If your business is like many small businesses today, you might be considering a full-time receptionist. Sure, you could continue answering phones yourself, but with so much on your plate that means many of those calls end up on your voicemail. You’ll lose precious time redirecting calls. And if things are hectic, that first-point-of-contact may not be ideal, as you try to handle potential new customers between doing your other duties and putting out fires. Maybe the best thing to do is hire a dedicated receptionist?
BUT…then there’s the substantial cost involved. And unless you can make full use of his or her time, a receptionist may not be an efficient use of your operating budget.
Virtual Receptionists: Recorded Messages to the Rescue
An Auto Attendant or Virtual Receptionist is a great option for companies in this situation. It can help you hold the fort through your company’s growing pains. In fact, for many businesses, a friendly full-time Auto Attendant system will be all the receptionist they ever need.
Why an Auto Attendant?
You’ll obviously save money on hiring a dedicated receptionist. You won’t need to pay for additional direct inbound numbers. But beyond the cost savings, there’s many reasons to consider using an Auto Attendant:
- You ensure a consistent call answer. With Auto Attendants you can ensure every customer is greeted with the same message, and with the same level of professionalism. While a human might get tired of repeating the same message time after time, a recording is just as cheerful for the 100th caller as it is for the first.
- An Auto Attendant allows your customers to select where their call needs to be directed, leaving your staff more time to deal with questions that can’t be handled as easily.
- If you’re a smaller company that wants to look like a bigger business, Auto Attendant makes it easy. You can have multiple departments with extensions leading back to just one or two individuals.
If You Know the Extension of the Person You are Calling…
Pro tip: You don’t need to present every Auto Attendant option to all your callers.
You can provide an option for staff to bypass the phone menu and speak to someone directly. If you’ve got vendors or employees who need to regularly access to departments that aren’t customer-facing, they can still press an extension number to connect directly, without it being included in the voice menu. Just provide them with the extension number in their reference materials so they can have it handy.
This will also allow staff to retrieve their voicemail by phone while avoiding listening to that opening message every time they call.
Things to Remember
Try to keep the number of options in each auto attendant menu under four when possible. Give customers the information they need, and avoid ambiguity which might confuse them. And, in situations where the menu options may not be obvious, provide your customers with an “out” where they can talk to a live person or leave a message.
Need help getting started? Meridian Technical Services offers professional recording, ensuring your customers are greeted with a confident, trustworthy voice on first contact. We can also guide you in creating a list of menu options to maximize productivity and minimize lost calls.
For more about this exciting feature, and the wide range of features Meridian Technical Services has to offer, contact us today.