Customized Auto Attendant and Call Flow Options to Meet Your Business Requirements!
Great Features from the best VoIP Phone Service Provider!
An auto attendant simply provides options for a caller to select to route callers to an associate or department to meet the specific need prompting their call.
Many businesses have an instant concern relating to the mention of an auto attendant, as they prefer to have their phones always answered! So, let's start with the most important decision regarding implementing an auto attendant: you can choose whether the auto attendant is engaged before any phones ring or after going through a ring group.
With sipVine, we can build your auto attendant to match the needs and philosophies of your business and optimize the experience of your callers. Every business is unique and a flexible approach to this programming is a cornerstone of sipVine's service.
Step One: Determine where the auto attendant is in your call flow
- Ring Group First - If your business elects to have a phone or series of phones ring before the auto attendant is engaged, you will select the associate or associates involved in the initial ring group. You determine the number of rings before an auto attendant kicks in. The auto attendant can have options for the effective routing of the call or it can be a simple unavailable greeting directing the caller to leave a voicemail.
- Auto Attendant First - This eliminates the need for an initial ring group and transfers the caller to a person or department equipped to meet the specific reason for the call. Options will be created for the caller to self-select where their call will be routed.
- Options Based Upon Time of Day - Different approaches can be taken based upon the time of day or even the day of the week. The simplest example is having one approach for during hours of operation and another for after hours. For example, you can elect to have phones ring first during hours, and then have the auto attendant first after hours. Additionally, the auto attendant can be different during open hours versus after hours.
Step Two: Customize your auto attendant options
- Examine the reasons your business receives calls and categorize them into options.
- For each option, determine where the call is routed. Ring groups can be created for each option. For example, if "customer service" is an option selected, a ring group or call queue can be engaged for that selection. If it is an individual handling a function, the call can route to that specific individual. Specify the number of rings or time in the queue required for each option before going to an unavailable message.
- Determine no answer messaging or routing. For each option, determine what messaging option you prefer if that department or individual doesn't answer after the number of rings expire. Note, you can also prescribe a second ring group as a failover to ensure the call will be answered. If calls do land on an unavailable greeting, determine where you would like to voicemail to land. If it is a department, a shared or distribution email would be an example.
- Establish options for routing to specific people. In your auto attendant script, you can include an extension dialing option for those who know the extension of the associate they are trying to contact. Additionally, you can add a dial by name directory by first or last name, allowing callers to enter the first three digits of the name to find and route themselves to the appropriate party.
- Create different messaging and options for after hours. Based upon your business operation and staffing, you may have the need for different options after hours. This can include an on-call process or routing to an answering service for certain options selected by callers.
Step Three: Create your auto attendant scripts
- Based upon the routing options, document your script for your auto attendant.
- Your after hours auto attendant script should be different, likely for the options available after hours. You should also let callers know that they've reached you after hours and identify your normal hours of operation.
Some Best Practices
Whether you choose an auto attendant that is up front or after a ring group, there are certain best practices for building an effective auto attendant.
- Examine the reasons your callers to contact you. If you can categorize 80% of them in five options or less, those are the ideal options to include in your auto attendant. Build those options to route to the department or associate responsible for that topic.
- Avoid multiple layers in your auto attendant. They add complexity and can lead to caller frustration.
- Provide extension dialing capability for those who know the extension of the person they are trying to reach. As appropriate, it would be great for those associates to add their extension to their email signature lines.
- Provide a dial by name directory.
- Determine an "all other calls" category and a ring group of people to be responsible for fielding those calls.
sipVine associates have helped thousands of businesses optimize their communication practices and create an auto attendant best suited for their business and callers. Auto attendant and call flow setup is included in sipVine's initial onboarding phase. Business phone service is what we do, and we're happy to help. If you'd like a quote or a consultation, please reach out to us.