Auto Call Management: Take Your Startup to the next Level

Over the years, startups across the globe have seen tremendous development. Advancements in technologies are more than ever and have turned in to an inspirational ground for new companies. From taxi-cab organizations, electronic health records to online retail business, the startups are wildly developing. As per the ASSOCHAM study, the US and the UK occupy the top positions followed by India in the third position in the number of technology driven startups. The US tops the rank with over 80,000 budding entrepreneurs, followed by India and China 10,000 each.

Embracing innovative technology for dealing with the everyday tasks and giving remarkable client service has a significant effect between keeping in front of the competition or falling behind. One of those most significant innovation arrangements that a startup must execute is call management system. Adapting to changing customer needs is critical for any startup to succeed. Customer responsiveness plays a crucial role.

Delivering higher standards of customer response and customer service has become imperative for old and new companies alike. To achieve this, having appropriate technology in place is of utmost importance. Handling timely customer calls and communicating relevant information efficiently is the need of the hour. An unattended call can destroy brand’s image and credibility in a big way. Thus, the companies should make an effort to align the call management using innovative technologies such as the cloud IVR systems.

Automated phone answering: A new way to enhances customer service

Almost every small business owner faces the dilemma of answering every incoming phone call as quickly as possible in order to tap the sale or give the best customer service. But that’s not as easy as it may look. Without a dedicated team and call management technology in place, this is simply not possible. This is where an automated phone answering comes handy.

Here is how it can help startups and small businesses in delivering quality customer service –

  1. Fewer dropped calls – With the help of an automated phone answering system, a call is never dropped, but answered promptly when you and team is highly busy. It also allows to route calls to any cell phone or landline phone.
  2. Professional greeting – A pre-configured greeting message to your caller signifies credibility and professionalism of an organization. A simple audio recording or an announcement can make the difference.
  3. Call recording – The auto call management can enable the customer to leave a voicemail and allow your team to get notified about the recording via an email.
  4. Cost effectiveness – The cloud IVR system facilitating automated virtual phone system can significantly reduce costs involved in call centre management by eliminating the need for human call assistance.
  5. Better customer experience – Studies reported that 55% of customers favor automated call service  as seen in the larger telecom companies. Customers get the choice of how and where to direct their calls.

Automated phone answering from AutoAttend (https://autoattend.com) is a cost-effective and efficient solution for the startups and small businesses helping you sound like a fortune 500 company in a compact business budget.

Simply sign up with AutoAttend and you are prepared to make a first professional impression and associate your customer to your team regardless of where they are. No upkeep, no new programming to learn, only a virtual phone system that helps you to accomplish your business objectives.

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SMS , number masking system, direct forwarding list and more

We have been busy working on new features at Autoattend. All US phone numbers, and soon other countries, will now have SMS functionality. You can send and receive sms using the phone numbers you own at Autoattend.

Right from the dashboard, you now can send a SMS . The maximum character limit for a SMS is 160. So messages greater than 160 characters will be split and sent.

Incoming SMS to the phone numbers have an added feature. You can configure the incoming messages to be forwarded to another phone number, say your mobile.  This will be useful to get instantly notified. This setting is under Advanced Settings > Forward incoming sms to

All the SMS can be viewed and exported from SMS logs section. The status of each sms can be seen here. There can be cases when a sms status can be ‘failed’. It implies that either the receiver’s number does not exist or the receiver might have enabled DND for incoming SMS. The charges for the incoming and outgoing messages can be viewed in the pricing page.

 

Number masking system is another new feature that has been introduced recently. It is a simple feature where the caller id of the IVR can be hidden during transfer of calls. This can be a powerful feature when you want to setup a platform where the customer and the vendor shouldn’t know each other’s phone numbers. This setting is under Advanced settings > Caller id .

Direct forwarding list was another often requested feature from our customers. This feature enables the IVR owner to connect certain callers, directly to a preconfigured phone number without them going into the IVR menu. These callers’ phone numbers have to be configured in Advanced Settings > Direct forwarding list . 

In the above configuration, whenever the caller +12666966890 configured in the list ,calls the IVR phone number , he will be transferred to +12053901762.

All the above features will be available for all the plans in Autoattend.

Voice and language options

We have added the ability to choose between male or a female voice in Play text actions.

Additionally you can select one of the 6 language options as well for play text. The language options are

  1. English with an American accent
  2. English with a British accent
  3. Spanish
  4. French
  5. German
  6. Italian

By default all the existing play text options will be set with male voice and ‘English with an american accent’. So effectively there will be no difference in the experience for the callers even if you choose not to use this feature.

Here is the screenshot of the feature in action in the settings page.

voice

The feature is also available in the advance settings page where you can configure ‘after hours announcement’ and ‘announcement to caller after timeout’.

business_hours_and_after_hours

 

 

Business hours

We have finally released the business hours feature for your IVRs at AutoAttend. You can configure the business hours from advance settings link inside your IVR.

Setting up is pretty simple. Pick your time zone, and then choose the day and time of business.

