When you first start a business, incoming phone calls are relatively easy to manage. You might answer the phone yourself a few times a day to answer frequently asked questions or to support a customer.
But what about when your business grows so significantly that you have specialized teams that need to take certain calls, and trying to direct them through a receptionist only slows things down? You find your administrative assistant spending more time saying “please hold, we’ll be with you in a minute” than doing anything else as they try to keep up and field all calls.
Once you get so many calls that they’re coming in while you’re still on the phone with the last customer, things can get bogged down.
This is where an auto attendant comes in to save the day. In this post, we’re going to discuss how auto attendants are game-changers for small businesses and how you can get started with one.
What Is An Auto Attendant?
When you call some businesses, you’ll automatically hear the voice of what’s essentially a digital receptionist. This is an automated messaging system that greets you, thanks you for calling, and asks you to listen to the following menu so that your call can be appropriately directed.
Some auto attendants are relatively simple, while others can have complex menu options.
A local doctor’s office, for example, might ask you to “press 2” for appointment scheduling, and 3 for prescription refills, and a staff member picks up the phone right away. A large corporation, on the other hand, might have up to 9 different menu options, and once a choice is made, they might even ask you to choose from sub-menus within your original selection.
Auto attendants can save you and your customers time, so let’s take a look at a few key ways that they’re so useful to small businesses.
They’ll Route All of Your Calls for You
Auto attendants are designed to sort customer calls and ensure that the right team members are able to show up on the other end of the line.
If someone calls a bank wanting to ask about a car loan, for example, it doesn’t make sense to have a security specialist answering the phone who would be better off working with customers who believe their accounts have been hacked into.
A huge advantage of auto attendants is that they’re able to do this for multiple callers at the same time. You don’t need one or two receptionists directing callers; your auto attendant can handle as many incoming calls as it needs to.
It’s a Cost-Saving Opportunity
Receptionists can be an expensive cost for small businesses. If you’re only hiring a receptionist or administrative assistant solely to direct calls, an auto attendant is likely a better option.
Instead of spending tens of thousands a year on an employee’s pay, benefits, and taxes only for them to be available five days a week, your auto attendant will likely come as a built-in feature with virtual phone systems like Tresta and work 24/7.
You Can Create a Customized Greeting to Fit Your Brand
Auto attendants start their interaction with customers by welcoming them and typically thanking them for calling. This is called the “greeting,” and it’s most effective when you tailor it specifically to your brand.
Your auto attendant allows you to record custom greetings for your brand. And remember, when you’re ready for the greeting to change (or if you want to switch it up seasonally or for big events), it’s easy to do this at any point in time.
Auto Attendants can Help You Seem Established
Even if your business is running on a small team, using certain technology helps you look more professional.
Most people associate auto attendants with professional, credible, and established businesses. The thought is that they only have an auto attendant because there are so many calls coming in that you need a feature like this to manage them all. This can help to build trust early on.
It’s Easy to Scale As Your Business Grows
Your business will likely expand over time. This is typically the goal, after all.
Even if it feels far away that you’d need to have the option for extensive call navigation features, it might come sooner than you think. It’s always a good idea to choose a system from the beginning that will scale well with your business as it grows so that you’re not scrambling to do so once it’s already too late.
Right now, you might only need a single option for customer service calls. Later, however, you might divide these up further into “Help with an order,” “Didn’t get my refund,” or “Product questions.”
Auto attendants can improve the customer experience, helping them connect to the right team member faster, and it can save you a significant amount of time and money in the process. They’re also exceptionally easy to set up, especially when you’re using the right tool.
Virtual phone systems like Tresta come with features like auto attendants, which you can customize at any point in time and adjust as needed. Interested in learning more about auto attendants? Check out our help article for best practices and tips on how to make the most of an auto attendant for your business.