If you’re looking to upgrade your businesses telephone system, you may have come across the term auto attendant. An automated attendant is arguably one of the most important features of any business telephone systems.
Auto attendants are fairly common in telephone systems nowadays, but its still worth understanding what they are and how your business can utilise them.
What is an auto attendant?
An auto attendant is a menu that is presented to callers when they make a phone call to your business. They’re most commonly used to direct the caller to different departments, for example: “Thank you for calling, please press 1 for sales, 2 for accounts” etc…
Each option of your auto attendant can be routed to a different location of your telephone system. This means that option 1 can divert callers to a completely separate department.
Auto attendants are very powerful features. Because of their customisability, auto attendants are very versatile, they can adapt to suit every business. Whether you have multiple offices and thousands of staff, or one office with three people.
Features of an auto attendant
While an auto attendant is a feature of a telephone system, it itself has many different features within it, allowing you to fully customise your telephone system to be just the way you like it.
These features include:
Direct to hunt groups
You can direct a caller to a hunt group. This allows multiple telephones to ring at once, or sequentially. For example, all the phones in your sales department will ring when option 1 is pressed.
Immediate extension dialling
Auto attendants allow users to direct dial an extension (or DDI number) when they call up. For example, if they know the number of Steve in support, they can call Steve’s phone directly from the auto attendant menu.
Overflow to number
You can set a custom overflow on your auto attendant to overflow to a specific number. So that if the user doesn’t know which option fits their query, their call is not dropped.
You can give callers a welcome message when they call, as well as announce that your telephone calls are recorded. For example “Thank you for calling Bytes Digital. Be aware that all of our telephone calls are recorded.”
With a night mode option, your system can be automatically switched to a different menu when you’re not in your office. For example, if your office closes at 5pm, then any callers after 5pm can be presented with a different menu, asking them to leave a message.
Why do businesses use auto attendants?
There are many reasons why businesses use auto attendants. Their large feature set and versatility make them a must have for most businesses. Here’s a few reasons why you might want to implement an auto attendant:
We know how important cost saving is to a business. You may not think it, but an auto attendant could save your business money. Rather than having an individual or a receptionist answer each phone call, you can directly pass each caller onto their correct department, eliminating the need for an on-sit receptionist.
Cut call wait times
If a caller is on hold for a long time, they can get frustrated and annoyed. However, an auto attendant can help reduce call wait times by delivering the caller to the department they need to get to quickly and efficiently.
Better caller experience
Callers that are presented with an auto attendant have a better, faster and simpler experience than speaking to multiple staff members and being passed around the telephone system.
More professional impression
With an auto attendant, your business gives a great first impression to all callers. It makes you seem professional and qualified. It also ensures that callers know they’ve called the right business.
Time management is an important part of business. If employees are taking too much time answering incoming calls, then they are distracted from their everyday role. With an auto attendant, you can free up lines and employees, allowing all calls to get to where they need to quickly.
How much does an auto attendant cost?
We’re under no illusion that an important part of any telephone system is the cost. Because an auto attendant is such an important feature, you might think that they’re costly.
However, with our VoIP telephone system, you can benefit from an unlimited number of auto attendants, absolutely free. This allows you to set up your system just the way you like it. You can have multiple menus, each pointing to different locations if you desire.
However, with an old-style PBX, an auto attendant may well cost your business money. Because PBX’s use outdated technology, they often cost more to buy, install and maintain. Often, one of the things that businesses need to pay for is an auto attendant.