ever tried to navigate your way through a phone system that offers an endless loop of options? Press ‘1,2,3,4,5,6 or 7’. You press ‘3,’ lets say, only to be offered another seven options! After awhile you don’t even remember why you’re on the phone! If you don’t know what I’m talking about, try calling Bell Canada or Network Solutions, you’ll get the picture…and a headache to boot.

The bottom line is, you’ve taken the time to assemble the best employees, you’ve met the right clients, and made the right connections, don’t let your confusing German-sounding robot of a phone system stand in the way of growing a successful business.

I hope this has helped you put things into perspective, but if you do have any questions about how to streamline your business communications system, give us a call here at Digitcom. We promise not to make you wait.

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