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Is Automated Attendant Killing My Business? PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Steve Norris   
Monday, 24 September 2007

 A customer’s first contact with an organization is often by telephone. What impression does your company give over the phone, and is it killing your business? 

In any competitive business environment, it’s essential that the first impression your potential client has of your organization is a positive one. That's why it's helpful to periodically evaluate how your organization receives and manages phone contact and identify opportunities to improve the quality and accuracy of your communications. In recent years, many companies have turned to Automated Attendants and IVR's to screen and direct callers, but many others continue to insist on a live person answering the phone. Is your choice killing your business? Let’s evaluate.

For companies that are currently using Automated Attendant or IVR, or for companies who are evaluating the technology for the first time, there are a few important questions you need to ask. However, before you ask yourself these questions, you need to throw your personal opinion out the window for a moment. Your preferences may not be the same as your clients, and it is all to easy to assume that your clients will want what you want. That is most definitely not always going to be the case, so be as subjective as possible. Ask yourself these questions:

1. Who is your clientele? What demographic? (Age, technology savvy, etc)

2. What is your industry doing and why?

3. What is your daily call volume?

4. Do you get an incredible amount of nuisance sales calls?

5. Do you deal with the general public, or only with a few suppliers?

6. Do you use Voice PRI and DID’s to bypass the IVR or AA for regular clients?

7. What is your market niche?

8. What image of your company do you want displayed in the market?

9. What are the financial implications?

The answers to these questions will go a long way toward choosing the right route for your business to take, as well as determine if Automated Attendant is killing your business. Let’s expand on each one of these questions for a moment.

1. Who is your clientele? What demographic do they represent?

Having an Automated Attendant in certain businesses will absolutely shut you down. Do you own a business based on personal service and personal touch? Do you deal with an older demographic who prefers the way “things used to be” in the olden days?

For instance: Can you own a mortuary and send calls through an IVR or AA? No. How about a flower shop? Not likely if you want the business. Ordering pizza? You just lost a customer. They want service now.

Is the information you provide easily distributed without a live person, and is that all your client needs? This is such an in depth question, you have to know the answer to it.

2. What is your industry doing and why?

What are the most successful organizations among your competitors doing? This will often be an indicator of a wise decision based on real market experience, but it should not always be taken into consideration. Was this a choice made based on a larger or smaller company call volume? Do they have the same market niche and similar clientele? Either way, you need to know what the standard protocol is in your industry, because if you follow it, you most likely won’t lose customers by repeating it. However, not following the norm may be a strategic move simply to gain customers who are unhappy with the status quo. Know what your competition is doing and why.


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