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Two approaches to Business Phone Auto Attendants

Dave Haggblad - Monday, August 19, 2013 |

Your phone system is capable of advanced call processing well beyond what is suggested here and we will cover that in later posts. For now though, we suggest that you keep it fairly simple while you learn what the system can do for you. As always if you have a specific idea that you would like to try or need some help figuring out your call flow please give us a call.

Example of a Simple Auto Attendant

"You have reached Tel Tech Services, if you know the extension of the person you are calling dial it now, press the # key to search by first or last name, or dial 0 to be transferred to the receptionist."

  • Simple, quick to listen to, and easy to maintain
  • No menu options, this assumes the caller knows the extension or the name of the person they are calling. While early on callers may not know the extension this will get much better over time and you will find that callers enter the Auto Attendant and immediately dial the extension without waiting to hear all the options.
  • No need to update the auto attendant every time a name changes for an extension due to staff changes. As mailboxes are added/deleted the search data is updated automatically.
  • If the caller makes no choice, the call should still default to reception rather than looping around in ‘voicemail jail’

Example of an Extended Auto Attendant with CCR (Custom Call Routing)

"You have reached Tel Tech Services, if you know the extension of the person you are calling dial it now, press the # key to search by first or last name."

"Please select from the following options, or dial 0 to be transferred to the receptionist."

"Press 1 for Sales
  Press 2 for Service
  Press 3 for Accounting
  Press 4 for Shipping
  Press 5 for Company information such as address, fax number and hours of business.
  Or Press 0 to be transferred to the receptionist"

  • Callers pressing 1 would be transferred to an extension or a group of extensions (this is called a Hunt Group)….. or they might hear a further message such as “Dial 227 for Hardware Sales, 228 for Software Sales” or “Dial 227 for Bob Smith, 228 for Margaret Jones” (Note: avoid using names if you can as this can make keeping the recordings up to date a maintenance headache as people come and go from the company)
  • Callers pressing 2 would have similar treatment to pressing 1
  • Callers pressing 3 are immediately transferred to ext 233 (Jane Brown) since ext 233 is the only accounting person there’s no need to play a message.
  • Callers pressing 4 are put on hold while Shipping is paged (this is called Park & Page and will be covered in more detail in a future email)
  • Callers pressing 5 would hear “Our address is 000 Main Street…… we are open M-F 8-5, our fax number is 403-555-1234, our website is www.xxxx.com”

  • This type of call processing allows you to direct callers to the area they are interested in without having to have a person answer every call. A well designed call flow is quick and easy for the caller, avoiding menus that are many layers deep. Try to think of how to get the call where it needs to go in as few steps as possible.
  • If you use extension numbers in the sub menus rather than ‘Press 1 for Bob, 2 for Mary, then callers will quickly learn them and enter them immediately upon entering the system, speeding their call to it’s destination
  • Having an information mailbox that gives out your address, fax, hours of business etc provides this information 24 hours as day, without tying up a person.

The simplest way to design your Auto Attendant is to write out precisely what you want to happen.
A word processor using numbered lists and indenting works great, or just use a sketch pad.

Feel free to fax or email what you come up with to us for review/suggestions. Once it’s designed the way you want it you can even book a service call and one of our technicians will come out and help you set it up.


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