How to Find an Automated Phone Message Service + 8 Must-Have Features

Are you catching onto the automation trend at home and work? While we don’t have robots greeting us at the supermarket just yet, you can change the temperature on your home thermostat while sitting in traffic. Self-driving cars are emerging. If you operate a small business or make buying decisions for a larger company, you can also embrace the advantages that come with an automated phone message service.

Research has shown that approximately 51% of companies have already embraced some form of automated marketing services. More than 63% of companies embracing automation technology report outperforming their competitors in some way. Texting and phone call automation are among the most beneficial services. You just need to know why they’re important and how to select a service that delivers quality and reliability.

Signs You Need an Automated Phone Message Service

Phone automation is all about dialing more numbers, interacting with more people, and leaving more messages in less time. It has helped many companies save money while reducing stress on employees. With advanced technology, you can automate all outbound phone calls while improving overall quality and consistency.

If you aren’t sure that it’s the right time for your business to adopt this technology, consider the following points. If you relate to even one of these statements, you could benefit tremendously from a phone message automation service.

·   You have office staff members who make the same phone calls daily, leaving the same voicemail messages over and over. You could easily create one message and send it out to every customer or patient without impacting customer satisfaction.

·   You pay employees to make outbound phone calls and are looking for ways to lower labor costs.

·   In addition to the basic cost of employee wages, you pay managers, trainers, or supervisors to monitor phone call quality. If you could automate the messages so that they’re the same every time, you would have less need for people to listen in on phone calls for training purposes.

·   Most of the phone calls made by your employees go to voicemail. If you could reduce the amount of time that they spend leaving those messages, you could save a lot of time and get more in return for your labor costs.

·   Your staff members are often overwhelmed by outbound call tasks. Removing those tasks would create a less stressful work environment, which could in turn improve employee retention rates.

·   You would like to use more outbound phone calls and/or text messages for marketing purposes.  You just don’t have the manpower to handle the call volume or don’t want to stress out your employees.

·   You know some of the emails you send would perform better with a personalized delivery. Phone call messages could lead to more interest and responses from recipients.

·   You have a growing directory of phone numbers but aren’t leveraging that data for business growth or customer satisfaction.

Even if you’re a one-person team at this point, you can benefit from automating at least some of your outbound calls. Selecting an automated phone messaging system may feel overwhelming right now. We have some suggestions that will help you rule out the lower quality services and focus on a reputable solution backed by the best technology.

8 Must-Have Phone Message System Features

Before going all in with any automated phone message service, make sure the service offers these eight essential features. Most companies claim to have the best system, but they aren’t all representing their capabilities honestly. Don’t settle until you find a service that fully checks all eight of these boxes.

Related: How to Choose the Right Virtual Phone System for Your Business

1. Pre-Recording and Scheduling

There are two basic messaging services that any reputable automation company should offer:

·   Pre-recording

·   Scheduling

Some automated messaging services may only offer the option to provide a text version of your message. They use voice-to-text technology to create a spoken recording of the message. That’s a great option that you may want to use, but you also want a service that allows you to create a message in your own voice.

Pre-recording ensures that you get the message just right before going live with it. You can perfect the wording and tone while eliminating background noise. You have complete confidence in the message before submitting it to your automated messaging service.

Scheduling is just as critical because it allows for planning and repetition. You record messages now and schedule them to go out at specific times in the future. Without this feature, you will still have to go to the messaging service each time you want to send messages. Advance scheduling will maximize time savings and ensure your messages get out to the right audience at the right time. 

2. Interactive Messaging

You may not think you need this feature initially, but make sure you have it as an option. Interactive messages like surveys allow you to collect insightful data while ensuring customers feel valued and heard. Rather than relying on statistics created by other companies, you can create your own statistics with the right questions and a sizable list that includes members of a targeted market.

Here are just some of the ways you can use an automated phone survey:

·   Customer feedback

·   Employee satisfaction

·   Market research

·   Product development

·   Lead generation

·   Brand awareness questionnaire

·   Event evaluation

·   Post-training evaluation

·   Employee exit interview

How do interactive phone calls work? The most common design presents a series of questions and allows participants to hit a number on their telephone keypad to provide answers. Some may also allow participants to provide longer vocal responses that are later listened to by someone on your end.

Your automated phone message provider may even offer reports that make it easy to evaluate the data generated by a survey. That could save you even more time because you don’t have to go through the call results to create valuable statistics.

