Re: ad response - voicemail, or no? - Posted by B.L.Renfrow
Posted by B.L.Renfrow on June 04, 2000 at 09:11:10:
I have been debating this issue since day one, and have tried various approaches. I think most people on this site agree the live answering services generally aren’t worth the money, and unless you are particularly fortunate, you give up a lot of control to minimum-wage call-takers.
I generally take calls in person when I am home, but since I also work out of town a couple of days per week, there’s plenty of time when I’m not here.
I have used a simple answering machine, but it does not provide the flexibility I need. I am presently using a (not inexpensive) voice mail system, but I am not happy with that either, mostly due to quality problems with the device itself. I am also looking at a (Mac) computer-based solution offering unlimited mail boxes, various outgoing messages, etc., which I will probably switch to IF I can get it configured correctly, which has not yet been the case.
I also get a fair number of hang-ups. I also employ caller ID, though I don’t return calls from those who refuse to leave a message. I guess I am a subscriber to the theory that if they aren’t motivated enough to leave a message, they’re likely going to waste my time.
The biggest “problem” in my view - though it isn’t really a problem, just a major time-waster - is repeating the same info 30 times over when I am advertising a property. And of course, 90% of the callers are not qualified anyway. I have gone to my own version of Joe Kaiser’s system…“push 1 if you are calling about the Elm Street property…” which takes them to a mailbox describing, briefly, the property and its location. The callers are directed to drive by and inspect the property, where flyers are placed further describing the house and the financing options available.
What I have found, though, is a number of people will bypass that message in the voice mail system, and just hit the key to directly leave a message, leaving something about how they are calling on the ad for the Elm Street property, and please call them back - which obviously defeats the whole purpose of the system! But, I also need to retain the bypass option for those who don’t need to listen to the entire detailed message.
The point of this rambling is that no, I wouldn’t hire anyone, particularly as a beginner. There are plenty of hardware and software solutions available…although I have yet to come up with the perfect one. If you are just starting out, you can pick up a 3 or 4 mailbox digital answering device for under $40. I would start there, then expand as your business grows.