OK, I’m all for answering machines, especially for small businesses. I use one. I even have a virtual receptionist available to me with my Ooma Office Phone Service any time I decide to take advantage of it. Right now, I just have my office number ring on my cell phone simultaneously so I never miss a call. If I don’t know who’s calling, or I’m too busy to answer, or the call is coming too far outside my normal business hours, I let it go to Voicemail.
And even then, if I decide to use it, the system allows me to configure voice prompts simply by typing the content into a text box. What I type is what the Virtual Assistant says. So I can say “Thanks for calling AppDataWorks. Press 1 for Sales. Press 2 for Support.” and so on. I think that’s appropriate for a very small business like mine. I could hire a “live virtual receptionist” to answer my calls and give a human touch to that contact, and I may do that down the road if my phone starts ringing enough. But for right now, even a highly configurable robo-voice prompting callers to the correct line would be fine.
In fact, it should be fine for any size business. Do you hear me Sears? Bank of America? Verizon? (more…)