How to Use Automated Receptionists Effectively to Save Time & Money
Before you go hiring an actual receptionist that costs you anywhere from $15 to $25 bucks per hour, why not try out an automated one for $25 to $65 per month?
An automated receptionist can help you save time and energy by filtering important calls from the not-so-important ones. It’s a must-have for the modern small business owner, and the first step you should take before building out your team.
What is an automated receptionist?
An automated receptionist is a feature included with virtual business phone systems that works to answer your calls and point customers in the right direction.
When someone calls your business number, an auto-attendant answers and presents a menu of options so a customer can easily find the person or answer for which they are looking.
How Do Customers Really Feel About an Auto Attendant?
Today’s world is expecting rapid fire responsiveness and most organizations are using answering machines for that kind of quick communication. Although some consumers voice frustrations with getting a robot instead of a human when calling a business, customers are used to an auto attendant answering system.
The truth is — automation is essential to running a small business today, and the modern consumer knows that! In a perfect world, we would have six arms, three brains, and the ability to pause time. That’s the only way we could easily stay on top of everything without the help of a little automation.
But even in our less-than-perfect world, automation is the most empowering way to keep effective responsiveness with your customers without hiring more employees, running yourself into the ground or wasting all your time on busywork.
Plus, the right automated receptionist system can aid your customers in finding the information they need or reaching the right person much faster — saving you both time and energy.
But there is a right way and a wrong way to set up your automated receptionist! So it’s important to follow these best practices to make sure your auto attendant answering system is in fact a blessing and not a curse.
6 Tips for Setting Up Your Automated Phone Menu
Here are some basic, yet essential tips to setting up your automated receptionist the right way.
1. Identify your business
Make sure you state who you are right off the bat. If you’ve ever called a business and felt unsure if you reached the correct place, you understand how frustrating this can be.
By clearly stating your business name, you can reassure your callers which will in turn, reduce the number of hang-ups, redials, and accidental callers wasting your time.
2. Record your greeting
Many automated receptionist systems, like cloudphone.com, offer a number of different automated voices. You can simply type in what you would like your automated phone menu to say, and select the voice you want to hear.
But what’s more is you can also record your own greeting. And we highly recommend going this route. The more personable you can make your automated receptionist greeting, the better response your customers will have.
For many small business owners, they are the face and voice of their business especially with how important social media has become today. So give the people what they want and record your greeting.
3. Keep it concise
When building your automated receptionist menu, you’ll want to keep it concise! Avoid a long menu list of options, and keep your sentences to the point.
4. Consider the order of your menu
Think smart when deciding the particular order for your automated phone menu options. For example, if your goal is to try to redirect callers to your website or get them to text you instead, list those options first and list your direct line as a later option.
5. Think strategically
If you want to be strategic with your greeting and lead your callers in a different direction, you can get really creative with your menu! You can use your automated receptionist to automate certain things like appointment scheduling or customer segmentation.
One of the cool things about the cloudphone.com automated receptionist is the ability to turn a phone call into a text conversation. Simply set up one of your menu options to “Send a Text Message”, and a text will be automatically sent to their phone with the requested info.
6. Share useful info
Oftentimes a caller is looking for the answer to a super simple question. Like what are your business hours? Are you open? How late are you open? How do I find your pricing?
These questions can all be answered by your automated receptionist to save you time, and avoid interrupting your workflow.
You can list the answers to these questions at the beginning or end of your greeting, or provide an option on your menu that leads to another automated receptionist menu or sends the answer to their phone as a text message.
7. Include the option to reach you directly
Of course, some calls are important. You don’t want these calls forwarded to voicemail, switched to text, or lost in translation.
Don’t forget to have the option for callers to get through to you! You can always have any unexpected or unimportant calls that slip through the cracks sent to voicemail.
Tip: Keep in mind, the number “0” has long been known as the “talk to a human” button, so if you’re going to use that number, be wise about where it goes.
How to Set Up Your Automated Receptionist
First things first, you’ll need to sign up for a cloud-based business phone system, like Cloudphone.com. Our platform is incredibly simple and straightforward, so you can get your number and get started within minutes.
Once you have your automated business phone number and you’re all set up in the platform, the first thing we recommend you do is create your automated receptionist.
And here’s how (desktop version):
Before you even enter into the portal, decide on your menu options and how you would like to direct your callers. Assign each option with a respective number. Then, write out a professional script that can either be used for text-to-speech or a personal greeting.
1. Open up your cloudphone.com portal.
2. Find “Receptionists” in the menu on the left side of your screen.
3. Select “Add New”
This will take you to a new page on which you can create an automated receptionist.
4. Next, choose from the following options:
This option enables you to type out your greeting into the box provided, and use an automated voice to recite it for your greeting.
This option allows you to record your greeting directly using your smartphone. Click “Record” to activate. An automated system will call your automated business number. Upon answering, proceed to follow the prompts to record your greeting.
Tip: Make sure to have a script written out and ready! This will allow you to record quickly and sound professional.
Upload Audio File
This option allows you to upload your own audio recording. It must be an mp3 or wav file.
5. Next, set up your automated receptionist menu.
- For each number, select “Add”.
- Find the correct action from the list.
- Repeat for each number until all options are set up.
6. Edit additional settings
- You can change the number of times a greeting repeats if the caller takes no action.
- You can change the next Action that follows if there is no valid input.
Save Time, Money and Energy with an Automated Receptionist
Since we only have two arms, two hands, 1 brain and 24 hours in a day, we have no choice but to rely on automation to help us manage our time and grow our businesses.
An automated receptionist is one of the first automation tools a small business owner should consider. It’s an easy and quick fix to reduce the number of interruptions in your day, so you can stay focused on the work that will push your business forward.
What are some of the creative ways you use your automated receptionist?