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Auto Attendant: One Of Your Most Important Phone System Applications and 3 Unique Ways You Can Use It

Auto Attendant

What is Auto Attendant?

Auto Attendant is one of the most common applications we install with business phone systems.

It is a standard application that can satisfy many different tasks/needs.

In a nutshell, an auto attendant is a programmed add on for your phone system that will help answer calls and can route callers to proper destinations. Think of it as a receptionist program.

You can program the auto attendant to route calls during specific hours and you can also program different messages/directories to operate at different times of the day.

Most prospective customers will turn to the internet to do preliminary research for products and services.

But . . . once they’ve found the company or companies they are interested in, a phone call is still the most popular first step to contact your business and engage your services.

So, that means you’ve got a decision to make. You need to decide whether you want a live person to answer the phone and route your calls, or whether you would rather skip that step and have a program do the heavy lifting for you.

For many small to midsized businesses, the auto attendant is a great way to reduce overhead and make sure calls never goes unanswered.

Auto Attendant Best Practices

Proper auto attendant design and implementation is essential to the overall experience an inbound caller will have every time they pick up the phone and dial your number.

Some key factors to think about when designing your system:

  • Make sure your introductory message is clear and concise – you don’t want people to get bored or annoyed with a long message every time they call in.
  • Avoid too many options – nobody enjoys sifting through 14 options to find the place they are looking for.
  • Keep it simple and keep it logical – prioritize your most popular departments/options towards the beginning of your message to speed up the inbound call process.
  • Your directory needs to be up to date – who will be in charge of managing this?

Three Unique Ways You Can Use Auto Attendant

1. Use your auto attendant function to answer FAQs

Do people call your office often with the same questions? You can dedicate a space in your auto attendant directory to frequently requested info like your address, your hours of operation and more. This will save your receptionist and staff valuable time and provide prospects with the info they are calling to acquire.

2. Add a Directory

There are multiple different types of directory options available to you.

  • Full list of staff extensions
  • Search by first or last name for staff
  • Department Directory

The option you choose is based on what you believe will be easiest and most helpful for inbound callers. By implementing a directory you avoid an endless list of options on your primary outgoing message and also add a layer of organization that prospects/customers appreciate.

3. Share Upcoming Event & Company Announcements

Your auto attendant program can actually be used as a great marketing tool for upcoming events and promotions. Have a seasonal promotion coming up? What about an office closing due to a holiday? Maybe there is some big news specific to your industry you want to share? All of these are things pieces of information you can distribute to inbound callers.

**Added Tip** Your Music on Hold (MOH) message can also promote events and promotions for you.