Many companies – especially those operating under tight budget constraints – may turn to voicemail as a cost-effective way to field customer concerns when an in-house staff member cannot reach the phone.
However, while voicemail may prove cost-effective immediately, using it as a substitute for a live person could yield an enormous fiscal loss for a company.
According to a 2005 study, when callers are faced with voicemail rather than a customer service representative, they will most often hang up rather than leave a message. This means that seven out of 10 times that a call is not answered, potential business may be lost, indicating that voicemail is anything but a cost-effective solution.
For example, according to a feature on public relations specialist Michael Sitrick for Inc.com, failing to answer one call resulted in the loss of a large project for his company. Sitrick recounts how a lawyer once called to bring the company business on a Sunday. With no one to answer the call though, the lawyer ultimately went with a competitor, though Sitrick was his first choice.
"The next day, I hired an answering service," Sitrick said.
Considering the fiscal damage that a business may encounter for failing to answer even a small number of calls, a business' decision maker would be well-advised to discard voicemail as a viable customer service solution.
It would, in fact, serve to a business' great benefit to instead outsource customer service needs to a third-party answering service. Great answering services are only marginally more expensive solutions considering a company will only pay for time the service actually spends on the phone with a business' customers. And with the amount of business that will likely be generated by being available for every person who calls, answering services should be recognized as a most cost-efficient and productive alternative to in-house customer services.