Automated Answering Service Definition

What is an automated answering service?

An automated answering service or interactive voice response system is a phone system that interacts with callers without a real human on the line. The entire phone call, or phone tree portion of the phone call, is done through interactions with a preset machine.

The biggest advantages of automated answering services tend to be that they’re (1) affordable, (2) easy to use, and (3) easily customizable as well. Think of it as akin to your own answering machine at home or on your cell phone. While we don’t use the term “answering machine” as much anymore after 1999, it’s similar to how voicemail works.

Is there a drawback to the automated answering service?

Somewhat, but it depends on what you value. If you are primarily looking to control costs, an automated answering service makes a ton of sense – and it’s very efficient and easy to customize. However, it can run the risk of alienating new customers or existing customers because it’s harder to reach an actual human being, in essence creating a “digital wall” between customer and brand. Some customers may not like that, and some may move on from you. As with any decision about automating a process, you need to balance the human need for connection and ease of problem resolution with your need to be efficient, productive, and control costs.

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