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May 05, 2011
When Selecting a Virtual PBX, Don't Skimp on the Auto Attendant
By Patrick Barnard, Group Managing Editor, TMCnet
 

As every business owner knows, providing prompt and reliable customer service is paramount – especially in this current economy. When a customer calls, they expect someone to pick up the phone right away and accurately transfer their call to where it needs to go, fast. As such, a company’s phone system is an important customer service differentiator.

It’s not a good thing if your customers are dialing into your phone system, but then hanging up shortly afterward due to frustration or long hold times.

You need a phone system with an auto attendant that treats every customer like their call really does matter – no matter when the call comes in. You need an auto attendant with flexible features and a pleasant, friendly, helpful, yet neutral voice. The system needs to let your customers dial by name – preferably using voice recognition so that all a caller has to do is say the first or last name of the person they are looking to reach. It should also have the ability to transfer calls immediately, without putting the caller on hold or making them wait while the call is being transferred.

Nextiva’s Office virtual PBX (News - Alert) does all of this and more. The system employs advanced speech recognition software to power its auto attendant capabilities. Not only does this speech-enabled auto attendant application enable fast and accurate call routing, it also helps businesses save money by reducing attendant staffing requirements and eliminating the need to print directories.

With the auto attendant on Nextiva’s Office virtual PBX, you can automatically greet callers with any type of message. Best of all, different messages can be played automatically based on the time of day (for example, you can play a different message during non-business hours), day of the week (let callers know you’re closed because it’s the weekend or a holiday), or time of the year (maybe you’re closed for a week at holiday time or you run a seasonal business?). This allows you and key members of your staff to respond customer inquiries 24 hours a day, 7 days a week – without having dump all your callers’ messages into a single voicemail that someone has to slog through every Monday.

Another unique feature to this web-based virtual PBX is the ability to upload voice greetings to the system by way of any web-enabled device. The system offers a web-based administrative interface that lets employees with access change greetings and other basic settings – which can be very useful during storms and other events which might force office closures.

Another important advantage of having an auto attendant is that it can drastically reduce your telecommunications costs. For example, if you’re providing your customers with toll free numbers, but your phone system causes many of them to have to call back, then you’re wasting money. You can solve this problem by deploying an advanced virtual PBX like Office – caller frustration will be reduced, which in turn will significantly reduce the number of callbacks.

Nextiva’s auto attendant offers other advanced features such as music on hold, hunt groups, dial by extension and find me/follow me, which allows a caller to self-transfer a call to a secondary or alternative number provided by the system, such a mobile phone, remote office phone or home phone.


Patrick Barnard is Group Managing Editor, TMCnet. In addition to leading the online editorial department, he focuses on call and contact center technologies. He also covers IP communications, networking and a variety of other topics. To read more of Patrick's articles, please visit his columnist page.

Edited by Patrick Barnard


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