Each time I start a new project as a business and digital marketing consultant, one of the first things I implement or perfect is the company’s auto-attendant. It’s a crucial component of sales and marketing, but if you aren’t yet leveraging an auto-attendant or aren’t using one with sales and marketing in mind, it might not be easy to see how they fit into the bigger picture. I’ll give a quick overview of some of the benefits below.
What’s an Automated Attendant System?
An automated attendant is used with a business phone system. It automatically routes callers to the right department or person without the need for a live human receptionist.
Technology and ability vary depending on the service provider and product. Still, most work like an interactive voice response (IVR) system, though instead of accepting voice prompts, callers navigate to the right destination based on keypad input. They typically allow employees to transfer calls between representatives too.
Some work with a BPX or on-premise phone system that isn’t connected to an external network. However, more modern attendants are part of a VOIP phone system and often pair with other services like outbound calling, conference calls, video conferencing, call recording, and so forth.
5 Ways to Use an Auto-Attendant Effectively for Sales and Marketing
You’ve likely used auto-attendant phone systems quite a bit for your customer service queries, and they’re wonderful for that. However, they’re powerhouses when it comes to sales and marketing too. Let’s take a look.
1. An Auto-Attendant Service Will Route Your Callers to the Correct Person
When it comes to sales, time is of the essence. If a prospect is left on hold too long or gets transferred too many times, you’re going to lose them. Good business phone systems make sure each prospect gets to the right person quickly.
At a basic level, your incoming calls can be routed to departments like technical support, customer service, and sales. However, you may also have specific employees within each group who handle individual call types, such as new business versus existing clients, and perhaps have team members who specialize in different products or services. A more detailed auto-attendant menu will have layers that fast-track callers in these situations as well.
Many businesses also use a name directory prompt in their systems. This allows leads to reconnect with sales reps they already have a relationship with and speed up your sales timeline. It’s better for customer service too, as it reduces the likelihood a prospect will need to repeat key information.
2. Provide 24/7 Coverage
Most companies have “normal business hours” with coverage Monday through Friday. Prospects may not necessarily share those hours. You might have prospects in different time zones too. That can be an issue if your business only provides a generic voice mail option with no context, and your prospect is expecting an immediate callback.
With basic systems, you can easily toggle between voicemail messages, so prospects know whether you’ll be calling them back right away or on the next business day. More sophisticated systems can automatically switch the auto-attendant greeting based on the date and time. In addition, some can automatically ring through to a cell phone for around-the-clock coverage or ring through to multiple phones at once.
While that’s a boon for larger companies aiming to improve their service, it’s huge for small businesses and startups that rely on closing every possible sale.
3. Reduce Wait Time
Imagine if you could instantly boost your sales by 15 percent with minimal effort. You’d be all over it, right? That’s what reducing your wait times means because around 15 percent of callers hang up at 40 seconds, while the average answer time is just over a minute, according to ifbyphone.
You can’t close a sale if you never get to talk to the prospect, so it’s imperative to have prospects routed to the right place before the 40-second mark.
To do this, you can set your auto-attendant prompts to include a menu option that provides basic information like hours and self-service options or include these in the greeting. Naturally, you’ll also reduce wait times through fast routing and ensuring callers reach the right person for their needs on the first try. Lastly, you can set your system up to offer the option to leave a message rather than wait. That way, you never miss a lead, even if you can’t get someone on the phone as quickly as you’d like.
4. Increase Efficiency
It’s easy to see how an attendant phone system can boost efficiency through proper call routing and addressing common questions, but when you pair an extension or dedicated line with a custom auto-attendant script, it can become a digital sales rep too.
For example, let’s say you’re running digital marketing campaigns that leverage advanced call tracking with multiple phone numbers to identify the source of each contact. Your prospect sees a search ad, clicks on it, reads a landing page that speaks to their needs, and then calls the number they see on the page. Based on that interaction, call tracking, and proper routing, the lead can instantly hear information relevant to the message they’ve already seen.
Additionally, your sales rep who picks up the phone can already know exactly what motivated the prospect to take action, which products and services they’re interested in, and any offers the prospect has seen.
This can also help your marketing team boost efficiency on the back end because your whole system is tied together. They’ll have the tracking and analytics to know which campaigns are paying off, so they can turn up the volume on those and let go of or tweak less effective campaigns.
5. Strengthen Your Company Image
Your auto-attendant will often be the first point of contact for a prospect, so it can have a major and lasting impact on customer satisfaction. In addition to the technical details outlined here, you can give yours more professional polish by hiring voice talent and including hold music to help convey the image you want your brand to have.
Get Help with Your Auto-Attendant and Improving Your Marketing Effectiveness
Auto-attendants fit in with the inbound sales ecosystem, so they can help your sales and marketing investments deliver more ROI. But, when you start looking into all the options, such as what tech to use and how to integrate an attendant with your phone system, tools such as your CRM, and analytics, it can become overwhelming. However, this is something I do regularly and is one of the many solutions I bring as a business and marketing consultant. If you have questions about how the process works or want your business to level up, please contact me for a complimentary consultation.