Create the Ideal Automated Attendant Script

Eric Kamp

The company’s automated attendant  greeting on your business telephone system is the first thing your customers and business associates will hear when they call your company. For first time callers, you only have one chance to make a good first impression.  This first impression of the company will be based on the interaction with your automated attendant greeting. For people who call your company frequently, you will want to make your automated attendant process as efficient as possible so that they don't waste time listening to your entire automated attendant script every time they call.

The fastest and easiest way to program and record the automated attendant feature of your phone system is to write a script that conveys how you want the greeting to sound and how the caller will interact with the phone system. Select a person to record the script who has a friendly voice; can speak without hesitating, and can pronounce and annunciate each word and name clearly.

Automated Attendant Greeting

The first part of the script will be the greeting. This is your opportunity to present your company to your callers and verbally welcome them into your company.

Automated Attendant Greeting Do's

  • Begin with an appreciation for their call;
  • keep the greeting short so that returning callers are not delayed each time they call;
  • offer the address for the company website if the caller can accomplish the same task by using the website.

Automated Attendant Greeting Don'ts

  • Don't use more than two or three sentences to greet your callers
  • Don't promote your website if it doesn't have anything of value to offer to your customers
  • Don't make up a slogan or tagline just to fill the greeting.

Automated Attendant Options

The most important part of the automated attendant is presenting the options that your callers have to select to get to the person that they need to speak with.

There are basically two types of callers: people who are unfamiliar with your company and will need guidance, and; callers who know exactly who they need to speak to and know their extension.

Automated Attendant Options Do's

  • Use options that are commonly accepted. For example, "Press zero for the Receptionist", "Press the pound key to return to the previous menu."
  • Do tell your callers as soon as possible when they can dial their party's extension if they already know it.
  • Do let your callers know up front if your menu options have changed recently.
  • Do put the most frequently called options first.
  • Give the option description before you give the option number. For example, "For Customer Support, press '5'."
  • Do check your system’s documentation for reserved menu option numbers. Example: all company phone number extensions begin with the number "8" and therefore "8" cannot be used as a menu option.

Automated Attendant Options Don'ts

  • Don't say "Please" before you present each and every option (e.g. "Please press 1 to ... Please press 2 to... Please press 3 to..." etc.)
  • Don't present more than six options at a time. If you have more than six options, create a multi-tiered menu structure. For example, "For the sales and service departments, press 5."
  • Don't assume everyone has a touch tone phone. If a menu option is not selected within three seconds of the end of the greeting, connect the caller to the receptionist.

Sample Automated Attendant Scripts

  •  Thank you for calling Small Business International. Please visit our company website for more information at www dot small business international dot com. If you know your party's extension, you may dial it now at any time. Otherwise, choose from one of the following menu options. For Customer Service, press '1'. For Technical Support, press '2'. For our regular business hours, press '3'. For accounting, press '4'. For Purchasing, press '5'. Or dial ‘411’ for our company directory. If you wish to speak with someone immediately, please press zero or remain on the line and someone will assist you shortly.
  • Welcome to The Small Business International Company. If you are calling to check your account status, it is easy and quick to do so by visiting our website at www dot small business international dot com. If you know your party’s direct extension, you may dial it at any time. For the company directory, press '1'. For Technical Support, press '2'. For Customer Service, press '3'. For Sales and Marketing, press '4'. If you would like to speak with the operator, press '0' or stay on the line and someone will assist you right away. Thank you for calling The Small Business International Company.