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Danger: Automated Telephone Greetings and Prompts Ahead!

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Exploring The Dangers Of Automated Telephone Greetings And Prompts

telephone-greetings-and-promptsAuto attendant, voice mail, telephone greetings, prompts, IVR (Interactive Voice Response) refer to the components of a phone system that answer inbound calls when you can’t. The problem is, most of us fear the dreaded “phone tree” that might (or might not) direct callers into the correct department. (Admit it: you’ve pounded on the “0” key to get around the auto-attendant.) The adverse reaction to such amateur-sounding IVR voices should tip you off to the fact that your telephone greetings and prompts need a professional touch.

Those voices are real people—usually.

Easy On Hold has recorded thousands of telephone greetings and prompts for call centers for corporations and major brands all over the world. In fact, it makes up about a third of our total business. Some folks might say, “I thought a computer did those”. Not here. There’s no way a computerized voice synthesizer can get the right friendliness, inflection, name pronunciation and sincerity provided by the human voice.

Telephone Greetings And Prompts Basics

Auto Attendants are essentially digital receptionists ready to greet you and guide callers where they need to go. Wide usage of auto attendants began around the ‘80s, and is being adopted by new businesses every day. These are the typical, “Welcome to ABC Company. For sales, press 1. For accounting, press 2…”. When callers press a number, the call is routed through the system to (hopefully) the desired destination.

For most businesses, it’s important to answer calls that come in after-hours. If you’ve got customers calling and there’s no one to greet them, the recorded voice track automatically goes into action. This should allow customers to at least leave a message.

Businesses that must respond to after-hours “emergencies” such as plumbers, medical offices, HVAC, internet service providers, etc., usually will have after-hours telephone greetings that will allow callers to reach the “on-call” professional for immediate service.

Consider Spanish Telephone Greetings And Other Languages

Auto Attendants and IVR voice telephone greetings are available in just about any language. Easy On Hold, for example, has provided Arabic, German, Farsi, Italian, Japanese, Mandarin, Portuguese, and more. Our clients such as AT&T, Frontier Communications, and Open Table are global businesses, so they request multiple languages and dialects for their telephone greetings around the world.

New Survey Helps You Avoid Common Mistakes When Scripting Telephone Greetings And Prompts

Software Advice, a free reviews resource for telecom buyers, released a study regarding auto attendants and IVRs. Here are some quick facts from the data gathered in the journal article:

  • 42% of consumers surveyed say they’ll take their business elsewhere after a frustrating experience with an auto attendant.
  • 48% of respondents say phone is their preferred method for contacting a business for the first time.
  • The top pain points of auto attendants are long introductions and too many options.

Telephone Greetings Form The Overall Opinion Of Your Business

How important are your telephone greetings? 92% of customers will base their opinion of a company on the quality of the recorded voice greeting experience! And 63% of customers will stop doing business with a company if they have a bad IVR or “phone tree” experience.

Customers are picky, right? Today, they expect a quality experience in person and on the phone.

Telephone Greetings And Prompts: Quick Tips

  1. Keep the length of your initial welcome greeting to less than 3 seconds. Be concise. No unnecessary words.
  2. Keep it simple. Five options should be the maximum number, if possible. The overall menu length of an auto attendant should be less than one minute.
  3. The most desired option should not be the last; respect the time of your callers and help them get to where they need to go as quickly as possible.
  4. Match the voice of the auto-attendant greetings to that of your messages on hold. Callers are likely to go from the automated greeting directly to a hold queue while the call transfer is taking place. Using the same voice on-hold will make this experience sound smooth and more professional.

Avi Smirnov of Audio, a product manager for AudioCodes, was quoted saying:

“In many companies, the auto attendant application is the main access for inbound callers, so it is very important that calls reach their destination in a very fast and intuitive path with minimal mistakes and that no calls are dropped.”

 

 

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Founder of Easy On Hold and Brandi Music. Thinker, writer, speaker, tinkerer, husband, father, musician.

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