Need an automated telephony service to help you manage business calls? Learn how an auto-attendant works and how your business can use one effectively.
What is an Auto-Attendant?
Auto-attendant refers to a telephony service wherein a voice menu system answers incoming calls and transfers callers to the appropriate extension without the help of an operator or receptionist. Other terms for auto-attendant include automated attendant, digital receptionist, and interactive voice response (IVR).
How Does an Auto-Attendant Work?
The automated attendant can be understood as an automated call answering system that helps transfer incoming calls while providing callers with general information about the company and its services. But the main point of an auto-attendant is to manage incoming calls effectively so callers are not left confused or arrive at the wrong agent or department. An auto-attendant may have the following features to ensure better call management:
- Greeting messages
- Business information (office hours, location, list of services, etc.)
- Automated company directory (with extensions for users and employees)
- Call transfer and routing options
- Menu prompts such as Repeat, Exit, Speak to Representative, Operator
Auto-Attendant vs IVR: What is the Difference?
The terms auto-attendant and IVR are often used interchangeably. However, there are a few differences between these services. The main difference is that the interactive voice response system is a more advanced system with additional features.
Auto-attendants route and transfer incoming calls so customers don’t wait in queue for long. And if waiting is required, then hold music is played. IVR systems include more smart features. For instance, IVR systems have voice recognition that enables callers to speak or say what they need instead of pressing a button on their keypad. This way, callers are not limited to the set menu available and can explain the reason for their call better.
Additionally, the IVR system can collect information about the customer and route calls accordingly or inform the agent beforehand. This includes account numbers, customer IDs, and so on. As such, the IVR can prepare the appropriate agent before they proceed to assist the customer. Furthermore, the IVR’s self-help menu allows for callers to complete certain actions and tasks without needing an agent. For example, the IVR can assist callers in paying bills, checking one’s account balance information, scheduling appointments, and so on.
3 Benefits of Using an Auto-Attendant
So, what does an auto-attendant do and how can your business benefit from such a service? Automated attendants or IVR systems have countless benefits that support call management and improve caller experience. Here are some of the top benefits of using an auto-attendant:
1. Effective Call Management
Since calls can be automatically distributed based on set rules, callers reach the appropriate department or agent quickly and accurately. This is especially useful for businesses that have large call volumes and struggle with answering calls effectively.
2. Increased Productivity and Efficiency
You can study your customers’ needs and preferences and customize your auto-attendant to provide them with more useful options and reduce wait times. Additionally, you will also reduce the number of times agents receive calls that are not related to their department, increasing efficiency and productivity.
3. Cost Savings
With smart call routing, you will not need a secretary or receptionist working to manage your calls. Your company can save on hiring extra staff and place more emphasis on improving customer experience.
Where Can I Get an Auto-Attendant?
You can get an auto-attendant from virtual phone number providers like United World Telecom. Speak with our experts to learn more; call us at 1 (877) 898 8646 to get started today!