The Truth About Auto Attendants and 7 Tips for Success

In the beginning (about 30 years ago) the auto attendant was created. Shortly after, we decided we didn’t need a real person answering the phone, and things started to get a little out of hand. Now the caller was responsible for getting to the right person or department based on the recorded information. In a society of instant gratification, wephone-operator didn’t want to listen to the list of options. But the auto attendant wasn’t going anywhere, and some were and still are downright confusing and painful to listen to. Some managers delegate the recording of the auto attendant to whoever draws the shortest straw. IS that the best solution? No! In fact, an Auto Attendant that drones on and on will probably lose customers or clients. What’s the old saying about not getting a second chance at a first impression? It’s true, the first impression will either open the door or close it.

Ok, so maybe all homemade auto attendants aren’t that bad, but we’ve suffered through a few that are darn close. It all boils down to how should a business phone be answered? For those that think the homemade auto attendant is fine, let us know “Laverne” is standing by. Oddly enough, we don’t get many requests for her. Hmmm…

Here are 7 tips about auto attendant systems:

  1. They are programmed by the company that provides the phone system; they must change the programming if you would like the director to be Option 1 instead of Option 2.
  2. Keep it simple – if you have more than 4 or 5 options, you’re going to lose folks or force them to “press 0.”
  3. Offer a “press 0” option – remember, the people calling you have or are trying to help you generate a business.
  4. Commit to the options and keep them.
  5. The voice should be clear and accent-free if possible – think mid-west accent.
  6. Professional voice artists are available to help you get a professional sound.
  7. Repeat the options twice or offer an option to replay the options! If you have more questions about auto attendants or how yours can be improved – just ask! We’ll be happy to help.

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