Automated attendant systems (AAX) can help your callers reach the right person efficiently and quickly, if properly designed. But too many auto-attendants have design defects that lead to caller confusion, or simply fail to give them the options they need. The number one rule is to think about who your callers want to reach. Imagine being a caller of any kind (customer, vendor, etc), and think about what you'd like to accomplish on the call. Keep in mind that most callers just want to hear the option they need and select it as quickly as possible. Beyond that, there are a few basics that help make the experience better...
1. It all starts with the actual recording. We very strongly recommend professional recording, and we can have them done by Allison Smith, who created all of the system prompt recordings. She does a great job and it will make your system's prompts match all the others. Callers will here one consistent voice. The cost is typically about $125 for most companies. If you prefer to make your own recordings, it is critical to do so in a quiet room without an echo. Ideally on a computer with a good headset or microphone. We've also had good results with a modern iPhone in a quiet room, sitting on a table (not handheld). If you use a computer or iPhone, send us the uncompressed WAVE or AAC files directly from the recording app. Some Androids do a great job also, and some are simply terrible. Mostly the higher end/newer phones correlate with better recordings. We can also create the recordings for you if you send a script.
2. Now decide whether you'd like to have different day greetings and night/weekend greetings. Most people do have some sort of "we're closed" notification, however the menus are often the same. People would likely still want to leave a message for sales, accounting, etc. A common way to do this is to simply insert a "we are currently closed" greeting in before the options. We can set that up to happen automatically at any time you would like.
3. You should have a short intro, and if desired, give an option to select Spanish menus right up front. "Thank you for calling our company. Para Español, oprime el numero cinco." Then in a separate sound file, give all of your options, or if you prefer, speak each option as a separate file. Either is fine, and usually we can merge/split files if needed.
4. The subject should be spoken before the number to select it. "For sales, press 1." We recommend that you not say "please press 1" as that just adds time to the call. Or, say it for the first option, and not for the others. For menus with a lot of options, we strongly recommend being very brief after the first option. For example: "For sales, please press 1, accounts payable, 2, accounts receivable, 3, shipping, 4, receiving, 6....etc etc. Be very careful not to duplicate an option such as the Spanish option, and do not create any options that are the same as the first digit of your extension numbers. For example if your extensions are numbered such as 301, 302, etc., then you should not have an option 3. This causes delays.
5. Never include things like hours and other company info in your daytime greeting. If you want to present company info, make that an option. "For hours, fax number, and web address, press 8."
6. Always use industry-standard option numbers: 0 for operator, * to repeat the options, and # for the company directory.
7. Decide whether you'd like to allow people to dial extension numbers. If so, include a greeting instructing callers that they may dial the extension at any time.
8. Decide if you'd like callers to be able to dial your conference line from the menu, and whether to tell them. Some people make it a hidden feature, some say, "To join a conference call, press 7." (Or any number, subject to the same rules above.)
We are always happy to help and advise on the creation of your menus. We've been doing this for over ten years, and have seen some great auto-attendants and some awful ones. Please send in a support request with some possible times for a conference call to discuss details and we will schedule it.