Voip & Unified Communications f Matthew DeCarlo hApril 17, 2019

Auto-Attendants: Maintenance Tips & Best Practices

Although there are obvious benefits to having an auto-attendant, many (if not most) people would still prefer to communicate with a human instead of a machine. Any negative feelings about your automated answering system will only be exacerbated if it provides information that is outdated, unhelpful or downright erroneous. Beyond simply damaging a customer’s impression of your company, it could easily cost you business.

Statistics have shown that the quality of customer service is increasingly important to people. When 70% of consumers are willing to spend more to be loyal to a company they've had a good experience with, poor service could be costing your business.

Customers are willing to abandon a company after having a bad experience with auto-attendants or interactive voice response systems or live representative for that matter. They’re also more eager than ever to share this poor experience with friends, family and the world at large courtesy of social media and other online platforms.

While auto-attendants may seem like a feature that is exclusive to larger businesses or those that utilize call center software, it’s common for smaller outfits to have one in place, even if they have a live receptionist. An auto-attendant phone system is useful for times when you have too much call volume for your representative to handle, when the office is closed, representatives are on break, or to offload more monotonous duties from your receptionist.


What’s The Difference Between Auto-Attendants & IVRs?


What is an Auto-Attendant?

An automated attendant (aka phone trees, auto-attendant, auto-receptionist, etc.) routes incoming calls to the correct agent or extension. An auto-attendant phone system is “dumb,” in the sense that all it can do is route calls. The auto-attendant can have many different parameters (such as day/night mode), but a call’s final destination is a call queue or a mailbox.

An auto-attendant phone system also plays hold/connect music while it hunts.


What is an IVR (Interactive Voice Response)?

These are advanced auto-attendants with more capabilities for input and response. An IVR is great for handling automated tasks that involve numbers and simple yes/no answers. For example, if you call your credit card company, you can pay by phone by entering the numbers in your checking account. Or you might follow up a tech support call with a survey on a scale of 1-5 of how well your call went.  Mitel promises to leverage Google-developed AI (Artificial Intelligence) for presenting your customers with relevant information more quickly so keep an eye on our Mitel reviews.


Checklist: Keeping Auto-Attendants Updated



Rapid Fire: Best Practices For Configuring An Auto-Attendant Phone System



Auto-Attendants Convey Professionalism


Despite the increasing trends for people to engage with businesses through new online channels, phone calls are statistically the most common way that customers make contact with companies for the first time. This first point of contact is crucial for establishing a strong impression and ultimately earning someone's business. Configuring your auto-attendant with information that is up-to-date, helpful and respectful of people's time is a great step toward demonstrating the professionalism of your organization, whether that's a small business or enterprise operation.

Avoid common the most common mistakes businesses make when configuring auto-attendants by following our rules for the perfect script.

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