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Auto-Attendants: Everything You Need to Know

“Auto-attendant” is a term you’ll often hear associated with phone systems. They’re a tremendously useful tool that can be customized to help businesses of all shapes and sizes. We’ve written this to explain the function of an auto-attendant, how it can help your business communicate, and how to configure a Tresta auto-attendant in just a few steps.  

What is an auto attendant?

In the simplest terms, it’s exactly as the name implies: an automated attendant for your phone. You’ve probably dealt with one in the past: Have you ever called your pharmacy and heard “Thank you for calling. To ask about a prescription, press 1. To speak to an associate, press 2”? That was an auto-attendant. It answers calls, plays a pre-recorded greeting, and gives the caller options to route their call. The caller presses the corresponding number on their dialpad and their call is routed—that’s it.

Within that function, however, lie a ton of options for quickly getting your caller where they want to be. Each routing option in your auto attendant can send your caller just about anywhere you want: a certain person (in Tresta, that’s called a user), a department (user group), a forwarding number, or even a submenu or another auto-attendant (“Press 5 for more options.”).

Schedules can also be assigned as an auto-attendant menu option. This means the call will be routed to different locations depending on what time it is according to the schedule you’ve set. For example: If your salespeople work different schedules (one in the morning and one in the evening), your sales call schedule could route to the correct salesperson from the same phone number depending on the time of day. When added to your auto-attendant, the option to “Press 2 to speak with a salesperson” would route accordingly. Once it’s set up, your callers will reach the right person every time.

One example of how an auto-attendant can be configured. Routing options can also include schedules, greetings, voicemail, or other auto-attendants.

How can it help my business?

Your auto-attendant is often the first interaction a potential customer will have with your business, making it an excellent opportunity to set the tone for the call and convey the image you want your business to have. An auto-attendant ensures every call plays out similarly, meaning new callers get a stress-free experience and returning callers know what to expect. This is more important than you might think—callers don’t want the most delightfully pleasant phone experience, even if they might think they do—they want the easiest experience. An auto-attendant helps you provide that, which makes your business seem bigger and more professional.    

How to configure your Tresta auto-attendant

It’s easy! Just follow these steps: 

  1. Sign in to your Tresta web app at tresta.com
  2. In the menu on the left-hand side of the Settings tab, click “Auto-Attendants” under System Settings
  3. Click the red “+Add Auto-Attendant” button in the top-right corner.
  4. A new, blank auto-attendant will appear with a generic title. Click the title to edit it.   
  5. To upload or record your voice prompt or greeting, click the gray speech bubble icon in the top right corner of the box containing the auto-attendant title. From there, prompts you’ve already uploaded will appear in the drop-down menu. To record or upload a new prompt, select either one in the box under the drop-down. Give your recording a title, then click “Apply”.  
  6. To add menu items, click one of the number buttons labeled “Unused”. Give your menu item a name, then click the option type you’d like to add: Audio File, Auto-Attendant, Forwarding Number, Schedule, Submenu, User, User Group, or Voicemail. For any of these types, you’ll have the option to either select ones you already have from a drop-down menu or create a new one by clicking the link. Once your menu item is in place, click “Save.”  
  7. Once you’ve added all the menu items you need, click “Save” in the top-right corner, and your auto-attendant is ready. To put it in place, simply assign it to the appropriate phone number in the Phone Numbers section of System Settings.  

As always, you can call (844)2-TRESTA for more help.

This post is part of our series on Tresta features. Click here for the rest of our Tresta feature guides!