As your business grows and your customer service calls increase, an automated attendant can offer a reliable and efficient way to route calls to your team. A phone call is often the first impression a new potential customer receives from your business, so how those calls are managed can directly impact your sales. With a professionally recorded greeting and automatic routing system, you can be sure your business calls are being handled exactly how you want them to be.
In this article, you’ll learn how in a few simple steps, you can create a virtual auto receptionist that routes calls to departments and employees in any location, on any device.
What is an auto attendant?
An automated attendant is a phone feature that greets callers with menu options on their keypad. Once the caller makes a selection for where they want to be directed, the attendant system automatically routes the call to the desired party.
As consumers, we interact with auto attendants on a regular basis. When you call a service provider or merchant, you’re typically greeted by a voice prompting you to make a selection from their menu options by pressing a key on your touch tone telephone. Typically the options will be to speak to sales, customer service, or a live operator. Based on your selection, you’ll then be routed to the appropriate person or department.
An automated routing system is an efficient tool for organizations, as it works around the clock to distribute incoming calls to the right place without human intervention.
Attendant systems are also known as phone menus.
What are the benefits of using an auto attendant?
An auto attendant is a critical component of any business phone system, particularly for companies with customer service and call center needs. The benefits include:
- Reducing costs on operators and virtual receptionists
- Delivering better customer service experiences
- Freeing up employees' time to focus on more important work
You can do more with an automated attendant than just have a greeting that sends calls to employees. You can add more call management tools like a search-by-name company directory, call waiting queues, hold music, and much more.
How to create an auto attendant in 5 steps
Telzio offers internet based business phone service that makes it easy to create and manage auto attendant services. With Telzio, you can personalize your business phone system without any heavy lifting. The auto attendant feature is included with the service at no additional cost, and can be personalized and ready to go within a few minutes.
Once you’ve created a Telzio account and you’re logged into the Telzio website, setting up an auto attendant is easy using Telzio Call Flows. Here's how it's done.
1. Choose a phone number
First step is to determine which phone number you want routed through your auto attendant. You can have multiple numbers forward to the same auto attendant if you have more than one business or campaign.
Telzio offers a massive inventory of phone numbers you can choose from, and you can also port your existing numbers from your current carrier. We offer local numbers, toll free numbers, and vanity numbers from 60+ countries.
Next, you'll create the settings for your auto attendant.
2. Record a greeting
After you've decided on what you want your greeting to say, you can have it professionally recorded or simply record it yourself.
There are three ways you can add a greeting:
- Upload your greeting as an audio file.
- Record your greeting directly through your browser using your computer mic.
- Type in your greeting using our text-to-speech tool.
With Telzio's user-friendly interface, you can easily update your greeting anytime.
3. Create menu options
Next you'll create a phone menu corresponding to the greeting you just created. This is where the visual UI in Telzio makes creating an auto attendant a breeze. If you present your callers with 3 options, you simply mark 1, 2, and 3 in the Telzio UI. Each option creates an additional path in your call flow, where you can implement additional call routing features such as a queue, hunt group, or company directory.
4. Add call routing rules
Once your caller has selected an option in your phone menu, you can create routing rules to dictate where the call goes and how it's filtered. Telzio offers a suite of useful features to help you filter and route calls, including:
- Business hours - route calls based on employee schedules and opening hours
- Call Queues - keep callers on hold until the next agent is available
- Hold Music - upload custom hold music with on-hold messages
- Hunt Groups - ring employees or groups in a certain order
Learn more about all the calling features included with Telzio.
5. Choose phones
With Telzio, you can route calls to employees on desk phones, computers, and mobile devices.
- VoIP Phones - Purchase preconfigured desk phones and cordless phones from our shop. Not sure which phone is right for you? Check out our post What is the best VoIP phone for a small business?
- Telzio Webphone - Use our web-based softphone to make calls directly through your browser. There's no installation required.
- Telzio Mobile App - Route calls to employees on their mobile devices so they can field calls from any location. There's no additional cost to add users with Telzio. Learn more about Telzio Users.
Should my business have an auto attendant?
One of the great frustrations of calling a business is getting an IVR. IVR, or Interactive Voice Response, is that automated interaction that you will hear when you call any big business. Too often customers don’t like having their time wasted when they hear this, but there are good reasons why your business should have IVR or a Phone Menu.
Efficiently Route Callers
It used to be that businesses had a whole staff of people who would serve as switchboard operators. The advantage is that you would talk to the reassuring voice of a human being, and be transferred to the line that you needed. Since it is far less expensive to use a phone menu, switchboard operators are no longer needed. Your first sign that you need an auto attendant is when you discover that having one person answering the phone all day just isn’t enough.
After all, many people who call your business should know the exact person that he or she should talk to. Therefore, using a menu that greets the caller with “if you know the extension, please enter it at any time” is very useful.
Once you have set up your auto attendant system, people in your business can have their extensions on their business cards. A cloud based phone menu can send the caller to a mobile phone line as well as the businesses VoIP line. VoIP phone systems offer functionality and flexibility that make it easy for your customers to reach you anywhere.
Provide Callers with Quick Information
In addition to phone menus that can direct a caller to the right person, sometimes a caller only needs a single piece of information. Chances are, you might have called the bank to check on your account balance, or the airline to check on a flight arrival, or a business to check for the address or opening hours. This might be information that can be checked online from a computer or smartphone, but some people may only have access to their phone and not the Internet, so they need the confirmation. A phone menu should be there for them, and just having this feature available shows that you care about their needs.
Elevate Your Image
An auto attendant also lends a certain air of prestige to the company. Callers who hear an automated greeting know that the company is big enough to require an IVR system, so this creates an image that the company is doing very well for itself.
If your business is at the point where you need an automated phone system, you should check and make certain it is set up for:
If you want to simplify this process, consider Telzio, where you can easily set up all those features.
Customize your own auto attendant in less than 5 minutes
Create a free trial account with Telzio now to personalize your own auto attendant. You'll be provided with a live test number that you can keep or swap out when you're ready to move forward.
We've already created a default auto attendant with your company name that you can start using right when you log in. It takes less than 5 minutes to be up and running.
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.