In order to provide excellent customer service to your clients, your automated attendant must be pleasant to the callers. First-time customers often form their first impression of your company’s regard for them when they call your phone number. Meanwhile, frequent callers need a system that makes it easier for them to contact anyone within the company without listening to the entire script every time they dial your business number.
The quickest and most efficient way to pre-program and record your phone’s automated attendant feature is to first get your script down on paper and then choose a person with the following:
- Neutral accent
- Warm, friendly voice
- Ability to pronounce names and words clearly
- Capacity to talk without stammering, stuttering, or hesitating
Once you’ve chosen your “voice talent” for the automated attendant, it’s time to create your own customized greetings. First of all, ask the person to greet callers and welcome them to the company. This gives you the chance to present your company to the callers. To provide excellent business phone service to callers, remember the following etiquette:
- Start by thanking the callers for calling the company.
- Keep the greeting short and simple. That way, repeat callers won’t experience delay every time they call your company.
- If you have your own slogan, tagline, or website, you can use them in the greeting (but not all of them).
- Use a maximum of two or three sentences for greeting callers.
- Don’t create a fake tagline, catchphrase, or slogan just to fill in the gap.
- Don’t mention your website if it has nothing valuable to offer to customers.
After the greeting is the most important automated attendant feature: menu options. Callers need to have the choice of selecting the right buttons so they can reach the person they need to talk to. Remember, the menu options must cater to two kinds of callers: a) those who lack familiarity with your company and require some guidance, and b) callers who know who to talk to and know the extension numbers
- Use standard options. Examples: “Press 0 for the operator,” “Press the asterisk to return to the previous menu.”
- You do not need to start every sentence with “please.” (ex. “Please press 6 to…Please press 7 to…)
- Inform your callers as soon as you can when they can dial the extension number.
- If you change anything in your menu options, inform your callers up front by putting a 3-week notice on the phone messages.
- Place the most frequently called options first.
- Provide the option description before the option number. Example, “For credit card inquiries, press 1.”
- Check your phone system for reserved menu option numbers. (ex. All extensions start with the number “5” so you cannot use “5” as a menu option.)
- Present only six options at a time. If you have too many options, create a multi-layer menu structure. Example: “For banking options, press 2.”
- Never assume that everyone has a touchtone phone. If the caller doesn’t select a menu option 3 seconds after the end of a greeting, automatically redirect the phone call to the operator.