Optimize call flow for a great service experience
What is an Auto Attendant?
An auto attendant, also known as “automated attendant,” “AA,” or virtual receptionist” is a telephony feature that allows callers to be transferred to an extension based on their selection from a menu, without help from a live operator or receptionist. Most auto attendants offer simple choices, such as “press 1 for sales, press 2 for service, etc. They also often offer the option to reach a live operator by pressing “0” and may include a “dial by name” directory feature. Calls can be transferred to individual extensions, ring groups or hunt groups.
Are auto attendants useful or annoying? Well, it depends. Auto attendants get a bad rap when they contain too many options, too many levels or just no way to reach a “real” person. Callers hate it when the system seems designed to keep them from getting what they called for in the first place. However, when designed elegantly, auto attendants can actually ease caller frustrations by directing them to exactly the right person or team in the most efficient way possible.
ShoreTel Sky’s Approach
The ShoreTel Sky business phone system includes two types of auto attendants. A company auto attendant to direct calls made to main numbers and personal auto attendants to give individual users call routing flexibility. The solution also includes a dial by name directory and time of day controls.
Company Auto Attendant – The company auto attendant directs callers from your main lines. The company auto attendant may have more than one level. For example, if your sales department is divided into different teams that sell widgets and gizmos, your main auto attendant may direct the caller to “press 1 for sales.” A second menu may direct the caller to “press 1 for widgets or 2 for gizmos.” The company auto attendant can direct callers to any of the following:
- Individual extensions
- Hunt groups
- Ring groups
- Voicemail boxes
- A sub menu
- A recorded message (i.e. hours or operation, address, etc.)
- Repeat choices
- An operator
- The company dial-by-name directory
Personal Auto Attendant – Unanswered calls to an individual extension can be delivered to a Personal Auto Attendant. It is a voice prompt that lets callers choose from multiple options. For example, they may reach an assistant, someone else in the department, a mobile device or voicemail. The ShoreTel Sky personal auto attendant gives each employee the flexibility to manage calls in the way that makes the most sense for them.
Time of Day Routing – The ShoreTel Sky solution makes it easy to handle calls differently during different times of the day or during holidays or other events that impact your normal call flow. For example, the auto attendant during business hours may provide options to reach sales or support, while the after-hours attendant only offers voicemail or recorded messages. This flexibility can save frustration for callers by informing them immediately about your availability and their options. The solution can also be deployed during an emergency that impacts your normal business operations.
Each client who selects ShoreTel Sky receives the support of a project manager who will help determine which auto attendant options are right for your company. Our team can also periodically review call flow to make sure that the solution is providing the best experience for your callers. We have set up thousands of auto attendants and can share best practices and a few recognized “don’ts.” Your greetings can be recorded by a member of your staff, or we can recommend services that provide professional voice recording services.
If you are interested in learning more about how the ShoreTel Sky cloud-based phone system with both company and personal auto attendants might help your customers get the most out of each call, just let us know. We’re happy to help.