Automated Phone Service

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Sometimes I forget how annoying automated phone service is until I make cold calls or try and make appointments with new contacts. In the 1980’s part of my job involved booking a full week of visits to potential customers for a co-worker. I would cold call cement and steel producers as well as other manufacturing facilities and book appointments primarily with maintenance managers. The task was not difficult, and I was able to book these appointments with relative ease. Now fast forward to 2010 and trying to connect with a person on the phone, especially a new contact, is like winning a lottery. So many companies now use at least a partially if not fully automated phone service. The automated phone systems are a maze of button pushing which often includes the spelling of the required person’s last name and ends with their voice mail box. Don’t be fooled. If you leave a voice mail message for someone to return your call, this is in most cases a dead end.

However, some of the automated systems will eventually connect you after a number of manipulations to reception or an operator which is good news. These people should be treated with the utmost respect and courtesy as they are the gate keepers of the company and can be of invaluable assistance in providing contact information as well as the correct spelling of names to assist with the button pushing.

The selling of automated phone systems to companies is big business. The systems are especially promoted to small companies starting up which have limited staff and large companies which are looking to handle the volume of incoming calls. Phone systems are also available with live answering services instead of automation. These live systems are touted to increase sales as well as customer service and retention. This would appear to be a given that having a person to speak with would be more advantageous for business, but in spite of this preference; most companies have gone to automated systems.

Customers who phone Albarrie and need to leave a message are amazed when they are told they can actually leave the message with a person and not a machine. I believe our management has shown excellent business sense in not buying into an automated phone system.

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