When it comes to customer service, in our tech-savvy society, we can now expect new technologies to assist customer service teams in reducing their workload and improving overall efficiency. For example, chatbots are one way customer support teams are using tech to their advantage.
Another way is through an automated attendant who answers calls instead of a customer service representative answering it straight away. For busy customer service teams, an automated attendant can make a very big difference.
So, what are the advantages and disadvantages of using an automated attendant in comparison to a customer service rep answering the call?
With an automated attendant, also known as interactive voice response (IVR), businesses can reap a myriad of benefits of which include (but are not limited to):
- No missed calls
A big problem for the customer service department is that as soon as it starts getting busy, with calls coming through constantly, there is the possibility that calls may be missed. This may be especially true for smaller teams who do not have enough representatives to cover the amount of calls that they receive. IVR fixes this problem as it automatically answers each and every call that comes through 24/7.
- Not just for customer service
Although customer service has been mentioned a lot in this blog regarding IVR, using an automated attendant is not only beneficial for the customer support department, but also for businesses in general. As such, businesses should leverage platforms such as Microsoft Teams. Whether that’s for B2B communication, B2C communication, or communication between employees, Microsoft Teams telephony is the new way of collaboration on Microsoft Teams.
IVR allows for a personalised caller experience – it enables the caller to navigate through options via keypad selection, and depending on what they have pressed, their call is routed to a specific department or personnel for their query. For use in customer service, this can be extremely helpful as it directly routes customers’ calls to the appropriate advisor. This solves business inefficiencies and may improve customer satisfaction and experience.
Unfortunately, using automated attendants also comes with a few drawbacks that you should take into consideration. In particular, some disadvantages of IVR are:
- Loss of human connection
Many people prefer talking to a live person instead of an answering machine. Using an automated attendant makes callers lose out on a human connection that simply cannot be replicated with IVR. With a live person, human feelings such as understanding and empathy can be fostered, whereas, this is not possible with an automated attendant. Customers want to feel heard and listened to.
- Poor customer experience
One study conducted in 2019 found that 85% of customers abandoned at least one call because they reached an automated attendant. This shows that perhaps an IVR may actually contribute to poor customer experience. This could possibly be due to the fact that customers have to listen to a range of options before pressing the number that their query relates to. This can confuse customers and instead of having their questions answered instantly, they are waiting for the automated attendant to list out the available options again.