Why is an Auto Attendant Important?



An auto attendant is a system that answers incoming calls and directs them to the appropriate person, department, or voicemail. The system can also be used to provide information about your company, including hours of operation and directions to the office.

How Does an Auto Attendant Work?

The system connects callers to an automated voice response (AVR) system. The caller hears instructions on how they should proceed with their call. For example, they might hear “Press 1 for sales.” If they press 1, they’re connected to a sales representative’s desk phone. If they press 2, they’re transferred to the sales department’s voicemail inbox.

You can set up multiple options for callers based on their needs or preferences. You could ask them if they need help with a product or service or want to speak with someone about a specific item, such as a warranty claim or return policy.

Virtual attendants are available in a variety of forms, including the following;

  • Phone tree: The most common type of virtual attendant is a phone tree. Phone trees allow callers to navigate the different menu options by pressing buttons on their phones. The most common types of phone trees include two-button and three-button systems.
  • IVR system: IVR (interactive voice response) systems use an automated voice that guides callers through their options. The most common type of IVR system is one that uses touchtone keys instead of buttons on your phone.

What are the Features of an Auto Attendant?

  • Incoming call answer: Automatic attendants can be set up to answer incoming calls, direct them to the appropriate department within your company, and transfer calls between departments. The system can also be used for call routing – for example, if you have multiple phone lines and want to know which one is ringing. The auto attendant can even be used for call screening. For example, if you want to know who is calling before you pick up the phone or take the call out of your office.
  • Greeting messages: An auto attendant lets you greet callers with custom messages that will play when they first dial your number. These greetings allow you to give specific information about your business or offer promotions that may be relevant to current customers. For example, a retail store might use an auto attendant greeting message to let callers know that they have new inventory available, or a restaurant might use one to advertise daily specials.
  • Call routing: Call routing allows callers to choose where they want their calls routed based on their needs or preferences. For example, a caller may be able to choose between different departments, such as customer service and sales, or they might be able to choose their language preference, either English or Spanish, or any other available option.
  • Prompts: Prompts are instructions that tell callers what they need to do next. They should be clear and easy to understand so customers don’t get frustrated while waiting on hold.
  • Transfer options: Transferring calls between departments can be tricky, especially if you have several departments with different numbers or if you’re trying to transfer a caller back into your department after transferring them out, such as customer service transferring a customer back into sales. An auto attendant should make transfers as easy as possible by providing clearly labeled buttons and messages that explain how long each transfer will take and when the caller will be connected with someone else.
  • Navigation: Each option that follows the greeting should provide instructions for navigating throughout your phone tree. For example, if you have three different departments in your company and you want callers to reach any one of them at any time during business hours, then you would have three options after the greeting, such as “Press 1 for sales,” “Press 2 for customer service,” and so on.

General business information announcements

An auto attendant is a system that routes incoming calls to the appropriate department. The system can be programmed to announce general business information and direct callers to the appropriate extension, or it can be programmed with specific information for each extension. An auto attendant can also be used as a voice mail system, allowing callers to leave messages at any time of day.

Businesses that Use Auto Attendants

Auto attendants are used for several different types of businesses. They can be used for:

  • Call centers: Auto attendants are very useful in call centers because they allow customers to navigate through the phone tree to find the right department or representative. This saves time as it eliminates the need for agents to transfer calls manually, saving them time and effort.
  • Small businesses: Small businesses often use auto attendants to direct callers to the correct person or department directly from their phones when no one is available to answer them. If you have a small business but still want some level of customer service, an auto attendant may be your best option for keeping customers happy while also saving you money on hiring additional employees.
  • Schools: Schools are busy places, and answering the phone is not a core competency of most teachers, nor should it be. Schools have a lot going on, with standardized testing, curriculum changes, and parent-teacher conferences to juggle.
  • An auto attendant can help streamline the call flow for a school. It allows the staff to focus on what they do best: teaching kids how to read, write, and calculate. An auto attendant does everything else for them.
  • Medical practices: Auto attendants can also be used by medical practices and offices to direct patients calling in with questions to the right department or staff member. This helps streamline operations and ensures that patients get help quickly and efficiently. A receptionist can quickly access information about each patient through his computer system without interrupting the physician’s schedule.

Key Takeaway

An auto attendant is a computer-based telephone system that directs incoming calls to appropriate extensions, queues, or departments. It uses a pre-recorded announcement system that asks callers to enter their desired extension or department. It can also be used as an answering service.

Auto attendants are commonly used in businesses with a high volume of calls and multiple departments or extensions. They are particularly useful when there is a need to direct calls to different departments without the caller having to wait on hold for an operator.

Angela is a senior editor at Dreniq News. She has written for many famous news agencies.