At first glance, using a robotic answering machine for your business seems like a genius idea. Pretend your a Wells Fargo business analyst ten years ago. Let’s say that Wells Fargo at that time had all human tellers answering their phones and taking information. Doing so took 40,000 man hours a month at $10 per hour, resulting in a cost of $400,000 to Wells Fargo.
Our imaginary business analyst says, “AHA! What if I install an automated system for $10,000 and it gives people their balances & takes their information automatically reducing our man hours to 20,000, thus saving us $190,000 total after paying the $10k!”
He takes this business case to Wells Fargo executives who go “Woohooo! Let’s save $190k”.
A year later the system is implemented. Win for Wells Fargo right? Maybe in the short term….
Over the following years though, customers become increasingly irritated by being forced to deal with an automated system that is difficult to use. All Wells Fargo did was move the cost of business from themselves to their customers… saving money in the short term, but making their customers hate them and lose trust. Eventually customers bleed off more and more to competitor banks. Let’s assume each customer carries an average balance of $10k and Wells Fargo makes $500/ year in profit lending that money. Ten years later Wells Fargo may have lost 10% of their customers (they have 48 million now, so that would be 4.8 million)….
In this example, Wells Fargo saved $2 million over ten years by using the automated system… but lost hundreds of millions in potential profit by sacrificing their customers interests.
Don’t be like Wells Fargo and try to simply pass your costs of business on to your customers by giving them a hellish automated phone system experience.