The Best Auto Attendant Phone Systems in 2022
The consistent growth of businesses forces technology to keep growing to adjust to all the needs of the industry. And this fast pace of life means that no one has any time to waste on tedious tasks; this is why people started relying on ordering things over the phone as well as online shopping for almost everything they might need at home, including groceries, clothes, furniture, and more.
So with customers relying heavily on online and over-the-phone shopping, businesses started looking for ways to improve their call center quality to increase customer satisfaction and ensure that customers will keep coming back. One of the ways in which a business can save customers and employees time and effort is to invest in a business VoIP phone system that provides an auto-attendant service. In this blog, we will go over all the ways in which an auto attendant can help your business and will help you pick the best VoIP phone system.
An auto attendant is a feature provided by a business VoIP phone system to answer and direct incoming calls based on the caller’s needs. When the caller provides certain responses to the automated greeting or the directory in the menu system, the auto-attendant will then direct their call accordingly. You may see this feature referred to as a virtual receptionist or an auto-receptionist; all titles refer to the same feature.
The auto attendant will direct a call to connect the customer to the available responsible agent or department based on their response through the dial pad touchtone entry, speech, or if they call a certain number that is designed for this purpose.
Auto attendants automatically play a greeting message when someone calls to give the caller an overview of what they can help with. After that, as the auto attendant usually has multi levels, it will play a pre-recorded message to offer additional information in regards to the department the caller has picked.
Auto attendants can be very helpful in peak call volume, as it will save the time and effort of the customers and the agents alike. In addition to that, auto attendants provide high levels of customer self-service that may be efficient and enough on its own, so that in most cases customers may not even need to talk to an agent at all.
Auto attendants follow what is known as pre-set call paths, or call flows. This streamlines all tedious and repetitive calls and tasks, which allows agents to focus on more important and complicated issues for customers and spares them time to make outbound calls.
In conclusion, auto attendants can do a list of tasks to help your business grow, including:
- Provide information to help callers determine which agent or department they need to be connected to.
- Help inbound callers to reach the right department without having to hang up and call a different number.
- If agents are unavailable, the auto attendant can direct inbound calls to voicemail or other phone numbers.
- Automatically transfer inbound calls.
- Provide callers with important information, like working hours, office or shop locations, discounts, and COVID updates.
- Put calls in a queue until the responsible agent is available.
Auto attendants and interactive voice response (IVR) systems are designed for a similar purpose. The only difference is that IVR systems offer a higher level of self service. IVR systems also have more advanced configuration and input options for customers.
In general, IVR systems are more sophisticated than auto attendants; they have more advanced call routing tools, better ring strategies, intelligent assistants, more streamlined call flow tools, and more. However, auto attendants remain the better and more straightforward way to route inbound calls to the right department or agent, as it takes less time to configure and usually costs less.
If your business does not need automatic speech recognition, natural language processing, or any other elevated conversational AI functionalities, then you should go with an auto attendant, as it will be sufficient for your business needs.
Before getting an auto attendant, you need to do some comparison shopping to ensure that you get the right one for your business. Things you need to consider while shopping include reliability, scalability, costs, and more. To aid you in your search, we have created a list of the best three business VoIP phone systems that provide an auto attendant service:
Ooma is a voice-over IP provider that offers multiple plans and features to help businesses of all sizes and with different needs. Ooma’s plans provide an auto-attendant service upon signing up, as well as a list of other features. Below are the features included in Ooma’s most basic plan, the Ooma Office plan:
- Virtual receptionist (auto attendant)
- Call forwarding
- Call waiting
- Virtual faxes
- Text messages
- 3-click provisioning
- 24/7 support
- 99.999% uptime with SLA
- Month-to-Month agreements
- 7-digit dialing
- Music on hold
- Call log
- Multi-device ring
With Ooma’s Virtual receptionist tool, you can do the following:
- Dial by name.
- Create custom greeting messages with general information about your business (such as hours of operation and office/store locations).
