A Phone Menu Can Make or Break Customer First Impressions

A phone menu is good for small businesses because it can sound more professional, but it all depends on how you use it. A caller’s first impression can mean the difference between a new or lost customer. Before you set up your phone system, an important question to ask is how you want to greet your customers.

Phone menus, or IVR (interactive voice response) menus, are automated greetings that direct callers to use their keypad and route calls based on the caller’s selection (i.e. “Press 1 for sales, press 2 for billing, etc.). If you want to start with a professional greeting, one consideration is choosing a voice over artist.

Choosing a Voice Over Artist 

Fiverr has a variety of voice over artists to choose from, for recording services starting at just $5. You can browse through profiles of the best voice overs, and choose based on male/female, accents, mood and ratings/recommendations.

Once you decide on a voice over artist, you can send them the script for your greeting and get it back in a file to upload right into your phone system. The script will provide callers with instructions on how to “interact” with your phone menu and guide them to the right place. An updated script can also provide callers with current information on your product or service.

Assigning Phone Menu Options

In a phone menu, each number on the keypad can be assigned to direct callers to another function or destination such as:

  • another phone menu
  • voicemail
  • a conference call
  • a desk phone or softphone
  • another phone number

How to create a phone menu that’s not annoying

There are endless possibilities on how you can set up a phone system. Here are a few tips on how to provide a more pleasant caller experience:

Be efficient. Keep the recording concise by having no more than 4 phone menu options in the initial menu and no more than 3 menu prompts before reaching a person or destination.

Be clear. Use as few words as possible, avoid using technical or industry specific terms, and be consistent. Use the same voice over artist so you can have a consistent persona across your brand.

Be patient. Don’t disconnect callers because they need more time to respond. The most annoying thing you can do is make them call in and repeat their actions all over again. Telzio provides a “Timeout” feature that allows you to select the number of seconds callers have to respond before repeating the instructions again.

Directing Incoming Calls

The purpose of the phone menu is to greet your callers and forward calls to the right place. Here are a few options on how to direct incoming calls:

Forward Calls to a Receptionist
If you have a receptionist or an auto attendant, you can offer your callers the option to bypass the phone menu and speak directly to an operator. You can do this by designating a number on the keypad for operator, (i.e. Press 0 at anytime to reach the operator) and forwarding calls from there to any phone number or user.

Connect to the First Available Agent
Suppose you have a team of sales agents and you want incoming calls to a specific line or menu option to call those agents directly. You can set the incoming calls to dial each agent in sequential order, or dial them all at the same time for the first available agent to answer.

Set Opening Hours
Calls can be treated differently at certain times of the day by setting opening hours before or after a phone menu. If you have agents in different time zones or shifts, you can set up different phone menus with the appropriate call forwarding details.

The most important function of a phone system is to manage your incoming calls, whether it’s to guide callers through phone menu options or to forward calls directly to a live person. The benefit of using a phone service provider like Telzio is that you have the power to design the phone menu any way you like and make changes anytime online by simply clicking and dragging around the features. To design a free phone menu, get a free trial here: telzio.com/trial.

Jennifer is part of the content marketing team at Telzio, providing insight and tips on how Telzio can be used to optimize business communications and customer service.