An automated attendant (AA), also referred to as a virtual receptionist, helps direct calls from customers without needing a live operator. If you’ve ever called a business and heard “Thank you for calling ... ,” you have encountered an auto attendant. It doesn't matter if you are using an Avaya phone system, TelWare SIP, or another phone system; you can integrate an auto attendant easily.

 
Benefits of an auto attendant

One of the primary benefits of an auto attendant is that your business can route calls more efficiently and connect callers to the right employees quickly — without needing operators, in most cases. This will increase your team efficiency.

Another advantage is that you can customize messages for after hours or holidays. You can even create different recordings for promotions, office hours, emergencies, and more.

In addition, your auto attendant can answer frequently asked questions with pre-recorded messages. One popular use is a pre-recorded message of store hours of operation and location information.

Lastly, an auto attendant is an easy way to provide consistency for your brand. You can use the greeting to insert your brand name, slogan, and/or website into every call. Every customer will be greeted exactly the way you want.

Creating Your AA's Specifications

An auto attendant is a powerful tool your business needs to take full advantage of. What makes a successful auto attendant for small- or medium-sized businesses? Customization, of course.

Before you start writing a script, you will need to evaluate your incoming calls to best understand what call flow works best for your business. Successful auto attendants transfer the customer to the right place quickly and easily. The ACD (Automated Call Distribution System) and AA should be designed to put the most frequently called options first. This will cut down on the time a customer needs to listen to the AA, quickly routing them where they need to be.

Customize your auto attendant for specific hours or days of the week. Your auto attendant can be programmed differently for special events, after-office hours, and more. Think about what you want your auto attendant to sound like after closing if you do not support 24/7 calls. Do you want your after-hours AA to include a general voice mail box to capture messages from customers?

Did you recently move and want an easy way to tell your customers? An auto attendant is the perfect opportunity to spread the message temporarily. Keep in mind that if your greeting is too long, it will frustrate busy customers. Customers want to get to the information they are looking for quickly.

After completing a pre-recorded message (typically featuring your store hours and directions to your location), don’t forget to route the caller back to the main menu in case they need something else. Do not design the AA to hang up as the customer will hang up if they have received their desired information.

Also, if a menu option is not selected within a few seconds of the end of the greeting, connect the caller to an operator or receptionist. The caller may not have a touch-tone phone or may be unsure what option to choose.

Here are some options you can include in your customized AA:

  • Multi-Branch Integration
  • Play prerecorded messages (i.e., address, hours, promotions, etc.)
  • Dial by extension
  • Transfer to ring group
  • Transfer to Automated Call Distribution System
  • Transfer to operator (typically “0”)
  • Transfer to voicemail
  • Dial by name
  • Directory
  • Multi-level options
  • Repeat menu
  • Exit
How much is it?

TelWare will assist you in writing an auto attendant and record it complementary with any install and for our hosted and maintenance customers. If you have a specific voice you'd like to use, we can assist in setting up prerecorded files as well.