You know the old saying, “The phones are lighting up”? It probably elicits very different visuals depending on your age. A younger person might think of their smartphone screen illuminating from dormant black to a retina-display of brilliant color. If you go back a few years, you might think of one of those black handsets with the small blocky displays blinking. Some of us older folk remember those old business phones from the 1980s with the little row of blinking blocky buttons. Regardless of your era, we’ve always wanted the phones to light up because it means business is good. The logistics, however, are usually a little more complicated. If you’re running a small business or giving it a go as a literal one-man operation, just a handful of calls coming in at once can stretch you thin. How do you deal with it?
In this article, we cover:
- The importance of answering the phone.
- What is an IVR?
- Why YouMail Auto-Attendant is better for small businesses.
Another cliché goes, “Strike while the iron is hot.” While the visuals on that one would take us even further back in time, the point we’re trying to make here is that coming up with a great idea is only the beginning. Successfully selling it is a whole other ballgame that cannot be overlooked. Modest businesses mustn’t overlook the importance of customer experience. Consumers will assume the larger the business, the more impersonal their interactions will be, and will afford them rope. Small businesses are rarely given as much leeway. The smaller you are, the greater your responsibility to deliver white-glove treatment and a personal connection.
Keep in mind that 32 percent of customers will switch to a competitor after just one bad customer service experience.
Take interactive voice response (IVR) systems. IVRs are those complex phone systems we must navigate when we call in for support. There are guides posted all over the internet to help people reach a live person, whether it be on a call to the IRS, the unemployment office, or the bank. For many, the moment we realize we’re in for a monotonous series of touch-tone options delivered in robotic fashion, we know it’s time to find a comfortable seat because we’re going to be here for a while. And heaven forbid we trip up along the way by pressing the wrong button and have to call back to start over.
Oftentimes we’d rather suffer through product malfunction than jump through the hoops.
Then there are the IVRs that use voice recognition. Not only can it be frustrating attempting to voice your problems to a disembodied AI, but you feel like an idiot trying. On the rare occasion you’re given a choice, how often do you opt instead for touch-tone navigation? It’s Sophie’s choice.
You’re not the only one that feels this way. Consider that 43 percent of consumers would pay more for greater convenience, and 42 percent would pay more for a friendly, welcoming experience. In other words, those valuable souls through it, especially at the moment when they’re so hot for your product or service they’ve taken the action to dial you up.
And for as old as IVR technology is, it can be quite expensive — cost-prohibitive even, for a burgeoning business. But how do you stay responsive to callers without breaking the bank and alienating them?
If you’re unable to answer an incoming call, Auto-Attendant from YouMail will. Your callers receive a professional greeting that offers smart routing options. If they want a live body, you can have them press 0 to get connected to your assistant. Or, have them press 4 for your personal line. YouMail routes them to the appropriate number. You can set up a different forwarding number to each digit 0 through 9. Customers can connect directly to whomever they’re trying to reach with minimal touch-tone surfing. This is also a significant improvement on traditional call forwarding that only allows a single phone number to be set.
And not least of all, YouMail is far more affordable than an IVR.
YouMail Auto-Attendant is only available on YouMail Professional plans. We have a plan for every stage, from solo to growth to small business. You can dial-in your Auto-Attendant in minutes in the settings menu by following the instructions here.
So now that your idea has turned into a plan and that plan has turned into a real thing that people actually pay money for, don’t get caught flat-footed. Be sure you’re ready to answer the call when those phones start lighting up.