3. Supports Phone Calls and Text

Versatile messaging systems allow you to use automated phone calls, text messages, or both. Even if you only want to use one or the other right now, you never know what the future may bring. The more value you can get out of a service, the more cost effective it becomes.

You may also reevaluate some of your work processes once you have the ability to send mass text and voice messages instantly. When you take the cost of manpower off the table, you may think of new ways to get things done in your business. You may also decide to expand your marketing to take full advantage of technology you’re going to pay for regardless.

4. Copper Lines

Have you heard that VoIP is the wave of the future in the voice message market? We urge you not to fall for those opinions. There are a variety of problems that often lower the quality of calls made with VoIP technology. High latency, background noise, and packet loss are just a few.

VoIP phone calls are also more likely to get flagged as spam. That means recipients are more likely to see something like “potential spam” or even the word “scam” when your phone number comes up on their phone. This is one cell phone feature that many consumers appreciate. Phone providers are going to great lengths to block spam calls, so you don’t want to end up in this category.

Now that you’ve eliminated all VoIP automated phone message services from consideration, what’s left? You want to find a provider that uses copper/PRI lines from trusted, established carriers. Your calls will appear to come from a standard landline like many businesses use rather than a computerized robocalling service.

Copper lines reduce your risk of getting blocked as spam to improve your deliverability rates. If you’re going to invest in automated calling technology, you might as well get the best system to keep your message delivery rates as high as possible.

5. Intuitive Design

This one is quite simple, but it’s important. You want an easy-to-use phone call automation system that doesn’t have a steep learning curve. The point is to save time, right? That only pays off if you don’t have to spend hours, days, or weeks learning how to use your new service.

How will you know that a system is intuitive and easy to use? You won’t unless you can use the system or otherwise see it in action before you invest. That is best done through a pre-purchase demo. You will get to use all of the features while checking out the app or software in detail. If it’s complicated during the demo, you can assume it will take some time to learn if you invest.

6. Quick Message Setup

After you have fully set up your automated voice messaging system, it shouldn’t take more than a few minutes to create and launch new messages. Everything that you need to record messages will come built into a good cloud-based system.

For instance, you should have the option to record a voice message directly, utilizing recording software built into the platform. If you don’t want to do that, you should also have the option to upload a voice file quickly. The same goes for typing text messages directly into the system or clicking and pasting from another program on your computer or phone.

If you can’t imagine creating and launching new messages from your cell phone, tablet, and computer with equal ease, you’re not considering one of the best automated call software solutions. Remember, this is supposed to save you a lot of time.

Related: How to Use Automated Phone Calls for Your Business

7. Phone Number Options

Your phone calls have a greater chance of receiving an answer if your business phone number shows on the caller ID. The best automated phone systems will give you an option of what numbers you type of phone number you want to use. Your options should include the following:

·   Landline numbers

·   VoIP numbers

·   Personal mobile numbers

Many automated services only offer VoIP telephone numbers. That increases your risk of getting the “spam” label on caller ID, and we all know that’s bad for business. 

8. Complete and Accurate Message Delivery

When you allow humans to place your outbound calls, there are so many ways things can go wrong. It’s easy to assume that a voice message campaign isn’t working because you don’t know that there is a quality problem with the messages.

For instance, if an employee pauses for even a few seconds after the beep of a voicemail, they may not have enough time to complete the message before the recording time ends. That sounds unprofessional and often cuts off critical information like callback numbers. The same goes for starting to speak too soon, which results in the first part of the message not making it into the recording.

Pre-recorded messages are delivered exactly as you recorded them. High-quality technology will ensure that every message is delivered completely without those cutoffs. This is a promise that not all call services can realistically make, so you want to find one that can.

How to Find a Dependable Automated Phone Message Service

Selecting the best automated phone message service comes down to comparison shopping. Make a list of every service you have heard of and ask other business owners and managers what services they have used. Put cost out of mind for a moment because quality is ultimately more important.

Look up each of those options and see how they score when held up to the eight essential features listed here. You’re likely to come out with just one or two that can meet expectations on all points. You can then request a demo and start thinking about cost.

You can also take the leap right now by contacting VoiceShot. We provide an industry leading automated phone message service that delivers all eight of those must-have features plus much more. Let’s schedule your demo today.