I hate automated attendants. Everyone does (including your customers).
(In case you’re reading this from under a rock, the automated attendant is a computer answering the phone instead of a human, and giving you a bunch of push one, push two options that make customers mad.) There’s a big difference between automated attendant (that everyone hates) and Voice Mail (that only salespeople trying to make a sale hate).
Voice Mail is the technology that allows for a message to be left in an individual’s personal recording mailbox, if they are unable to answer their phone.
So, if everyone hates Automated Attendant, how can you use it to BUILD your business? How can you use Automated Attendant to BUILD relationships with customers?
Enter Andy Dinkin. “Easy! Never use it on customers!” exclaims Dinkin. “Use automated attendant for employees and vendors. The purpose of an Automated Attendant is to route callers to an extension without human intervention. As you know, it is misused by companies that answer every call this way. These are the same companies that claim to be in the business of meeting customers needs.”
Andy Dinkin, is the CEO of Charlottebased Tegra Telephone Systems. He’s an entrepreneur dedicated to better internal and external communications through the proper use of the telephone.
Comeon Andy, what about the money? “I’m on a quest to be the best. I figure if I achieve “best” at what I love to do, the money will just show up.” Good figuring. Now I’m interested in learning more.
“The best phone systems have call processing capability,” Dinkin continues. “This enables a company to utilize both Voice Mail and Automated Attendant technologies.”
IMPORTANT: What distinguishes a good call processing application verses one that will cause your customers to call your competitor has nothing to do with technology and everything to do with implementation.
Below is Dinkin’s method of how to integrate these technologies, and build your business at the same time!
“I have called this the Andy Dinkin Back Door Automated Attendant application,” says Dinkin with pride. “Here in the south, people use the back door if they know you well. Your employees, and your vendors (all noncustomers) should use your business back door.”
Problem: ACME Manufacturing Company is giving poor response to first time callers and customers because their receptionist is inundated with calls. The owner of the company is from the school of “I hate voice mail” and “I’ll never have automated attendant”
BUT closer review reveals that a large percentage (42%) of incoming calls are not from customers, but from their own suppliers, personal calls, vendors, and their own employees calling into the office to check messages, and taking the receptionist away from answering calls while she is reading them off.
(What percentage of your calls are from people who don’t need personalized phone answering? If you have no idea welcome to the club. Most businesses have never taken the time to find out.)
Solution: ACME will continue to have their main line (and a number of subsequent rollover lines) answered by a live human the receptionist. For those repetitive calls (employees and vendors), a secondary, or what I call the “backdoor” number, would answered by an automated attendant, and directed to the person requested or their voice mail.
“Since the “backdoor” number is a nonpublished number, only know by those you decide to give it out to, your customers will be answered by a warm human voice during normal business hours.” says Dinkin. “Those that have the “backdoor” number will also have been given the extension number of the party(ies) that they call frequently, and will be able to access that person without taking the receptionists time. In the event that the person they dialed is not available to take the call, it will be forwarded to a personal voice mail box.”
Note: At anytime, a caller can dial “0” and be connected with a live
person, and by calling the backdoor number, a company employee can also
check their own messages without going through the receptionist.
“What has been created in the backdoor automated attendant (BDAA) application is a situation that actually improves customer service by eliminating everyday repetitive calls,” says Dinkin. “Now the receptionist has more time to deal with customers and prospective customers.”
Triple win The noncustomer caller gets through faster, the customer has more time to be helped, the company is perceived by the customer as “ontheball” and caring.
“This application works,” exhorts Dinkin. “Just ask one of my many ‘I hate Voice Mail’ voice mail customers.”
There is a secret percentage formula to determine if BDAA is right for your company: Every % of calls your company receives from internal people (your employees) or vendors is a percentage of time not spent giving attention to the person who pays the phone bill and the salaries of the people who answer it? THE CUSTOMER, and his cousin the prospect.
“The only question you need to ask yourself is the obvious one How important is it for me to spend quality time with my customers so that they like me and order from me instead of my competitor?” challenges Dinkin. “Then get a BDAA system installed as fast as you can.”
FREE GitBit… take the test to see if BDAA is for you Just go to www.gitomer.com click FREE STUFF then GitBit register and enter the secret words, “BACK DOOR”.
Jeffrey Gitomer is the author of The Sales Bible, and Customer Satisfaction is Worthless, Customer Loyalty is Priceless. President of Charlottebased Buy Gitomer, he gives seminars, runs annual sales meetings, and conducts training programs on selling and customer service. He can be reached at 704/3331112 or email to firstname.lastname@example.org
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