How to Set Up Your Auto Attendant


Common with many PBX systems, the auto attendant feature automates the incoming call procedure and eliminates the need for a full-time receptionist. This feature provides callers with a greeting and a list of menu options to route their calls to the appropriate person or department. Because an auto attendant is often the first interaction potential prospects and customers have with a company, it’s important to ensure that it is properly set up in order to make the right impression to callers.

Below we identify four best practices in setting up your auto attendant so you can create a good impression and offer a pleasant experience to your customers:

Be brief and professional

Begin your message with a welcome greeting. It should be pleasant and professional as if you were shaking hands with a potential client for the first time. After your quick intro, get down to business immediately by offering the most important information customers need. Consider offering information about your business such as location, directions, office hours, and website.

Before introducing options to callers, make sure to inform them that they can dial their party’s extension at any time, in case they already know who to reach (and thus don’t have to listen through the auto attention options).

Avoid offering too many options

When designing your auto attendant, keep in mind that less is often more. Offering an endless list of options can confuse callers, leading them to hang up the phone or end up with the wrong extension. Limit your menu to five or six options, including only the most important departments such as customer service, sales, and billing. Also make sure to use clear extension names (“Press 1 for Sales, Press 2 For Customer Service, etc…) or call-to-actions (“To talk to a customer support representative, press 1, To hear your account balance, press 2, etc).

Include short sales information or slogan

While it’s important to keep your auto attendant message short and sweet, it won’t hurt to include sales information or a slogan to boost your brand and catch your caller’s attention. For example, a curtain supplier could begin their greeting with, “Thank you for calling Curtains Unlimited, your best source for custom curtains and draperies.” It’s a simple one-liner that already introduces callers to your brand.

You can also mention a sale or special promo and discount to entice customers. But make sure to direct callers to a specific extension where they can obtain additional information. You can say, “Would you like to enjoy a 20% discount on orders worth $100 and up? Press 3 to learn more.”

Customize greetings for specific times of day

Unless you operate your business 24/7, you’ll want your phone system to act differently during after business hours or holidays. It’s a good idea to tailor your message depending on the time of day so that customers who call you after hours will know when you will be available. Also, you should consider offering a voicemail option to ensure you don’t miss important calls.

Final Thoughts

An auto attendant is an excellent PBX feature that helps you not only to effectively manage and route calls, but also to convey a more professional and customer-friendly appearance. So make sure to set it up correctly by following these helpful tips.

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