How many times have you gone through the following scenario: While working with a customer or engaged on an important call, you receive a new voicemail. You listen to the message, hoping to understand the caller’s name and issue correctly. And when the caller whizzes through the digits of their callback number faster than you can write, you have to go through the entire message again. Once this exercise has been completed, you call the person back, only to get their voicemail.
The telephone is still the most-used customer service channel in the United States (81%), followed closely by email (78%).
With text, email and internet platforms, is voicemail now a thing of the past?
Microsoft’s 2015 Global State of Multichannel Customer Service Report concluded that the telephone is still the most-used customer service channel in the United States (81%), followed closely by email (78%). And with so many consumers still picking up the phone, voicemail may still be necessary.
“Voicemail is a highly available, affordable, easy-to-use tool that can be leveraged in many ways to help businesses manage their communication needs,” says Holly Hinze, director of Commercial Products for Spectrum Business. “Business owners may not always be available to answer live calls, which makes voicemail still a necessary function,” says Hinze.
However, Hinze says that the way businesses use voicemail has changed radically. What once meant a constantly clogged answering machine is now a service that almost always involves the incorporation of more modern functions like automated message transcription. For customers picking up a phone after your normal hours of operation, rather than going to your website, voicemail greetings can keep them apprised of business hours, brief company news items and other critical information.
Many voice providers offer free services that will transfer voicemails into emails.
If keeping voicemail in your business makes sense, there are tools you can use to streamline the time you spend sorting through messages. Here are four simple—and often cost-free—ways to use voicemail more efficiently.
- Have voicemails forwarded in an email. Many voice providers offer free services that will transfer voicemails to emails and send the typed versions and/or audio files to an email address or to a mobile phone as a text message.
- Have business calls routed to a mobile phone. If your business is a one- or two-person operation, chances are that you can’t spend the entire day sitting in one place. Multiple call forwarding options are available from most phone service providers. These options include basic call forwarding, in which all incoming business calls are routed to another number, and selective call forwarding, where incoming calls from certain phone numbers are forwarded to an alternate number. Additionally, a three-way calling option allows an employee to take a call, transfer it to the business owner, and leave the call on the business line.
- Bring others in the loop. If your business has two or more employees who are able to answer calls, enroll in phone features like sequential ring hunting. With this tool, incoming calls ring on one line, and if the call doesn’t get answered, it moves on to another line in a sequential order. This feature can also be customized so that the employees’ lines included in the sequence all share one voicemail box. The sequential ringing increases the chances for an answer, and the combined voicemail box means that the first available employee can provide a call back, instead of the customer having to wait for you or another particular employee.
- Keep the voicemail greeting up to date. A business voicemail should never contain a standard greeting. Record greetings that are personable and fresh to humanize the experience for callers as much as possible. Include the date in your outgoing message—either by day or by week—to show customers and prospects that you regularly check your messages.
Your business can benefit from having a regularly reviewed voice communication plan that not only meets the needs of the business but also keeps up with advances in technology to provide excellent customer service. If you are considering implementing any of these ideas, Spectrum Business Voice includes many features to help your business more efficiently handle incoming calls including voicemail-to-email, call hunting and call forwarding . Our specialists can help connect you with a solution that is just right for your business.
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