Who Answers Your Phone?

I love it when a human being answers the phone.

Over the past few weeks, I have had the pleasure of trying to telephone a list of 67 people. I’ve spoken to five of them. In the process I have encountered every imaginable type of answering system. Among them:

– The automated voice gives you options that make no sense–designed to make you hang up–presumably because the people who work there don’t really want to get phone calls.

– I know you’ve heard this one: they give you six options you don’t want, and don’t give you the option you need or the option to speak to an operator.

– The digit maze: You are asked to press this button and that until your fingers ache. AND YOU STILL DON’T GET TO TALK TO ANYONE!

– The automated voice asks you to speak, but rarely understands what you say.

– No answering system at all, and the shock of the phone ringing 10 or 12 times makes you question your sanity and recheck the number. (I guess voice mail is a good idea!)

– The surly human operator who is obviously annoyed that you interrupted whatever he or she was doing. They are particularly put off by any questions you many have about who or why you are calling.

– A really nice human operator who helps you and puts you through to the person you are calling, or more likely their voice mail.

– The actual person you are calling answers the phone (this causes such elation; you sometimes forget why you called!)

The old adage that you only have one chance to make a good impression still holds true, and the person or machine who answers your business phone may be the most important ambassador of your business. If you are leaving the first impression to a system or machine, I say tread carefully.

Do you have a phone story to share? Or maybe a list of important things one needs to consider when buying a phone system for their business? Share it here!

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