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By default, the business hours is assumed to be Every day all day. This translates to the IVR being available at any time irrespective of the day or time in the week.

Let’s suppose you have set your business hours as 8 AM to 8 PM from Monday through Friday, this will mean the IVR is available only during these hours in the weekdays. Any call outside the business hours is termed as after hours calls.

For after hours, you have the option of either uploading a recording which will be played back to the caller , or setting a simple text which will be played back in a robotic voice to the caller.

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Options for an IVR at AutoAttend

We have the following options available for configuring an IVR at autoattend.

Play text – Text saved for this option will be converted to voice.

Play custom media – Audio file uploaded will be played to the caller for the keypress.

Play text and repeat menu – Text saved for this option will be converted to voice. When completed, menu announcement is repeated.

Play custom media file and repeat menu –Audio file uploaded will be played to the caller for the keypress. When completed, menu announcement is repeated.

Play text and transfer number – A brief announcement will be played before transferring the call to the specified number

Transfer to phone number – Call will be transferred to the phone number entered

Play text and record caller – A brief announcement will be played before call is recorded. Recording ends when customer presses #

(The calls that are recorded during a call will be stored in your account under call logs. You will get a notification to your mail whenever a recording is finished.)

Send SMS to caller – Text saved for this option will be sent as a SMS to the caller.

Repeat menu – Menu options are repeated on keypress

Transfer to sub menu – Call is transferred to a sub menu which has options for keypress again from 0 – 9

Exit – Call is hung up when exit is selected

No Action – No Action is taken for this keypress

The balancing act for an Auto-Attendant

Auto Attendant, According to Wikipedia,

In telephony, an automated attendant (also auto attendant, auto-attendant, autoattendant or AA, or virtual receptionist) allows callers to be automatically transferred to an extension without the intervention of anoperator/receptionist). Many AAs will also offer a simple menu system (“for sales, press 1, for service, press 2,” etc.). An auto attendant may also allow a caller to reach a live operator by dialing a number, usually “0”. Typically the auto attendant is included in a business’s phone system such as a PBX, but some services allow businesses to use an AA without such a system. Modern AA services (which now overlap with more complicated interactive voice response or IVR systems) can route calls to mobile phones, VoIP virtual phones, other AAs/IVRs, or other locations using traditional land-line phones.

The AutoAttendant has become an integral part of all major companies that employ customer support division. It is hard to imagine a customer directly reaching an agent after dialing the support number. Making the customer jump through many hoops before reaching an agent could also be counter productive. The company in that case is denying instant support.

The key is to balance instant support and keeping the customer at bay. An Auto Attendant that is configured with deeply nested menus are just going to raise the blood pressure of the customer. The same time the customer could have called for getting innocuous info on offers for the month. This customer is best served with an IVR configured to read out the offers.

So what is the best solution? There is no silver bullet. It has to be managed by smartly configuring the Auto Attendant. The option to talk to an agent must be within a button’s reach. It shouldn’t be hidden under 10 level of menus. The home menu that gets read out is the place where most of the optimisation should be done. The options that are frequently accessed by customer must be placed with numbers 1-5 . If a digit ‘9’ is commonly used to talk to an agent for IVRs in that country, then we got to follow the same rule. There is no point being imaginative if it is going to cause confusion to the customer.

Remember, the customer or a potential one who calls the AutoAttendant must always end the call feeling gratified. Thats when the AutoAttendant solution wins.

Virtual Receptionist

Gone are the times when each office had its own Receptionist. Startup teams and businesses are now very dynamic with small group of people managing all tasks. So the concept of a receptionist who will answer calls and route them to appropriate people seems so out of fashion. Surely there has to be a solution.

Well, what if a business decides to expand its customer support infrastructure ? They know that customers are going to call them but they don’t see a huge surge in call traffic. Would hiring couple of people to handle customer calls be an optimal solution when the company is looking to minimise operational expenditure and maximise customer satisfaction? There has to be a straight forward , no-nonsense way to solve this conundrum.

We as an organisation all have tough time keeping track of our customer calls and their grievances, don’t we? Won’t it be nice to have all the call analytics for decision making? There has to be some application to help out.

Voicemails are getting expensive these days and there is no bloody way to survive without it. Sheesh. Business or as a person , we got to have voicemail feature. What if a person calls after office hours? What if I as a business owner wants to hear the grievance of a customer who called last month ? Man, I would love to have some way to handle these things.

Enter AutoAttend  .

This is the cloud IVR solution everyone has been waiting for. A no-nonsense virtual receptionist that takes care of all your inbound calls and take actions based on the rules set. There are great options like text to speech , play greeting, call recording, transfer calls and more. Autoattend not only saves time but also gives a professional outlook to very modest commercial establishments. Think of a pizza diner that employs just 5 people, Won’t the customers be impressed when they get to hear automated voice reading out menus and recording their orders?

The best part of AutoAttend has to be the pricing. An Auto Attendant (IVR) with all the power packed features can be purchased for as low as $5.99 per month.