Is answering inbound calls taking up too much of your time and resources? You're not alone. Many small businesses feel like they're between a rock and a hard place. Hiring a dedicated employee to pick up the phone is costly, but not answering these calls could result in poor customer experience and lost business.
That's why more small businesses are adding auto attendants to their customer service arsenal to streamline communication workflows and save costs. Here's what you need to know to set up an auto attendant.
What is an auto attendant?
An auto attendant is an automatic system that answers inbound phone calls with pre-recorded messages. It also provides callers with menu options to obtain more information or get routed to the appropriate department for further assistance.
An auto attendant is like a virtual answering service. But instead of a live answering service, it leverages technology to improve the customer experience without the cost of using a call center or hiring a receptionist to pick up the phone 24/7.
How does an auto attendant work?
An auto attendant system typically consists of an Interactive Voice Response (IVR) component and an Automatic Call Distribution (ACD) function.
A customer first interacts with the IVR feature and selects from a menu (e.g., press 1 for sales, press 2 for customer service.) Then, the IVR passes the information to the ACD, which routes the call to an available agent in a specific department based on pre-defined rules.
You can use an online dial plan editor to map the call flows and make changes in real-time. The tool also allows you to set up wait times and direct calls to voicemail boxes or ring groups with just a few clicks.
The benefits of using an auto attendant
An auto attendant helps improve the customer experience while freeing your employees to focus on revenue-generating activities. You can easily manage fluctuating call volume (e.g., seasonal surges) and lower support costs. Here are the advantages of using an IVR and auto attendant:
- Improve the caller experience and nurture customer relationships with warm welcome messages and personalized voicemail greetings.
- Broadcast announcements and essential business information about your company automatically to reduce employee workload.
- Share company updates and valuable content to engage in-queue callers and keep them on the line while they wait.
- Use pre-recorded menus to direct callers to the appropriate agents to streamline the user flow and increase resolution rates.
If you have heard horror stories about installing and maintaining an on-premise IVR system and are reluctant to take the plunge, we have good news. Cloud-based auto attendant technologies are much more scalable, flexible, and user-friendly.
The subscription model allows you to pay as you go. You can scale your call-answering capabilities to meet fluctuating call volume without substantial upfront costs.
You can also integrate the platform with your existing tech stacks, such as a customer relationship management (CRM) system, so remote workers and distributed teams can deliver an impeccable customer experience 24/7.
How to set up an auto attendant
With GoTo Connect's advanced call routing technology to our hosted VoIP solutions, you can set up everything from customized call queues and business voicemail greetings to automatic directories and unlimited personalized messages using the user-friendly desktop or web app.
You can easily add customized messages to your call flow plans with the visual editor, save the updates, and make them effective immediately. Here's how:
- Create or edit a dial plan with our call flow editing tool on the online portal.
- Schedule as many call patterns as you want (e.g., a different routing logic during the holidays.)
- Drag and drop the "schedule node" to the dial plan to prevent dropped calls.
- Select a sound clip to play on the call flow.
- Customize wait times, voicemail boxes, etc.
- Enable extension dialing, build the call flow, and save the updates.
Do more with less: GoTo Connect custom auto attendant
GoTo Connect’s robust auto attendant goes above and beyond to help SMBs deliver a top-notch brand experience without the high price tag of an enterprise platform or hiring specialists to configure and manage the system.
Besides the basics, our advanced call flows allow you to forward calls and route callers to any extension, mobile, or outside line. You can also set up dedicated phone numbers with custom greetings and menu options to support marketing campaigns and promotions.
Learn more about our auto attendant feature and see how you can deliver an outstanding experience for inbound callers with minimal effort.