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Auto attendants are one of the most common call management tools in the business world. Once installed, callers can use their dial pad to direct them through a pre-recorded directory. It also greets callers with a pre-recorded message.
Whilst a straight forward concept, many businesses fail to utilise their auto attendant properly. What’s more, they can fall into bad practice. A poorly implemented auto attendant creates a negative experience for callers, leading to a bad reputation with customers/clients.
With the holiday period now upon us it is the perfect time to review your auto attendant. Here are some brief guidelines you can follow to ensure your auto attendant isn’t a pain point for any customers, clients, or service users who call.
Just as your automated message and menu should be brief and to the point, it should also be simple. Your menu should be understandable and easy to navigate. If your callers are spending more than a few seconds working through a labyrinth of dial options, or find themselves unable to locate the option they need, they’re not going to be happy.
Ensure the automated menu leads with the highest traffic destinations, and keep the option to dial into a specific extension/central reception early on in the menu. Break your menu down into easy to follow categories for callers to navigate through. Remember, nobody wants to listen to an entire org chart every time they call.
Auto attendants are used to provide basic information to callers. This may include opening hours, or the company website. Save everybody’s time be placing the answers to these common questions first. Callers will be frustrated if they have to listen to information that isn’t relevant to them before connecting. This is especially true for regular customers or clients who phone in often. Keep the time between picking up and menu navigation as brief as possible, and use it to convey only that information that is critical/relevant to most callers.
Some businesses do employ an auto attendant to convey promotions and pitches. Always remember why somebody is calling in. It’s because they need assistance or have a query. Nobody phones a business to be marketed to.
If you’re going to use your auto attendant for a sales message it’s important to ensure that message is brief. The best way to employ an auto attendant as a sales tool is with a short, snappy message followed by a direction to press a key to hear more information.
A positive caller experience can define your reputation for providing good customer service. When used correctly, an auto attendant can be a key tool in creating this. When used incorrectly, however, navigating through them to speak to a human being can be a frustrating experience.
Stick to the general principle that the automated part of any phone call made to your business should be short, clear, and simple. It shouldn’t take up a large percentage of the call, as callers prefer speaking to human beings. Being clear means both in terms of the recording quality (no muffling or background noise), and any instructions given for navigating the menu. Finally, keeping it simple means avoiding long, hard to follow directories or non-essential messages.
Your auto attendant is there to connect callers to who they want to talk to quickly and efficiently. A badly implemented auto attendant can be a pronounced pain point for customers and clients. Hopefully this has provided a few thinking points when reviewing yours for the coming year.