What is an automated answering service?
An automated answering service is a self-operating solution that enables companies to address incoming customer phone inquiries autonomously, without human agent engagement, either throughout the entire interaction or its initial stages. This call-handling method benefits many industries, especially customer support, education, healthcare, telecom, finances, retail, etc.
What does an automated answering service do?
An automated answering service allows for efficient and low-cost management of less complex issues and their addressing through automatic pre-recorded responses and a predetermined series of prompts-guided interactions. The inquiries may be related to product information, payments, order tracking, appointment scheduling, FAQs, or company details.
How do automated answering services work?
This service relies on computer technology to answer incoming calls, play recorded messages, and give callers choices through phone keypad buttons or voice recognition. Additionally, the system can facilitate call routing, data collection, and logging or recording call information for analysis and quality assurance purposes.
Automated answering service strengths and weaknesses
On the one hand, an automated answering service helps improve a call centre’s efficiency, reduce the workload on live agents and minimise costs. It fosters customer satisfaction and loyalty by enabling quick problem-solving in a 24/7 mode. However, when personalised support and a more comprehensive understanding of the issue are necessary, the solution will not fulfil its function while simply not having a ready-to-record answer. In such cases, the option to contact a human agent for further assistance should be available. When combining and balancing both functionalities, organisations can ensure that buyers receive seamless and relevant help anytime, regardless of the complexity of their inquiries.
How to set up an automated answering service?
Setting up an automated answering service requires careful planning, technical implementation, and continuous management. The whole process should encompass key elements such as:
- Selecting the right software and hardware.
- Setting up use cases and scenarios on what kind of answers will be handled.
- Preparing voice information that will be available for customers via phone.
- Defining the call flows, precisely presenting how the callers will be guided.
- Establishing measurable objectives and KPIs for their effective tracking.
- Arranging data collection process and safety measures related to that.
- Enabling monitoring for further enhancements.
Tech-enabled virtual receptionist vs. automated phone service
These two methods of inbound call management have the same goals but differ in how they can be achieved. While an automated phone service refers to interactions with a preset machine, a tech-enabled virtual receptionist involves services provided by a live person who answers the phone remotely, typically not from the company’s office, while being supported with solutions like call forwarding, call routing, or cloud-based telephony.