Here’s a paradox for you. Customers want more from the people they do business with, but they’ve come to expect less than they did before. How can that be?

Think about it. When you go to the doctor, you want to see him immediately, but you expect you’ll have to wait because experience shows that’s usually the case. So you never schedule anything too closely around a doctor’s appointment.

I even got a survey recently from an orthopedist’s office I visited, and one of the questions was “How long did you have to wait to see the doctor?” Notice the question wasn’t “Did you have to wait to see the doctor?” Waiting was assumed, even by the survey writers.

So where does your business fit into this paradox? Are you contributing to the expectation that your customers will get less even though they’d like more? Or are you the exception?

Are your customers disappointed when they call your office during the day or after hours? Maybe they expected to get an answering machine but were hoping they might reach a real person. Maybe you should give them more than they expect.

The whole idea behind using virtual receptionists and business answering services is to provide customers with an immediate response. Answering-service clients want their customers to speak with a “real” person, 24/7, who can either patch them through directly to someone or immediately get a message to the client. Shouldn’t that be something you want for your customers, too?

If your business is already the exception to this want-more/expect-less paradox, then good for you. If your answer is “not so much,” then I encourage you to think about what you can do to bring an end to it. If your customers are reaching an answering machine instead of a virtual receptionist during office hours or a business answering service after hours, maybe it’s time to reconsider. Professional answering and/or virtual receptionist services can help you be the exception to the paradox.

Frances Starr, Director of Sales & Marketing for Alert Communications. Alert Communications is a 24/7 bilingual inbound call center, specializing in professional attorney answering, virtual receptionist, Spanish answering and business answering solutions.