This blog has mentioned the value of a well-staffed phone answering service several times in the past. All sorts of companies in various sectors have much to gain from taking advantage of the elements specific to that type of customer support system. But some clients still prefer access to a live call center employee, too, and internet businesses ignore this fact at their own peril.
Some support lines, particularly tech support for big providers, have attempted in recent years to emphasize "smart" automated operators who can then redirect based on verbal commands. The fact that these have not replaced the ease and recognition of the live caller should ably demonstrate how important their presence still is in modern commerce.
A recent Florida Times Union/Jacksonville.com article detailed multiple cases of customers being unsatisfied with an online company's phone support (or increasing lack thereof). Although several internet businesses, especially smaller ones, shirk the answering service for various reasons, the result can be less consumer faith.
One of the online shoppers discussed in the article, a man named Herb Kennedy, expressed his personal preference for the live customer service call.
"There's no replacement for human interaction in customer service," Kennedy said. "You could resolve so many problems just by getting that reassurance with a human being. It shows 1) that you care and 2) that they're going to address your problem. Emails are impersonal; you can't detect tone in an email." Kennedy encountered difficulty when he tried to replace a pedometer he bought online and could not contact the store over the phone.
It may be true that a virtual answering service can also offer employers a variety of benefits, but that should not override the need for an informative and properly trained call center. A balanced approach could help even small businesses devise a system that pleases both their customers and their budget