One of the many business phone service options available to help improve efficiency and customer experience is an auto attendant. Callers into your company will receive a welcoming automated message, followed by a list of options. They press the correct number to be put through to a specific service, department or individual.
This offers substantial time management potential. Inbound calls can be filtered and directed to the right place, so the query or order can be dealt with professionally and promptly.
Your telecoms provider could build in even more automated responses too. This could include: letting callers know when lines are busy; inviting them to use a website instead, and placing them in a queue (potentially with a countdown to “first place”). More simplistic versions direct callers to leave a voicemail if the individual line is busy.
The cost savings from using an auto attendant within your business phone service can be considerable. It could also be argued there will be less lost calls, as transfers are seamlessly electronic. Unlike receptionists, telephone systems with this level of functionality don’t take sick days and are fully operational 24/7.
For larger, complex organisations fielding high volumes of inbound calls, they are invaluable. They can also help smaller companies give the impression of size and authority.
However, auto attendants are not without their critics; largely those people who feel that a human voice is preferable at every stage of the process.
There is a lot to be said for having a warm, responsive and intuitive receptionist as a conduit for inbound telephone calls to your business. A receptionist can respond to nuances in a caller’s voice, listen to urgent requests or clarify when someone is confused.
A caller with no idea what department they want, or who is trying to resolve a matter quickly, can be deeply frustrated by an automated list of options. Worse still is if the caller presses one option, only to find they “got it wrong” and they are placed back to the automated response menu, to try to work out who they should be talking to.
Which option best suits your particular business and the expectations of your customers?
Only you can decide that and weigh out cost, convenience, caller expectations and customer service aims. You also need to work with a telecoms provider who can ensure that the auto attendant feature is genuinely well orchestrated and specific to your communications needs.
There is one automatic option to help you, however, that shouldn’t be passed over. Contact RHM Telecommunications for help and advice in finding the right telephony solution to match your business needs.
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