- Route calls to certain extensions and ring groups.
- Create menu options for different languages (English, Spanish, French, and more).
- Create modes for business hours and after hours.
When you sign up with Ooma and activate your Ooma Office plan, your virtual receptionist will be set up automatically with a default text-to-speech greeting. It will also make the virtual receptionist menu the default option for incoming calls. You can then change the greeting message and the settings of how your virtual receptionist handles inbound calls. You can change the following settings:
- Whether you want to update the business hours’ menu greeting or the after-hours and holiday menu greeting.
- You can choose where you want to send calls; you can either send them to menu, extension, or voicemail.
- There are two ways of playing a virtual receptionist message; you either add a text-to-speech message or upload an audio file with the message you want.
The Ooma Office plan costs $19.95 per user per month.
Dialpad is a business VoIP phone system provider that offers many features to help businesses and call centers to improve their services. All of Dialpad’s plans offer an auto-attendant service; below we will go over their most popular plan, the Dialpad Talk Pro plan:
The Dialpad Talk Pro plan charges $25 per user per month or $30 per month if billed annually with a 3 license minimum. This plan offers all features in the Standard plan plus the following features:
- Local number support in 50+ countries
- CRM integrations (Salesforce, Hubspot, and more)
- 24/7 phone support
- Unlimited meetings
- 5-hour meeting duration
- API & webhooks
- 10 offices
- 25 ring groups (departments)
- Hold queues
- International SMS
- Zapier, Zendesk, Slack integrations and more
- Deskphone support
In addition to all of that, Dialpad offers a list of features specifically for its auto-attendant service, including:
- Custom messaging for different hours: This feature will route calls to the responsible available agents.
- Call flow prioritization: You can choose to prioritize emergency calls and not have them placed in a queue.
- Advanced call routing: Your virtual assistant will do more than direct a call to the next available agent; it can also route calls to the agent that has been idle the longest, the most skilled in this issue, and more. It can also route calls to voicemail when needed.
- Custom greeting messages: You can easily record a greeting or upload an existing audio file.
- IVR menu analytics: You can see how frequently each IVR is being used by customers; if you find that one certain extension is almost never called you can remove it from your menu and add another option that is usually asked for.
RingCentral is a business VoIP phone system provider that offers features suitable for every business. RingCentral offers four plans, three of which have an auto-attendant service. Below, we will go over their bets-value plan, the Premium plan:
This plan charges $34.99 per month when billed annually, and $54.99 per month when billed monthly. It includes all the features in the Essentials and Standard plans plus the following features:
- Up to eight-digit extensions, with site codes
- Automatic call recording
- Multi-level auto attendant
- Single sign-on
- Hot desking
- Admin and management for multiple sites
- Advanced call handling
- Video meetings with up to 200 participants
- CRM integrations like Salesforce, Canvas, and Zendesk
- Custom integrations and platforms for developers
RingCentral’s auto-attendant services can provide the needed flexibility for your business:
- Extend your auto-receptionist capabilities: You can connect your auto attendant to the dial-by-name directory, system extensions, voicemail, and even external phone numbers.
- Simplify phone routing management: You can do so for multiple locations and offices through cloud-based services.
- Scalability: This ensures that the system will meet your business needs; you can have up to 250 voice menus and submenus per account.
- Flexibility: You can deploy many separate IVR menus for multiple locations.
- Direct inward dialing (DID): You can add a direct number for each IVR menu, independent of the main company number.
To summarize, these are the best Business Phone Systems in 2021…
- RingCentral has an uptime of 99.99%
- User-friendly interface and simple dashboard
- A complete cloud-based communications system
- Unlimited call numbers across the U.S. and Canada
- Plans support video calling
- Round the clock customer support
- Built in AI
- Designed for small businesses
- Google and Microsoft Office 365 app integration available
- Mobile app is full of features
- Affordable plans for small businesses
- Calls are encrypted
- Unlimited calling in the US and Canada
- 30-day free trial
- Business phone system can be set up in five minutes or less