We are all challenged with making the best use of our time, including our clients and customers. Customers whose calls are handled quickly and efficiently are the happiest and most likely to refer others. Historically, businesses have employed receptionists to route calls. However, issues can arise when your receptionist is out sick, at lunch and when it is after hours. It would be most ideal to have a receptionist who worked 24/7 and could keep up with the high volume of calls you receive, but not many, if any, businesses today can afford that type of round-the-clock service. The good news is, there are now very affordable ways to provide this level of service utilizing technology.
Most businesses today are gravitating to the use of virtual receptionists or auto attendants to answer their calls, as this has quickly become one of the most sought-after features that cloud UC systems provide. Below is an outline of some of the benefits and best practices for using an auto attendant to answer your business’s calls.
The majority of calls that come into any given business are for business hours, location and directions. Instead of having a live receptionist provide this standard information, businesses are reaping the benefit of saving thousands of dollars utilizing their free auto attendant feature. By using an auto attendant, they are able to eliminate 20% of routine calls. Businesses can simply record a greeting that allows callers to be greeted promptly and hear the information they are seeking right away, without ever needing to touch the phone. This is a huge productivity and service boost for any business, allowing employees more time to better serve in-person customers.
Businesses today no longer need to rely on the professionalism and performance of individual employees, instead they can pre-define the level of professionalism and accuracy of the information their customers receive with professional sounding auto attendant greetings and straight-forward menu options. The best cloud UC systems provide employees with the ability to change and record their own individual auto attendant greetings on the fly through a secure, online customer portal like Broadview’s MyOfficeSuite. This type of control ensures a consistently positive customer experience is delivered with every single call, from every single employee.
The call volume for each business often varies by the time of day and season, depending on the type of business. With auto attendants, businesses don’t need to dedicate additional resources during peak busy times of the day or year. By simply customizing greetings and establishing answering rules based upon specific business hours or dates, calls can be answered over lunch breaks and throughout high season, without ever needing to alter employee schedules or bring on additional staff.
Not Just Flexibility, Continuity
Let’s face it, things happen, bad weather, power outages, illnesses and other events that prevent you or your employees from making it into your business. With a cloud-based auto attendant, you never have to worry about your calls being answered or who is physically available. Not to mention, cloud-based auto attendants re-direct calls to any other phone number, enabling off-site employees to receive important calls at home or on their mobile phone, ensuring business continuity in any circumstance. And, if a change is needed when the account administrator is out of the office, they have the flexibility to make changes to their auto attendant remotely from any device with an Internet connection through their online customer portal.
While callers are being re-directed, businesses are maximizing this time by advertising and promoting specials and new products for free with custom voiceover recordings. What better way to advertise specials and events than when customers are already engaged on the phone.
Streamlined Call Routing
Auto attendants filter and manage call flows, ensuring all calls are answered promptly and routed properly, so a better customer experience is provided. Businesses can automatically route callers to dial-by-name directories or customized menus so they reach the appropriate destination, whether that’s a specific employee or a department extension.
Keeping it Simple
Auto attendants can get a bad rap if they contain too many options, levels, or don’t offer a way to reach a “live” person. However, when designed properly, auto attendants can ease caller’s frustrations by directing them to the right person, team or information, in the most efficient way possible. The takeaway for successful auto attendant menus is to keep it simple, and always keep the callers experience in mind.
The use of auto attendants in businesses continues to increase, providing a fast, simple and intuitive method for answering and routing calls and leaving employees happier and customers better served. With call loads reduced and operational costs decreased, the benefits for businesses are undeniably high.