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Is your Automated Telephone System helping or hurting?

Is your Automated Telephone System helping or hurting?


“If you know the extension of the person you are trying to reach, you may dial it now. The person at extension 10XX is on the phone. Please leave a message after the tone… Sorry the user’s mailbox cannot hold any more messages.”

I would like to go back to the days when I was greeted by a live, friendly human voice at the other end of the telephone line. In this modern era where everything evolves around technology, it is understandable why businesses would consider installing an automated phone system. Voice mail systems were designed to provide 24-hour-a-day answering capability, to enhance efficiency and increase job productivity, to save revenue for companies and to improve the accuracy of message content. However, to the customer trying to reach businesses with a voice mail service, it can be a nuisance.

By Anton, in an article on Intarget, entitled “The pros and cons of Interactive Voice Response Systems, highlights some of the pros that entice businesses into installing them, such as:

  • Save money
  • Do not go on lunch breaks, vacations or have sick days.
  • Available 24/7/365 to assist clients with their queries.
  • Eliminate human errors

Notwithstanding the pros of a voice mail service, in today’s article, we look from the consumers vantage point at how it can be seen as ‘a centre of inefficiency’ for a business. When consumers have spent time navigating your voice mail system at their expense, only to be told that the user’s mailbox is full, do you think that they see efficiency the same way you do?

  • Automated telephone system can alienate customers. Due to past bad experiences, some customers hang up immediately and call the competitor.
  • Automated telephone system can confuse customers. Long and difficult to understand menus often require a level of concentration that customers do not have to give.
  • Automated phone systems can malfunction. Technology is great when it works but a disaster for customers when it doesn’t.

Your automated phone system may be saving you money at the cost of your reputation. If you have an automated phone system at your company, it’s time to find out if it is customer service friendly or a customer’s nightmare.

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