Automated Attendant – effective voicemail greetings
Introductory Automated Attendant
Automated attendant (or auto attendant) is a prerecorded voice that welcomes callers with a menu of options.
An automated phone system uses automated attendant software to answer incoming calls and presents the caller with a menu of options for different departments within a business.
There are many kinds of people who call your company. Some have never called you before; others may call your system frequently and just want to reach their party quickly without having to listen to the entire menu.
Keep this in mind as you review the following sample scripts and create your own Auto Attendants and Voicemail Greetings.
An automated attendant is a fantastic feature that improves customer service and help avoid missed calls by picking up even when no employees are available to answer.
Automated Attendant and your first welcoming message should say something like:
Thank you for calling Company Intervoices, where ‘Intervoices Are Our Only Business’. Visit us on the web at www.intervoices.com. If you know the extension of the person you wish to reach, you may dial it at any time.
Otherwise, please choose from one of the following options.
For sales, press ‘1’. customer service, press ‘2’. purchasing or accounting, press ‘3’. technical support, press ‘4’. If you would like company information such as hours of operation and location, press ‘5’. Otherwise, press ‘0’, or stay on the line, and a member of our staff will assist you shortly.
Thank you for calling the Intervoices Agency.
Stick with formats that people are familiar with, like ‘0’ for the receptionist.
Avoid saying “please” before every menu choice (‘please press 1’, ‘please press 2″, etc.). This can sound repetitious.
Try to limit your menus to no more than 5 options at each level; otherwise it is too difficult to remember all the choices.
If you need to offer many options, consider organizing them into logical groups and use more than one Automated Attendant (see Multi-Tiered Auto Attendants below.
Remember that with some systems, certain digits may be reserved for special functions and are therefore unavailable for use as menu choices. Also, unless your system offers ‘delayed processing’, you may not be able to use whatever digit your extensions start with.
Check your system’s documentation to see what digits you can use for your menus.
Let callers know they can make a choice at any time.
They shouldn’t have to wait for the messages to finish playing before they enter the extension or menu choice they want.
Consider people who may not have a touch tone phone.
If possible, those calls should default to a human receptionist from the introductory message.
Remember that frequent callers will usually prefer to bypass your system by entering the extension they want right away.
Including your slogan or tag line is a great way to build brand awareness.
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on 28th October 2011 and has been completely revamped and updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness