When asked to choose between a business telephone system with a generic answering machine and another with a full featured auto attendant that can direct your caller to the person they want to talk to, and a range of other features, what would you choose?
The obvious answer here should be the second option - a feature-rich telecommunications system with a full featured auto attendant. But from my experience, I can say that is not what everyone chooses.
Most business owners, surprisingly, choose a telephone system with a generic answering machine, and their callers feel frustration or abandon them for another supplier.
What should you choose?
To decide what kind of telephone system you need, ask yourself - what kind of experience would your clients want when they call you? What kind of experience would you want when you make a call?
With an answering machine, all that you can do is leave a message when the call is routed to voicemail. That is alright as long as you can wait for the other person to call you back. But what if you need to get through to the person urgently, in case of an emergency? Would you be happy to just leave a message and wait? Probably not.
At such times, you need an auto attendant that will answer the call and depending on the choice your caller makes, will take a message from you, route the call to your cell phone, perhaps send it to someone else that can help. Wouldn't that be better then a single choice of leaving a message?
Another reason why you want an auto attendant is so that the caller will not have to wait in a queue while waiting for someone to answer their call. A well designed auto attendant can reduce the load on your receptionist. They can answer more live calls because by going through the auto attendant many callers are able to easily get where they are trying to go without speaking to the receptionist. This leaves the receptionist free to answer callers that need help.
Your callers want to talk to you, not to an answering machine
When your clients call you, they only need to talk to you or the person concerned. So asking them to leave a message might not be the best option that you should be offering them. Installing a telephone system with an auto attendant is a wise thing to do for businesses as that gives the caller multiple options. Depending on how you set the attendant, your callers should be able to leave a message if they want you to call them back, have the call transferred to a specific extension number, or get the necessary information, like address or fax number...perhaps hours of business, directly from the auto attendant. That way, you don't decide the kind of experience your customers will have. You leave that choice to them and keep them happy.
If you have any questions about the auto-attendant feature in your phone, please get in touch with us.
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