What is an auto attendant?

An auto attendant is a computerised phone system that handles incoming calls by giving telephoners options to direct their call to the appropriate department or individual. The auto attendant typically plays a pre-recorded greeting that welcomes them and provides instructions on how to proceed. It's an essential tool for businesses of all sizes, allowing them to manage incoming calls more efficiently and provide a better customer experience.

Customised to suit business needs, auto attendants can provide various options, such as selecting a department, speaking to a specific employee or leaving a message. They can also be configured to operate outside regular business hours, ensuring customers can still obtain the information they need when the company is closed.

What to include in your auto attendant script

When creating an auto attendant script, it's essential to include key information to help callers navigate options and reach the appropriate department or individual. First, your message should start with a clear and friendly greeting that welcomes the caller and thanks them for contacting your business. It should also provide instructions on how to proceed, such as "For sales, press 1. For customer support, press 2."

After this, your auto attendant script should include appropriate options for customers. Common options include sales, customer support, technical support and returns. You may also have specific departments, such as finance, human resources or IT, depending on the size and structure of your organisation. 

How to write a clear and effective auto attendant script (plus examples): Blog by T2k the communication experts

Different variations of auto attendant scripts (plus examples)

Auto attendant scripts can vary depending on the specific needs of an organisation. Different industries may require other options, departments and languages to serve their customers best. In this section, we'll explore some variations of auto attendant scripts that you could use in your business.  

Basic greeting scripts

The basic greeting script is the most common auto attendant message used. It provides callers with simple options to quickly connect them to the appropriate department or individual. This type of script helps streamline the call routing process, reduce wait times and ensure that callers are directed to the right person to assist them. 

Example 1: "Thank you for calling [Company Name]. If you know your party's extension, please dial it now. For [department], press 1. For [department], press 2. For [department], press 3."

Example 2: Thank you for calling [Company Name]. We appreciate your call. If you know the extension of the person you are trying to reach, please dial it now. For [department], press 1. For [department], press 2. For [department], press 3. For [department], press 4. To hear these options again, press 0."

Both greetings are clear and concise in the examples provided, thanking the caller for contacting XYZ company and providing instructions on how to proceed. The script offers three - five primary options, allowing callers to choose between sales, customer support, and billing. These are straightforward scripts that can be used by many businesses to handle incoming calls efficiently and effectively.

After hour scripts 

An after-hour script is used when a business is closed and unable to take incoming calls. This script should give callers clear instructions on what to do, such as leaving a message and when they can expect a response. 

Example 1: "Thank you for calling [Company Name]. Our business hours are from 8 am to 6 pm. If you are calling outside these hours, please leave a message, and we'll return your call on the next business day. For urgent matters, please press 1 to be connected with our on-call team." 

This script acknowledges the caller's situation, provides instructions for leaving a message and offers an emergency contact option.

Example 2: "Thank you for calling [Company Name]. Our business hours are from 9 am to 5 pm. If you are calling outside these hours, please leave a message, and we'll return your call as soon as possible." 

With an effective after-hour message like these examples, companies can ensure that their customers are informed and can leave messages for follow-up during business hours.

Disaster recovery scripts

A disaster recovery script is used when there is an unexpected interruption in service, such as a power outage, and a business cannot take incoming calls. In this scenario, the script should include a clear message that informs callers of the situation and provides instructions on how to proceed. 

Example 1: "Thank you for calling [Company Name]. Our offices are closed due to [scenario]. If you have a non-urgent matter, please leave a message, and we'll return your call as soon as possible. If this is an emergency, please hang up and call [emergency number]." 

This script acknowledges the reason for the closure, provides instructions for leaving a message, and provides an emergency contact option. 

Example 2: "Thank you for calling [Company Name]. Due to a power outage, we are unable to take your call at this time. Please leave a message, and we'll return your call as soon as possible." 

This script informs callers of the issue and provides explicit instructions on proceeding. By having a disaster recovery script in place, businesses can ensure that they communicate effectively with their customers during unexpected interruptions in service.

Holiday season scripts 

Holiday season scripts are used to give special greetings or options to callers during the holiday season. These scripts help customers feel more connected to the business and can help improve their overall experience. 

Example 1: "Thank you for calling [Company Name]. We would like to wish you a happy holiday season. Please note that our business hours may be different during this time. For sales, press 1. For customer support, press 2."

This script provides callers with a special holiday greeting and informs them of any changes to business hours. 

Example 2: "Thank you for calling [Company Name]. We would like to wish you a happy New Year. Please note we are experiencing some delays as our customer support hours are reduced. Thank you for your patience. For technical support, press 1. For returns, press 2." 

By using a holiday season script, businesses can make their customers feel valued and appreciated during special times of the year.

How to write a clear and effective auto attendant script (plus examples): Blog by T2k the communication experts

Tips on how to write an effective auto attendant script

Now that we've covered the essential elements of an auto attendant script and different variations, let's dive into some tips for writing a compelling message.

Express appreciation to the caller

Starting your auto attendant script with an expression of gratitude or appreciation can go a long way in creating a positive customer experience. Even a simple "thank you for calling" can make the caller feel acknowledged and valued.

Keep it clear, concise and to the point

Your auto attendant script should be easy to understand and follow. Avoid using complicated language or technical jargon that could confuse the caller. Keep the options clear and concise and avoid long sentences or unnecessary information.

Don't make it too complicated

While providing enough options to direct the caller to the correct department or person is essential, it's equally important not to overwhelm them with too many choices. Instead, keep the options simple and easy to navigate, and avoid too many sub-menus or layers of choices.

Present the most common option first

When listing options in your auto attendant script, it's a good idea to present the most common selection first. For example, if the majority of callers are looking for customer support, list that option first. This helps to minimise the time it takes for callers to reach the correct department or person.

Follow the five or fewer option rule

Studies have shown that people can typically only remember and process up to seven pieces of information at once. Limiting the number of options listed in your auto attendant script is an excellent idea to five or fewer. This can help prevent confusion and frustration for the caller.

Provide the option to speak to an agent

Even with the best auto attendant script, some callers may still prefer to speak to a live person. Therefore, it's essential to provide an option for them to talk to an agent, either by pressing a specific number or by repeating a keyword. This can help prevent the caller from becoming frustrated or feeling stuck in an automated system.

Have a plan when customers don't select an option 

It's inevitable that some callers will not select an option or will select an invalid key. Therefore, it's important to have a plan in place for how to handle these situations. This could include playing a message directing them to press a valid option, transferring them to a default department, or even providing an opportunity to leave a voicemail. Whatever the plan, it's key to ensure that the caller feels heard and that their issue is addressed.

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Are you ready to set up an effective auto attendant? T2k are here to help

An effective auto attendant script can significantly improve the customer experience and increase efficiency in business operations. By including the essential components, variations for specific scenarios and departments, and following our tips for writing an effective auto attendant script, businesses can enhance their professionalism and streamline their communication processes.

At T2k, we understand the importance of having a reliable communication system, so we offer comprehensive VoIP solutions to match your business needs. Contact us today to learn more about our services and how we can help your business succeed.

Lee Clarke
Sales Director

Having worked for T2k for nearly 25 years, it's fair to say that Lee is an expert when it comes to all things telephony and business communications. Overseeing the commercial side of the business, he has helped the company evolve and grow through the decades. In recent years, and with the advent of VoIP and hosted telephony, Lee has made sure that T2k is at the forefront of technological developments. With a firm interest in helping businesses navigate the world of telecoms, Lee is responsible for the majority of the content on this website.

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