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It wasn’t so long ago that chatbots were the rage. Then, they hit a wall.

Chatbots were only one extension of an attempted move away from person-to-person customer service. But let’s face it, bots and website FAQs aren’t the same thing as customer service. Beginning around 2008 - the point that marked the beginning of that push towards automated customer service - was the point where customers began to search the web for “customer service phone number”.

Take a look at the Google Trend search query below, which tracks the query “customer service phone number” back to 2004. Beginning around 2008, notice the long, steady rise in customers searching for a way to speak to someone. This is exactly why it’s so important to take your inbound phone traffic seriously.

The above search would actually be filtered by the name of the company, but by omitting that, we get the picture for all searches.

So what happened? The short answer is that nothing is as tidy and friendly as using a smartphone to, well, call somebody. As I recently told my teenage son: “You do know your iPhone is a telephone, right? You can actually talk on it!”

Is your customer service number easy to find?

Websites like Dial a Human have popped up in response to the need for customers to reach human beings on the phone. In 2019, PC Magazine published: How to Talk to a Real Human : The Ultimate Customer Support Phone Number Directory.

So, the best advice is this: Don’t hide your customer service phone number. Make it easy for customers to talk to your business, place orders, or get in touch with your support team. You’ll be rewarded with happy, five star review-gifting customers!

Your office phone system can do a lot more than you may think

A fine-tuned auto-attendant can sort inbound phone traffic, even if you have a receptionist. But it can do much more. Many VoIP phone systems allow for pre-produced audio to be loaded into the auto-attendant greetings. What this means is, instead of a bland “Hello, thank you for calling” recorded directly into the handset by your staff-member, pre-produced audio containing quick ads can be the first thing inbound callers hear. This nifty feature of cloud-based VoIP phone systems means you can project a viby image to callers, drop a call-to-action, and reinforce your brand.

Restaurants, for example, can promote their hottest special with a quick and nicely produced ad––rather than rely on wait staff to shout out semi-intelligible “would you like to try our…” prompts over the noisy background.

PhoneNetix, by Dogwood Studios, is an excellent way to utilize the full functionality of many business VoIP phone systems. With a solid plan, pre-recorded messaging embedded within your phone system can promote products, create conversions, and even reduce caller engagement time.