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Things Your Auto Attendant should NOT do

Dave Haggblad - Monday, September 01, 2014 |

Do not do these things in your auto attendant Automation is essential for saving time, reducing costs, and enhancing the efficiency of your business. However, tools such as an ‘Auto-Attendant’ for your business phones could also end up having a negative impact on your brand if not handled correctly.

The common use of Automated Attendants began in the 1990s. Since then, it have been increasingly utilized for processing incoming business phone calls in an efficient manner with a view to reduce operating costs. Yet, there has been a dramatic rise in customer frustration and dislike with regards to the use of auto-attendants. 

Here are some common complaints we hear about auto-attendants that you should make sure you set up your system to avoid, so you don't frustrate your callers:

Extremely long greetings

It is very important not to make your customer greetings long, since nobody has the time to listen to them. Callers usually require some sort of information (billing, sales-related, or order placement details) or technical support, and often do not need to be given such long greeting messages that can cause them to get irritated and hang up. Give them a short list of options and let them get where they want to do.

Putting customers on hold for a long time

This is one of the biggest mistakes made in the use of auto-attendants. Putting customers on hold with music or repeated advertising messages is reported to be one of the most frustrating features of auto-attendants and most certainly should be avoided.

Asking for personal data screening

Many times, auto-attendants demand the caller to punch in some personal information such as an account number before the call is transferred to an agent. This is often disliked by customers who are repeatedly asked to key in the same information until the agent finally takes the call, only to be asked by the agent for that same information!

Making things complicated

Most of the companies or business organizations do not require a complicated menu system for their auto-attendants. Callers hate to listen to dozens of options, chose the most relevant one and then be presented with another menu to pick from. More than two levels of menu selection for auto-attendants is never a good idea...one level is ideal. Press 1 for Sales....2 for Service....3 for Shipping....

Customers don’t like voicemail

The voicemail system is a great communication tool in itself, but not the best feature for an auto-attendant. After being addressed by the auto-attendant for so long, customers would much rather speak to an operator instead of leaving a voice mail message.

Neglecting human assistance first

It is highly recommended that you do not leave the dial '0' option as the last one for your caller. Why not make it the first option! It might mean more work for the operator, as people tend to dial it immediately, but those same people were likely going to dial 0 anyways.  Leaving that option until the end leaves the impression that you don't want to talk to them.  So let those that want to speak to a person do so as soon as possible, and let those that want to self-navigate listen to the rest of the options.


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