Is the neon sign above your business broken? Is the welcome mat at your front door grimy and dirty? Well, if your business cares about its brand image, then probably not! What about the entrance, reception or waiting area at to your business dark and dingy, or is it kept whistle clean with modern, attractive furnishings? And, why do you do this? To project a positive brand image, that’s why! These are all things most business owners are conscious of as it directly reflects their brand image to the eyes of the outside world.
But, have you considered the ears of the outside world? In today’s world often times a prospect’s very first interaction and brand impression of your business is when they reach your company’s telephone automated attendant greetings. Think of it as the other “entrance” to your business, and it too has to give the right brand impression. However, many business owners don’t take the steps needed with their automated attendant greetings to ensure they’re making the right first impression. They simply take the do-it-yourself approach, and let Mary from bookkeeping do it, who by the way just finished her 8th cup of coffee and 25th cigarette before 10 am. Is that really the voice you want to represent for your brand? Doubtful if you want to sound professional!
At The Original On Hold Inc., we have produced tens of thousands of professional, custom auto attendant greetings for Fortune 500 Companies to small business owners. Below, are some recommended best practices for professional, custom auto attendant greetings, that give a positive brand image (and first impression), as well as more efficiently serve the caller’s needs.
• Give Callers Important Information Right Away
The main purpose of your automated greeting should be to either immediately provide callers with the information they want, or direct them to the right person or department to address their needs. Also, before you introduce any options for callers to choose from, you should also let callers know that they can enter their party’s extension, if they know it, at any time. Forcing customers to listen to a list of choices when they already know who they want to reach is a sure way to frustrate them right from the start. A common mistake businesses also make is giving too much information, causing overload. You should however include your operating hours (and depending on the business your location), and website.
• KISS (Keep It Simple and Straighforward)
Automated greetings should have a very simple and straightforward menu of options that are easy for callers to decide between. Most SMB’s usually only require just one level of options with several extensions, (i.e. “Press 1 for Sales, Press 2 For Customer Service, Press 3 for Billing,” and so forth. Don’t give out an exhaustive list of extensions.
Additionally, make sure you list options in numerical order, i.e. “Press 1 for ____ ,” “Press 2 for _______ ,” etc. While you might think this is a no-brainer, you’d be surprised at how many companies make this mistake. Don’t jump around and make it hard for customers to remember which option is the one they want. You should also always give callers the option to be immediately connected with a live person such press “0” not to reach the operator”, or “to speak with an agent press ____ now”.
• Don’t Forget About After Hours or Emergency Greetings
Many telephone automated attendant systems have a night feature for after hours. So, while even you state your office hours in your day time announcement, it’s a good idea to let your customers they’re reached you after normal operating hours, and list options for them to leave messages to be returned during the next business day. Additionally, some businesses provider after hours emergency services, so your auto attendant recording should also let them know how to access emergency service for their needs, such as, “for our emergency service team press, _________ now.”
• Remind Callers If You’ll Be Closed During Holiday’s
Most telephone automated attendant systems can be set, so that specific recorded greetings can start playing automatically on a specific day or time, and will then switch back to the standard main greeting when your business reopens. Don’t make customers wonder if you’re closed for a particular holiday or entire weekend. Let them know with a special customized greeting that tells them exactly how long you’ll be closed and when you’ll reopen.
• Include Branding or Sales Information But Keep It Brief
Do you have a catchy slogan? If so, then go ahead and include it in your auto attendant greeting. It’s a great way to establish your brand your customer’s memory at the start of the call, but anything more than a short sentence leading into the menu will frustrate callers. Also, it never hurts to use some marketing in your greeting by mentioning a sale or special event at the very beginning can be a great marketing technique, but make sure it’s just a teaser to get callers interested. For example: “We’re currently offering $50 off on all orders of $500 or more. To learn more, Press ______ now.”
We discourage businesses who care about their telephone brand image from the do-it-yourself approach. By hiring audio branding experts, you get customized auto attendant greetings, prompts or voicemail recordings that you greet callers with a professional voice and present a polished brand image, consistently and professionally. With these helpful tips, your custom automated menu greetings will be the utmost in professionalism and convenience for both you and your customers.