Dress Your Phone System for Success: 3 Auto-Attendant Best Practices Every Business Should Embrace

Best PracticesWhen it comes to business, we’ve all been taught that first impressions matter. Whether it means walking into a client meeting dressed professionally or having a website that compels prospects to take the next step, how you present your business can literally make or break a sale. As Will Rogers once said, “You will never get a second chance to make a first impression.”

Among the most impactful ways to create a positive first impression is to tailor your phone system’s auto-attendant’s message, features and functionality to your callers. This touch point is often the first experience a potential customer has with your business. If your auto-attendant is professional and user-friendly, you’ll be that much closer to converting a prospect into a customer. On the flipside, if it’s confusing, overly verbose, or amateur-sounding, you’ll give callers a reason to take their business elsewhere.

Not sure how to make the most of your phone system’s auto-attendant? The following are three best practices which can help you create a professional first impression while enabling you to route your calls efficiently.

Prioritize Information Callers Want

Callers are dialing your business for a specific reason, and you probably have a good idea what these reasons are. Your auto-attendant message is not the place to promote your new product line or to provide a lengthy monologue about how your business started.

In general, auto-attendant messages only need to provide a few important details such as your business name and URL. From there, the goal is to direct the caller to the right extension by providing options. For after-hours and holiday auto-attendant messages, you may want to include your operating hours and address.

Most business communication experts will tell you that a phone system greeting shouldn’t exceed 75 words. Efficiency is key. For example, the prompt to “Press one for the sales department,” can be more concisely said “press one for sales.” As you write your auto-attendant message, focus on finding the most efficient way to state the most relevant information. Both first-time callers and repeat customers will appreciate this!

Keep Routing Options Limited and Logical

Of course, you want callers to be able to reach the person they are dialing. Yet, from their perspective, it can be downright irritating having to listen to a long list of options. For most businesses, there is no need to have a complex web of options and extensions. A single level with a few extensions is a smart phone system strategy.

Your menu of options also needs to be logical. The most requested options should come first, e.g. “press 1 for customer service, press 2 for sales, press 3 for billing. Every effort should be made to limit the number of options. Nine options is excessive and will cause some callers to repeat the message or even hang up. As well, you should always provide an option for callers to connect with a live person.

Align Your Phone System to Your Brand

The voice on your phone system will be most effective when it’s aligned with your business’s image. For example, callers dialing a law firm will respond positively to an auto-attendant message that communicates professionalism and confidence. Whereas, a dental office’s message should sound more friendly and nurturing to give potential patients a sense of comfort.

Interestingly, many businesses simply rely on someone in-house to record the auto-attendant greeting. Even if they have a golden voice that is perfect for your business, what will happen if and when they leave? This problem affects countless businesses, and it becomes very apparent to callers when they hear a patchwork of different voices on system recordings. A much safer bet is to choose a professional voice that you can return to time and time again to build consistency throughout your system. Virtual PBX has partnered with Snap Recordings specifically to streamline the process of managing, uploading, recording, and ordering professional messages.

Your auto-attendant is a valuable, image-promoting tool that will support your callers’ needs if it is optimized effectively. With a few best practices, your automated message and menu will speak volumes about your professionalism and desire to provide great service.

About the Author

Saul Ives is the VP of Business Development at Snap Recordings. As a leader in professional, studio-quality voice recordings for business phone systems, Snap Recordings offers more than 80 voice talents and multiple language options, along with a user-friendly, online ordering system. Learn more about Snap Recordings at http://www.snaprecordings.com/virtualpbx/

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