There are a number of situations in which the phrase “straight-to-voicemail” is not a dirty term.
One primary situation is the daily switch from when your office is open to when it’s closed. Your office hours demarcate the times when you are, and when you aren’t, available to customer concerns. It’s a simple concept with a lot of power.
When a business takes advantage of voicemail and strict office hours – rather than taking every call at all hours – its employees can be more productive and present a more professional image.
Not yet convinced? Read along to take a look at how you can better use your Voicemail Service.
Say it aloud: Office hours are a precious resource.
If you’re answering calls outside of operating hours, you could be doing yourself a disservice. Setting the boundary of office hours helps employees and customers know what to expect from your fine establishment. Leaving that boundary open can result in confusion.
Answering Calls at Home
As an example, consider that the storefront of your small business closes at 7 p.m. each day. Then think about what happens when you answer a workplace-related call, at home, from your personal smartphone at 9 p.m.
You’ve let that customer cross the boundary of your business hours. They’ve also stepped into your personal time.
While this isn’t the end of the world, it could first upset your work-life balance. Then it could establish a pattern where you expect yourself to answer calls from home. And soon, customers begin to expect it too.
Before long, office hours mean little because they no longer start or stop employee-customer engagement.
It Can Wait Until Morning
Most of the time, the calls you answered at home can wait until the morning.
- If you’re answering questions about whether or not you have a product in stock, you won’t be able to deliver it until the next day anyway.
- If callers inquire about your return policy, you’ll need in-office resources to handle their concerns.
- And when callers ask about your hours of operation (!), your Automated Attendant could have easily taken over.
Voicemail and Auto Attendant Will Filter Calls
For nearly all your situations, sending off-hours calls straight to voicemail makes sense because it lets you filter messages and prioritize responses.
During the night, voicemail messages will collect; then, first thing in the morning, you can sort through them all. It’s easy, from that point, to decide which messages to take action on first.
Many messages can be preempted within your automated attendant – such as an option for listing your office hours and a pre-recorded list of extensions and business location information. Within that same automated menu, you can also give callers options for reaching individual departments, which will increase the chances that callers will reach the proper individuals at your office.
In conjunction, voicemail and auto attendant make sure messages end up in front of the right people.
Is Straight-to-Voicemail Right for You?
The type of situation described here should work well for many businesses – small and medium-size ones especially.
Community book stores; general shops; restaurants; clothing boutiques; hardware stores; and other types of businesses that don’t operate 24/7 are perfect candidates for a straight-to-voicemail policy. They all possess a handful of common ideals and procedures:
- Not open 24 hours a day
- Do not ship goods after normal business hours
- Non-life-saving goods and services
This leaves out some facilities, however, like large call centers and hospitals. It may also miss some midsize outfits, like us at VirtualPBX, where our 24/7 Customer Support helps inform and troubleshoot for our global client base.
Those businesses outside the fray can make strategic use of Ring Groups and ACD Queues to keep their always-on engine running.
For all others primed and willing, a straight-to-voicemail system could work wonders.
Don’t be afraid to let your voicemail work for you. Give your auto attendant purpose and let your customers know what to expect. See your productivity increase while boosting your image as a brand that knows how, and when, to handle customer concerns.