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7 Auto Attendant Phone System Best Practices

By: Scott Resnick


Your greeting is often the first interaction your customers will have with your company. It is imperative that you make a great first impression. For any business owner, composing a concise, polished greeting and knowing what options to present can be overwhelming. Use the following 7 auto attendant phone system practices to present an organized, professional image to your callers:

1. Present the Important Information First
Your automated greeting should either provide the information your caller needs or direct them to the person who can. Don’t put every bit of company information on the menu. Do include your office hours and company website as this will answer many questions quickly. And don’t force your callers to listen to a long list of choices. Give them the option of entering their party’s extension from the start or leaving a quick voicemail.
2. Simplicity is Key
When it comes to an auto attendant phone system keeping it simple is your best option. Do not present your customer with every possible extension and option at the opening. Give your callers a simple, straightforward menu with self-explanatory options. A general rule of thumb, keep the initial calling options to 5 at a max. Also, your list needs to be in numeric order. It’s too confusing for a caller to hear “Press 1 for Sales… Press 3 for Customer Service…” Make the process as easy and comfortable as possible for your callers.
3. If It’s Popular, It Comes First
The ideal you are cultivating is for your callers to get where they need to go on the first try. No one wants to be transferred from person to person. Even worse is pressing or speaking a never-ending array of numbers. List the most common options at the very beginning of the menu to minimize customer agitation or drop off.
4. Divide and Conquer
If your customer wants simple information fast, you might want to consider offering a pre-recorded message. These messages can provide detailed information about special offers, weekend sales, or department information quickly and then transfer the caller back to the main menu when done. Minimizing call final volume is a great way to use your auto attendant to improve efficiency and productivity.
5. Tease to Please
To expand upon the previous tip, inserting sales and special event info into the beginning is a fantastic marketing technique. But you need to tease to please. The goal is to get callers interested. With an auto attendant phone system you can always direct them to another extension for more information! The same holds true for company slogans and pitches of all sorts.
6. Five Plus or Minus Two
Our conscious attention span can process only 5, plus or minus 2, bits of information at a time. Anything more may be overwhelming. Do not list your entire company roster. Menus should contain no more than 5 or 6 extensions. Make it easy on your caller by using submenus, such as separate departments, and then listing individual extensions.
7. Seasons Greetings
Greetings need to relay why you’re not available and when business will be open again. Stating your office hours in the beginning isn’t enough. Switch to a nighttime option that lets callers know when you will open again and what to do in case of an emergency. You can even offer a voicemail option during closed hours. This will ensure all important calls can be answered. And don’t forget the holidays! Let your callers know if you’re open or closed. Take the time to make the greeting special and sincere. Auto attendant phone systems can be set to play a prerecorded greeting on a particular day and return to the standard greeting later. Take advantage of that feature.
Auto attendant phone systems are a great way to greet your callers and present your company as organized, attentive, and professional. It can be a pleasant experience—if you set it up correctly. Follow these seven simple tips and your automated menu will be useful and convenient.
This article was originally published by TTI Houston
Published: January 9, 2015

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Scott Resnick

Scott Resnick is the President and Owner of Today's Telecommunications Industries, LLC (TTI) in Houston, TX. For the past 39 years, Scott has been instrumental in serving the telecommunications needs of some of Houston's largest and most influential companies. TTI is one of the largest NEC dealers in the United States. Scott is an avid baseball fan, loving father, husband, and a world traveler.

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