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What "Busy" Signals

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My grandmother, known to all as “Butterfly Betty,” will turn 90 next week.  She’s an amazing woman with a large and loving family who lives independently.  But, when you’re 89, stuff happens and last week she needed a bit of extra care and spent a few days in a skilled nursing center.  I live several states away and wanted to give her a call.  My mom emailed me the phone number to her room.  When I dialed, I heard a very strange, unfamiliar and jarring sound.  I figured that I had miss dialed, so I tried again.  Same problem.  I called my mom to make sure she didn't mistype the number.  Nope.  It was correct.  Finally, I called the main desk and asked to be transferred to her room.  A minute later the receptionist came back on the line and told me the phone was busy.

Busy?  It had been so long since I heard a busy signal that I didn’t even recognize it.  I thought that something was wrong.  It never crossed my mind that Grandma was just talking to someone else.   I don’t think that I’m unique in reacting that way.  With modern call waiting and voicemail it is unusual to get a busy signal even when calling someone at home.  What would happen if someone called your business and got a busy signal?  Would they think something was wrong?  That you were gone?  Out of business?

Even if your business has multiple lines and a voicemail, you might want to ask yourself if there are situations where a caller might get a busy signal. What if the power is out? What if all your lines are in use? What if there is a problem with the voicemail server? How does your phone system ensure that no call is missed?

Asking questions like these helps your businesses define the customer service experience. Your phone system should allow your customers to reach you under all of the above circumstances. As we continue to ask these questions, and reset expectations for exceptional phone services, we can aim to create a world in which we never have to hear a busy tone again.