What is an auto attendant?

An auto attendant (automatic attendant or virtual receptionist) allows callers to be automatically transferred to an extension without the intervention of a telephone operator or receptionist. Love them or loath them they are a fact of everyday life, may be appropriate for your business and are available for you in babblevoice.

Even if you hold auto attendants in poor regard, they can be better than an engaged (busy) tone, voicemail or no one answering the phone. Auto attendants can give the impression of a large and professional organisation and reassure callers that they will be put through to the relevant part of the business. It is not necessary to rely exclusively on an auto attendant. Using the rules in babblevoice you can choose to answer the phone in person where possible and fall back on the auto attendant when necessary i.e. the phone is engaged or nobody is available.

The key to a great auto attendant is in the planning. By giving sufficient forethought to your caller’s experience you can ensure that your auto attendant becomes a valuable cost-saving business tool. The following four key steps will allow you to plan your auto attendant effectively

  1. Identify callers that should be passed to the auto attendant As previously stated, there is no compulsion to have all your calls passed to the auto attendant. Consider using it as a backup or for routine service and maintenance calls allowing more resource to be available to answer sales calls.
  2. Decide what menu options callers have Think carefully about what options callers will have. Too many options can be confusing and too few means callers may not find an option that meets their needs. Remember that most callers are familiar with auto attendants and will try to bypass the process by pressing 0 or pressing the ‘sales’ option believing that sales calls are always prioritised. Do you need sub-menus to further refine the callers needs?
  3. Consider where to send calls Make sure that the call is eventually answered because the caller has gone to the effort of listening to the options and selecting the most appropriate one. It can be frustrating if this effort goes unrewarded. Send calls to groups not extensions to increase the chance of the call being answered. Acknowledge the user’s effort in a voicemail greeting if voicemail is to be used.
  4. Write a script for your menu options

There are two options for your scripts. babblevoice has a text to speech engine that will “speak” whatever words you use in the auto attendant in a computer generated voice. Alternatively you can record a voice and play the recording in lieu of the text to speech option. Use a clear sounding voice with a sympathetic tone that gives the impression that you are grateful for the call and are doing your best to help.

Don’t be frightened of using an auto attendant. Done in the right way and following these simple steps your auto attendant can save you time and money and give your callers the best impression of your business.

The babblevoice team

By Antoine Lever, Feb 27, 2015