An efficient, well-planned auto attendant can help streamline your business and provide a valuable service to your callers. However, confusing prompts, inaccurate information and too many options leave callers frustrated, annoyed and even have them hanging up taking their business elsewhere. So it’s important to ask the question:
Does your auto-attendant serve your business or your callers?
While you don’t have to hire an outside company to create an effective easy to navigate auto attendant system, it helps if you know the major pitfalls and take a few pointers from the pros. So, we took the opportunity to share the most common mistakes businesses make when setting up their auto attendant…
Using Long-Winded Introductions – Callers have an objective. They know what they want, and they may even know who they need to speak with to get it. So, your auto attendant recording is not the time to share your company history or list your extensive service capabilities. Keep intros short and to the point and indicate that callers can dial the extension they want (if they know it) before providing the prompt options. This allows your callers to quickly be routed to the person/department they need!
Prompting Confusion – Most businesses use numerical prompts for their extensions (i.e. Dial 1 for Customer Service, Dial 2 for Sales, etc.) Listing extensions out of numerical sequence (i.e. Dial 4 for Customer Service, Dial 2 for Sales), is confusing to callers, and prompts them to hang up to listen to the options again, or not call back at all. Keep prompts simple and structured in a logical manner. Reserve ‘zero’ for the operator and allow callers to remain on the line to be connected with them. If you have more than 5 or 6 prompts, try to organize sub-prompts when possible to shorten the main greeting and keep your auto attendant as user-friendly as possible.
Impersonal Communication – While technology has made business dealings easier, more efficient, and faster, it’s still important to retain the personal element. It’s the little things that make lasting impressions on your callers, so don’t miss the mark. Provide a dial-by-name directory when possible, so callers can connect with specific individuals, and offer an option for callers to hear the options again and the ability return to the previous menu. It’s best if you keep these options static on every menu so callers know they can always press 8 to hear options again and 9 to return to the previous menu. If you don’t have a dedicated operator set up a ring group or ring all function when callers dial ‘zero’. A call to the operator for assistance should never go to voicemail during business hours.
Neglecting After Hours Callers – Your office is closed, but the lines are still open. So, provide callers with basic info and let them know that you appreciate their call and will return it during the next business day. Your after-hours greeting should contain the following:
- Listing of Regular Business Hours (in case they prefer to call back)
- The ability to dial extensions by name (if available) so they can leave a message for a particular department or individual
- An after-hours emergency number or web URL where they can access more information (if applicable)
- The ability for callers to leave a message in the general mailbox by simply remaining on the line (i.e. “to leave a message in our general mailbox press ‘0’ or wait for the tone…”)
Now that you know how to create an effective, caller-friendly auto attendant, you’re almost there! If you decide to do your own recording, make sure you write out the script and practice it aloud a few times. It’s also helpful if you have someone else read it to you so you can focus on how it sounds and identify any trouble spots before recording. When you are ready to record, choose a quiet space free from background noise, sit up straight, smile, and speak clearly to achieve the best read. If you are looking to take your auto attendant recording a step further, you may want to consider using a professional voice talent, provided by Business Audio Source. Our pro recordings will ensure a clear positive first impression every time a client calls. We’ll even review and help revise your script. If you need additional assistance contact us for more details. Stay tuned to our blog for more helpful phone and marketing tips from your friends at Business Audio Source!Share