How to Design Auto Attendant Recordings For Better Results!
Do you remember the days when you called into a business and the phone was answered by a live human being? Yup! Just good old-fashioned human beings talking to each other. Believe it or not, there was a time when there was no voice mail, no automated attendants and no “I’m not at my desk right now”. Since the ’90s, auto attendants have done nothing but aggravate the everyday consumer caller.
I mean, all we want is a freakin’ human being on the phone to discuss our problems of the day! For crying out loud…. Throw me a bone here, people.
Despite the fact that today, an automated phone greeting is often a potential customer’s first interaction with a company, many business owners do not take the steps needed to ensure they’re making the right first impression. Is there anyone reading this that will disagree that the first voice one hears when you call a company sets the tone – starts the process and is the voice that should “welcome” the caller into the company? Why on earth do companies put a dull, monotone, robotic message on their voice mail to represent their goods and services?
When a new or existing client calls your company you have an opportunity to speak directly to them and take control of the customer experience. This all starts with what they hear before speaking to a member of the staff. Now with a bit of thought and a professional voice, you can change your boring auto attendant message into one that’s much more welcoming.
Let’s get your system up and running to satisfy, not aggravate your callers with our tips for designing better auto attendant recordings.
1. Don’t Be Married to the Pre-Recorded Robotic Voice.
If you’re using the automated attendant at your company, please remember that you’re not married to the “voice” that came with the system. It can be professionally recorded to reflect the mood and style of your company, which by all standards should be upbeat, bright and friendly. (Most robotic, monotone, digital chips are not any of these.) So, one of the first things you need to consider if you’re using the automated attendant is to re-record the initial greeting that came with the machine. When callers are faced with listening to the disembodied computer chip or recording, they’re often wondering what everyone is doing inside those offices? They muse as they hit the operator key, in search of a pulse.
2. Don’t Make It Complex and Confusing. Keep It Simple.
There are many call menus that are often too long because they are providing too much information to the caller. The most common mistake businesses make when designing an auto attendant recording is needless complexity. While there can be much joy and sense of accomplishment in the creation of a multilevel automated attendant with dozens of nifty options and oodles of really cool prompts, your callers have a different agenda. The reason people make phone calls is primarily because they want to talk to someone. This all leads to one thing – caller dissatisfaction. In fact in a survey, 29% of respondents said long introductions are a turn off, right behind that at 28%, is listing too many options.
3. Don’t Use Phrases That Annoy Callers.
Don’t say: “Please listen carefully as our menu options have recently changed.” One of our long time customers has had this phrase on their auto-attendant for 15 years, and the options haven’t changed. And, someone who hasn’t called you before will not care. Avoid saying things like, “we appreciate your call” or “your call is very important to us”. Saying it doesn’t make it true and callers will only believe it when they are talking to an actual human being.
4. Let Callers Know They Can Skip The Long Menu
We’ve all been there at one point or another, automated phone hell. One way to not annoy potential customers is to give them the option to reach their party without having to listen to options that they may not be seeking or want to listen to. Include in your opening announcement a phrase like: “if you know your parties extension number you may dial it now” If a caller knows your extension, they’ll dial it as soon as your auto-attendant answers causing less frustration.
5. Make Important Information a Priority.
Lots of people call businesses to learn about their location and operating hours. Here’s an opportunity to put that auto attendant to use by handling calls more efficiently. Either include your locations and hours in your greeting, or allow callers to dial a prompt that will give them the information needed. And, by handling these types of inquiries more effectively, it causes less hold time, less caller frustration and allows your staff to handle other callers more efficiently.
6. Make Sure You Have an After-hours Message.
Odds are you’re not running your business 24/7—even if it sometimes feels that way. When you’re not available, your greeting should let your customers know why, as well as when you’ll be open for business again or what to do in case of an emergency.
7. Don’t Forget the Holidays.
Don’t make customers wonder if you’re closed just for Memorial Day, or for the entire weekend—let them know with a special greeting that tells them exactly how long you’ll be closed and when you’ll be back. Many auto attendant services can set recorded greetings to start playing automatically on a specific day or time, and will then switch back to the standard greeting when your business reopens.
8. Hire a Professional
How often do you call a company and Sarah from Accounts ‘welcomes’ you with a list of options that sound terrible and are just plain tedious in the most monotonous tone imaginable? It’s not the best start to a phone call and it doesn’t create a good impression. The recording should be as conversational and friendly sounding as possible. And yes, recorded with a BIG SMILE. Believe it or not, smiling can be heard through the telephone. Consider hiring a professional auto attendant recording service provider. It’s worth it.
Designing the wrong automated phone attendant recordings the worst things you can do because as your first point of contact with a caller is like committing business suicide. This is one of the worst things you can do because customers hate automated phone attendants.
Simply put, if an auto attendant is properly designed, it is helpful in managing incoming calls and gives a sense of professionalism. If the design is bad, so is the perception.