High Touch Industries Where High Tech Wins the Day
Lily Tomlin is well remembered by the baby boomer crowd as Ernestine, the enthusiastically incompetent telephone operator from the television show Laugh-In. And, while you can still dial “O” for operator, when you do, it won’t be a live person you connect with, it will be a series of recorded prompts that greets you. It’s a process that works well, not just for telephone companies, but for all types of businesses—large and small—literally around the globe. And, while there are still plenty of folks who will tell you that, “I’d rather speak with a real person,” the reality is that this is not always true. We’ve learned this first-hand through interactions with customers in some very “high touch” industries. Healthcare is one example.
Healthcare Experiences Can be Damaged by Dispassionate Receptionists
Medical clinics and doctors’ offices seem like logical users of live answering services; you have likely had the experience of interacting with one of these live operators when you’ve called for an appointment or had a medical question. How positive have these live interactions been? Not very positive at all according to some of the clients we’ve been talking with recently.
Typically these positions are not highly paid and experience very high turnover, meaning that it’s hard to develop quality staff. Too often, as you’ve likely encountered when making such a call, the attitude of the receptionist on the other end is disinterested, dispassionate and hollow. Not exactly the type of patient-focused experienced most medical professionals want to provide. Even when a patient has had a great interaction with a doctor, nurse or other clinical professional, that warm feeling can be quickly outweighed, or at least neutralized, if they get poor customer service over the phone at the same office.
Apartment/Hospitality Management Interactions Can Lead to Lost Business if Not Well Handled
Another industry where it would seem that the high touch personal connection would be in big demand, is apartment or hospitality management. This is big business, with apartment community management offices dealing with high call volumes. As in healthcare, the staff fielding these calls have a similar profile—low pay, low interest, high turnover. Common complaints from residents, or potential residents, are that the interaction is impersonal, the person on the other end merely takes a name and number, with frequent requests for “can you spell that?,” “could you repeat that?,” “can you spell that again?” Not a pleasant experience.
As we’ve heard many times, the live receptionists in both medical and rental industries often fail to accurately take down information or record and deliver messages correctly.
Big Benefits in Automation Save Time, Money and Customer Relationships!
Automated systems such as those provided by AccessDirect have more capability and are much, much less expensive than live answer options. And, perhaps more importantly, the irritation factor is lower. Here’s a recent example from the medical industry.
A potential customer, a mental health office, contacted us about services that might work for their one doctor office that serves more than 1000 patients. They had been staffing the phones with one live receptionist, with an answering service to pick up any calls missed by the receptionist. Not only did they feel the current process was costly, they also worried that they might be losing business when calls were missed.
So, we offered a free demo for two weeks to help them determine whether an automated answering service might better meet their needs. The automated service provided the ability to manage messages in an online interface through several different mailboxes, depending on the nature of the call. The result: a resounding “yes, this is much better!” They decided to come on board with AccessDirect halfway through their two week trial.
Already, this client is seeing a drop in the cost of managing phone calls of thousands of dollars each month, but they’re also picking up new business that they believe may have been missed in the past.
Is an Automated Phone System Right For You?
Medical and doctors’ offices and apartment community management offices are just two great examples of how a high touch operation can fail to deliver the results needed for exceptional customer service. For these organizations, and others, high tech can be the better option!
If you conduct a significant proportion of customer interaction via the phone, taking greater control over this crucial touchpoint can help dramatically improve your overall customer service experience, reduce costs, and potentially bring in new business by providing a consistent, quality controlled interaction, every time. Learn more here.