One of the best features offered by the majority of VoIP providers for small business needs (often at no additional charge for business accounts) is an auto attendant or virtual receptionist. When you call a small business needs or organization and are professionally greeted by a recording that aids you in reaching the correct person or department for your needs, you’re interacting with this incredibly useful small business needs tool. VoIP offers a variety of features to improve small business needs communications, both internally and externally. Due to the mobility and abundance of top VoIP feature offerings, cloud-based phone systems are constantly evolving as more small business needs companies choose to make the switch to VoIP.
Virtual receptionist software is a must for businesses regardless of size. While their usefulness for enterprise-level organizations is obvious, they’re perhaps even more essential for small business needs that must work additionally hard to ensure that their staff requirements remain lean and that they make a positive, professional impression on clients and colleagues.
Auto Attendant Features
Your VoIP auto attendant makes sure that your calls are connected promptly, in a streamlined, efficient, and accurate manner. However, while it may be clear that using a virtual receptionist is a great idea for your small business needs, not all auto attendants are created equally. Different VoIP companies’ virtual receptionist offerings may include different features. Here’s a list of the seven we think are the most important for any small business needs.
1. Professional Greetings
First impressions count—and you never get a second chance, as the saying goes! Many auto attendant software options allow you to either create or record your own greetings or to use professionally recorded greetings. If you have the ability to create a crisp, clear professional recording for your own small business needs, the former may be fine. However, for most small business needs, being able to incorporate studio-recorded greetings into their auto attendant is the ideal way to demonstrate their professionalism to their clients and customers.
2. Call Menu
A well-designed call menu is the backbone of your auto attendant’s usefulness. If the menu is difficult to navigate, unclear, or simply inefficient, you’ll leave callers frustrated. Before you commit to a small business needs VoIP provider, investigate the levels and types of menus you’ll have available in terms of programming your virtual receptionist.
3. Call Routing
Of course, your call menu isn’t going to be particularly effective if the small business needs an auto attendant doesn’t offer exceptional call routing. Once again, you’ll want to investigate exactly how small business needs call routing is handled and what options and small business needs features you’ll have available. Do your employees often work remotely or switch phone numbers? If so, you’ll want to choose an auto attendant service that can easily route calls to employees regardless of their current location or contact numbers, so that your small business needs clients and colleagues are able to contact them with ease. Seamless call forwarding makes it far easier to keep the small business needs customers engaged.
4. Connection Options
In some cases, small business needs customers will know an employee’s extension number. However, it may be advantageous to give customers other options to get in touch with the appropriate small business needs employee or department. Dial by extension, dial by name, and departmental directory dialing are all different strategies for helping customers make the right small business needs connection as efficiently as possible.
5. Custom Hold Music or Messages
When your small business needs customers and colleagues are on hold, what do they hear? Customizable hold music and messages are a great way to maximize your small business needs and client engagement. Marketing messages, informative recordings, and pleasant music can all contribute to better, more pleasant communication—even when putting a customer on hold is unavoidable.
6. Schedule Customization
It’s typically advantageous small business needs, for most businesses, to have small business needs schedule customization as an auto attendant option. This can be used to ensure that small business needs calls are correctly routed when departments have differing hours or priorities during different times of the day. Additionally, customized greetings based on schedule can be a fantastic way to help set small business needs customer expectations for their call, which can lead to higher levels of customer satisfaction.
7. Easy-to-Use Interface
With so many small business needs features to choose from, manage, and customize, an easy, intuitive user interface is an absolute must for any quality auto attendant software. If you want to add or change an extension, update a greeting, alter a call menu, or facilitate call forwarding, you want the process to be as straightforward and easy to access as possible. You may even want to give employees a certain amount of access to make adjustments to their own call routing and call forwarding.
Knowing What You Need is the First Step
While we consider these seven features nearly indispensable for almost any small business needs, we also know that each organization is different. Before you choose an auto attendant software option, you’ll want to sit down and make a list of your small business needs as they relate to receiving client calls (our Phone Systems Buyer’s Guide can help!). Choose the service that best meets these small business needs and avoid making common phone system purchasing mistakes. If there are multiple services that do, it may be helpful to look at added-value small business needs features and costs as well.