There are dozens of reasons why companies of every size should employ a digital receptionist: to provide an easier way to triage calls, save time presenting customers a menu of options, for example: “For Tech Support press 1. For Sales press 2. For Marketing press 3 or wait on the line to be transferred to an operator. A digital receptionist is also know as an IVR.
Your digital receptionist must be set up with thought and care. It should allow you to deal with simple queries immediately – not only saving the caller time, but your employees too. Done correctly, a digital receptionist will give your business a professional sheen without irritating the caller. In this post, we’ll explain how to set up a digital receptionist which can be deployed for free, both on-premise and in the cloud.
What can a digital receptionist do for your company?
The most obvious thing is to efficiently direct calls to the right person. Imagine you’re a customer who knows exactly who they want to speak to. If they know the extension number, they can enter those digits and be put straight through. Or you can give the option of “Connect to an extension”, which will then list all the available extensions or options.
In many companies, it’s more likely that you’ll want to offer options to speak to sales, support, marketing and so on. Once you set these up as call groups within the Management Console, you can assign them as an option for the Digital Receptionist. So, saying “Press 4 for sales” will put them straight through to your eager sales team.
You can configure many different digital receptionists each with their own extension number. Depending on your preferences you may configure these to answer calls based on which line the call comes in from, as well on whether the call is received inside or outside office hours.
Often, the simplest way to deal with a call – for both the caller and the business being called – is to simply add them to the queue. You might choose for to put them straight through to a operator or the sales department. Again, this is a simple option during the setup process. Naturally, there are times when callers simply want to listen to the options again or decide they want to speak to a human. Convention has pressing “0” to go straight to reception, while it makes sense to add an option to listen to the choices again.
Setting up a digital receptionist
Before you create your digital receptionist, you must first write down the menu options you wish to offer the caller and then record the announcement. A simple example would be, “Thank you for calling Company X, For Support press 1. For Sales press 2 or wait on the line to be transferred to an operator”.
Pro tip: It is recommended to put the number the customer should press after the option: “For Support, press 1” instead of “Press 1 for Support”
- Log into the Management Console.
- Select “Digital Receptionist” > “Add”.
- Enter a name for the digital receptionist.
- Now click on the “Record” button and enter your extension number and the “Audio File Name”. You will be called to record the prompt.
- You can also upload a pre-recorded file by clicking on the “Upload” button. The file must be saved in WAV format, PCM, 8 kHz, 16 bit, Mono format.
- Select a custom prompt language.
- Now specify the menu options. Select the appropriate key, and then select from the available actions.
- In “Destination for No or invalid input”, specify the timeout and where the call should go if no valid input is received.
- Click “OK” to save the digital receptionist.
Pro tip: Keep the instructions simple.
What happens if a customer rings up when the office is closed?
Not a problem though. Head down to the Settings option at the bottom left of the Management Console. You will see a block called “Timezone, Office Hours & Holidays”. This tool allows you to set up opening hours for every day of the week, along with multiple break times.
If your office is always going to be closed over certain dates – 1 January, for example – then you can upload a custom message (“We’re sorry, but the office is closed for New Year. Press 1 if you wish to leave a voicemail with the receptionist, or 2 if you wish to be redirected to a particular extension.”). It’s a brilliantly flexible system.