First things first – What is auto-attendant?
That’s easy, think of it as a virtual receptionist that makes sure your customers can reach you, the right person or a pre-recorded message at any time - without you having to lift a finger. This is the first feature you should set-up in any business phone system to start saving you time and money immediately. Follow the examples below to see ways you can set up your auto-attendant
Option One: Answering your calls and providing valuable information
The easiest and most simple use of an auto-attendant is to answer your calls – so you don’t have to. By setting a customized greeting you can give your customers the information they need right-away without ever having to speak with them (if you don’t want).
For example, an auto-attendant greeting could contain:
Store hours, location and direction
You may think that everyone looks these things up online, which they do, however many times there is conflicting information spread across Yelp, Google Local, Facebook and anywhere else someone may have posted your store hours and locations. When people are confused they fall back on calling the store to check – make sure your auto-attendant is there to answer.
“Hi, you’ve reached Ultra Transmission Repair, we’re open 7:30-3:00PM Monday through Friday. Please note that Google maps does not show the correct location – we are behind the Big Lot’s on Main Street all the way at the back of the parking lot.”
Sometimes you just need to get the word out and changing your auto-attendant can be an effortless way of doing this.
“Thanks for calling Le Salon, due to the recent flooding we’re closed for the remainder of the week and will reopen again Monday. Stay Safe!”
Redirect to a more appropriate medium
Just because you have a business number doesn’t mean that that is the first way you want to interact with a potential customer, use your greeting to redirect a caller to the more appropriate method.
“Thanks for calling Pro Party Planners. Please check out our videos and find out where we’ll be hosting next on our Facebook page at Facebook.com slash Pro Planners."
Now once your greeting has been setup through your auto-attendant you need to choose what the system does next, which takes us to the next level…
Option Two: Upsell while connecting your caller automatically
So, a potential customer has called and the virtual receptionist has answered - why not let it act as your “virtual salesman” as well while it’s forwarding the call to the appropriate number.
Current sales, promotions or specials.
While someone is on hold waiting to talk to you or an associate why not let them know about any current promotions you are offering…
“Hi, you’ve reached Grossmont Carpet Cleaning, please wait while we connect you to a scheduler. Did you know we are having a spring cleaning sale, every additional room cleaning is half-off, ask your scheduler for more information!”
Tout your businesses’ accomplishments and merits
If you’re not going to talk about how great you are who is? (well in this case it would be your phone system)
“Hi, you’ve reached Davidson Insurance. We were recently voted the number one independent insurer in the Tri-State area by the NIRB – please hold as we connect you to your award-winning agent.”
Option Three: Interactive call routing
Now that you’ve mastered the hand’s off auto-attendant features it’s time to put your customer in control. By using the interactive menu features of your virtual business phone system, you can guide your caller to the right outcome…
Route callers to the right person or department
By using the menu system in the auto-attendant you can allow customers to self-select who they would like to speak with. Not only does the customer feel they are getting to the right place, it does double duty giving your company a” big-business” image. Your callers can be routed to one specific number, a “department” where the auto-attendant rolls calls to a series of numbers until someone picks up or a number that is used for multiple options (your customers do not need to know that “sales”, “billing” and “support” all go to you).
“Greetings, you’ve reached The PC Guys, to speak with a technician press 1, to connect to our store manager press 2 to inquire about an order press 3.”
Provide pre-recorded information
Perhaps you want to give a caller a series of choice to allow them to help themselves, that’s easy too.
“Welcome to Ohio Tile, press 1 for directions to our showroom, press 2 for a list of local dealers, press 3 to learn about our 1/4in floor tile recall.”
Send to voicemail
You also have the option of sending people to voicemail, especially useful as afterhours messages.
“This is South Western Chiropractic, our clinic is currently closed. If you would like to leave a message for Dr. Bob please press 1 now and he will get back to you within 24 hours”
Option Four: Putting all the pieces together
Finally, the real power in a full-featured virtual business phone system with auto-attendant comes when you mix all the tools above to create a custom solution that perfectly serves your unique business needs. Check out some of the examples below for inspiration…
“Hi, you’ve reached the Downtown Café, we’re open daily from 7 AM until 10 PM. For directions press 1, to leave a message with our management press 2, for reservations please stay on the line as we connect you to our hostess. Have you tried our new vegan breakfast burrito…”
“This is Nordotech Solutions, the maker of the #1 business automation tool for mobile. For activation instructions press 1, for reset instructions press 2, to hear a list of compatible devices press 3. To speak to a member of our support team stay on the line, or press 0 at any time and leave your number for a call back within 48 hours.”
“You’ve reached the Antique Shack, our downtown store is open from 9-5 on weekdays and weekends from 11-4. To leave a message for our appraisal department press 1, to leave a message for our dealer department press 2, To speak to a salesman please hold.”