Effective Auto Attendant Setup

Whether we love or hate Auto Attendants, they have become the norm in doing business in our world today. More companies are adopting Auto Attendants to handle their inbound calls in a very cost-efficient manner. Ultimately what drives many businesses to an Auto Attendant is to improve their response rate to an influx of calls cost-effectively.

There are a variety of approaches for setting up an Auto Attendant to process calls for your business. One of the more common methods uses an Auto Attendant to answer all incoming calls. Thus all callers will be greeted by the Auto Attendant and must make a selection to complete their call. Many businesses prefer this approach because they experience a high call volume and are encumbered with growing staffing costs.

A third method is to have the main lines delay-forwarded to an Auto Attendant. If the call is not answered by the receptionist in a predetermined amount of rings, the call is answered by the Auto Attendant. This method is an excellent alternative because it provides relief for a very busy receptionist staff.

There are logistical elements to ensure the success of an auto attendant. First, do not provide the caller with more then four choices on the Auto Attendant greeting. It is extremely difficult for callers to remember what Option One is after hearing five or six additional options. Provide the caller with the selection options, prioritizing them by the frequency of use. This decreases the level of frustration experienced by callers who are forced to wait through a lengthy listing of selection options.

Another logistical element is to address your customer’s needs outside of the normal workday. It is also very important to provide separate greetings for normal business hours and after hours. After-hours and holiday messages communicate special instructions to the customer about how your company will handle their “emergency” status. A well thought-out message is important to communicate a message that addresses the customers’ needs and maintains a relationship without a “human” touch.