Make Your First Impression Count with Auto-Receptionist
We may be biased, but your phone system can be a pretty powerful thing… as long as you use it right.
Touching on some key features of an optimised phone system; you can use Time of Day rules to make sure your customers (and potential customers) are looked after 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 52 weeks a year. Employee mobility can ensure your team are accessible no matter where they are. Even choosing the right phone number is important. Your phone system can say a lot about your company, and implementing an Auto-Receptionist is a simple way to make sure you’re giving off the right impression to callers.
We’ve all been through it at some point – you’ve called a company to try to talk to somebody about your latest bill, to then have to sit and listen to 20 minutes of automated greetings and dial your way through 10,000 menu options, only to end up back at the beginning again! Nightmare. Luckily, with a properly designed phone system, automated menus and callflows don’t have to instill fear to your callers. Setting up an Auto-Receptionist on your company phone system can actually be a great way for you to automatically handle incoming calls, easily routing them to the correct people or departments, whilst ensuring your existing and potential customers get the best service and support you have to offer.
Your Auto-Receptionist is often the first interaction people will have with you so it’s important to get it right and make sure it reflects your company the way you want it to.
To give you a starting point, we’ve put together a few quick tips to help you make sure your Auto-Receptionist is working for you and your customers…
The first thing to consider is the initial greeting you want to present to customers – that very first sentence that they’ll hear before they even get into the menu options. This is the very first impression people have with your business, so make it count!
We recommend beginning with something like “Thank you for calling…” or “Welcome to…” to professionally introduce your company. This can also be reassuring to callers as they know immediately that they’ve dialled the right number!
You can also add your company tagline or other important information here – although keep it short and sweet, don’t make up slogans solely for this purpose and only include information that adds value. This is also the best time to let callers know that they can dial extensions directly if they know them.
Consider the menu options to present to callers to get them to different people or departments (this is the part where you hear something like, “For Sales, press 1…“). You’ll want to keep this to as few options as possible – callers will get frustrated listening to 17 choices to decide which is the best option for them, and likely won’t remember the choices by the time they get to the end. Keep menus as simple as possible – we’d recommend a maximum of 4/5 options. If you need more than this, you can always add in second-level menus after some options, although most small-to-medium sized companies won’t need more than the initial menu to get callers directed through the system.
Split your menu options into logical departments or options for both you and your callers; Make sure you can sensibly split these in terms of your teams, but don’t make them too complicated or specific so callers can’t work out the best option for them. You’ll also want to make sure you put the most common options first, so callers don’t have to listen to all other options if they’re after your most frequently dialled department. It’s not usually a good idea to list individuals by name, but rather list by departments/teams – not only is naming individuals a give-away as to the size of your team, but often callers won’t know the name of a specific person they need to talk to, but instead require a certain function, such as sales, or support.
Now you’ve got your options, you need to think about where you want each option to go when dialled. You’ll probably want menu options to go straight to a group of handsets or a certain team, but you may also have certain options that you want to send to a pre-recorded greeting or straight to voicemail – particularly if you’re considering your out of hours options.
Consider whether you need something different for outside of business or office hours. You might want a different greeting to let callers know you’re closed or that certain functions aren’t operating, and you might want certain menu options to operate slightly differently. You could divert your support calls to support team mobiles for example, or send your marketing callers straight to voicemail.
Once you’ve got your script / requirements planned, you’re ready to get your Auto-Receptionist all set up. Do a final check to make sure it’s as optimised and simple as it can possibly be for your callers. Then hit record…
If you’re using text- to-speech for your automated greeting and menu options, make sure it reads well and words (particularly names!) are pronounced correctly. Remember that text-to-speech reads exactly what is written, so if you don’t put any pauses in, you won’t get any out. [Handy Hint: If you want to include your web address, make sure you spell out the “dot” in your domain, otherwise you’ll get a pause instead!]
If you’re recording yourself, or if you’re getting a personal recording, make sure this is friendly and approachable, as well as clear to understand, free of hesitations and mispronunciations. It may take a couple of attempts, but it will be worth it!
First impressions count. Setting up an Auto-Receptionist is a really easy way to give your phone system a professional edge, so it’s worth the time making sure its set up right. Follow our few simple steps and you’ll be well on your way to achieving a fully optimised phone system. We’re always here to help, if you have any further questions, please contact our System Architects who will be more than happy to help answer any of your VoIP queries.