Auto Attendant & IVR Options

This article talks about the Auto Attendant and IVR Functions.

Auto-Attendant (or automated attendant) is a term commonly used in telephony to describe a voice menu system that allows callers to be transferred to an extension without going through a telephone operator or receptionist. The auto-attendant is also known as a digital receptionist.

  • Allows the caller to Dial by Extension feature– “If you know your parties extension, you may dial it now, or at any time.”
  • Allows the caller to search the Company Directory feature – “Using the dial pad on your phone, enter the first 3 letters of the person’s last name.” 
  • Allows the caller to choose options 0-9 to help navigate their own way to a department within the company, or an individual they wish to reach.

Additional Features

  • Choose to build in a second speaking language sub-menu for more diversity. “For English press one, para español oprima."
  • A sub menu can be used to create more options related to the original, but in more detail. For example, your main menu option may be to press 1 for Support – Then give the caller additional choices with a sub menu.  “For emergency after hours support, press 1.  To speak with the on-call support technician, press 2.  To leave a message for support, please press 3.”
    • Option 1 could route to a cell phone for emergency help
    • Option 2 could route to a ring group
    • Option 3 could simple go to voice mail, perhaps with an email notification when a call is received.

Ring Groups is a group of people who work together to answer live phone calls. You can build a team of people to have the system ring all the phones & devices in a certain order of priority, or everyone in the group at the same time.  You can even put a delay in to ring a desk phone first, then add in their ReachUC mobile app, or mobile phone a few rings later.   During this time, the caller simply hears the phone ringing.

Call Queues are similar to ring groups, but the caller may be greeted with a short recorded message like “Welcome… please stay on the line while your party is reached.  Calls will be answered in the order in order they are received.”   The caller will then begin to listen to music we provide at SkySwitch, or can be changed to your music choice, or a commercial your company wants to share.   Meanwhile there is a ring group behind the scenes to gather the team and put them in touch with the callers, in a certain order or priority, round robin, or all phones in the group at once. 

Routing User is a term used to describe a point in the call flow where a decision is made.  For example, inbound calls may go to a “routing user” in order to determine if the time of day is valid for the business hours message to be played, or perhaps the afterhours message should play instead.

Call Flow is a term used to describe how you expect the customer to be treated when they call your business.   For example, Inbound calls should go to our receptionist first, then if they are away from the desk, or busy it should go to a voicemail, to another person as backup, to a ring group, or to an auto-attendant.   There really is no right, or wrong way to design your call flow. It’s a personal or business preference and can be designed to flow in any order you like.   Many companies prefer to use an auto-attendant first – then if the caller can’t find the person they want on their own, route the call to the operator for some conversation in person by a live receptionist.  The call flow rules often change from daytime, to night & afterhours.  It can also change for holidays, bad weather days, or extreme power out situations. 

Now it’s time to decide how you want your inbound calls to flow.