Create a Professional Automated Attendant Script

The Business Etiquette of Automated Attendants

Woman on phone
automated voicemail greeting

Your computerized 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, and that will be your automated attendant. 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 on a word processing program. Select a person to record the script who has a friendly voice, can speak without stuttering or 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 or business
  • Do keep the greeting short so returning callers are not delayed each time they call
  • Use your tagline, company slogan and website name, or both if you have them.

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 tag line 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 two types of callers: (1) people who are unfamiliar with your company and will need guidance and (2) 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. Remove this notice after three weeks.
  • 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. (e.g. all 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 Sales and service options, press 5."
  • Don't assume everyone has a touchtone 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 The Operations Tech Company, where "Technology and business come together." If you know your party's extension, you may dial it at any time. Otherwise, choose from one of the following 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'. To find a location near you, press '6'. Otherwise, press '0' for the receptionist or stay on the line and somebody will assist you shortly.
    • Welcome to The Operations Tech Company. To check your account status, visit us on the web. If you know the person's extension, you may dial it at any time. For the company directory, press '1'. For . If you know the person's 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 talk to the receptionist, press '0' or stay on the line and one of our friendly staff members will assist you. Thank you for calling The Operations Tech Company, where "Technology and business come together."

      After-hours, Weekend & Holiday Shutdown Automated Attendant Greeting

      If your business closes after a certain time or on the weekends and there is nobody to answer or assist your callers, create an after-hours automated attendant greeting. Tell your callers up front that the business is closed and ask them to call back at the end. Also, include your normal hours of operation.

      Sample Automated Attendant After-Hours/Weekend Script

      • Thank you for calling The Operations Tech Company. We are currently closed. We are open from 9 am until 10 pm Monday to Friday, and 10 am to 12 noon on Saturday, Central Standard Time. If you know your party's extension, you may dial it at any time. Otherwise, please call back during our normal business hours so we may assist you. Thank you for calling The Operations Tech Company, where "Technology and business come together." Goodbye.
      • Thank you for calling The Operations Tech Company. We are currently closed. If this is an emergency situation, please call our answering service at 585-555-1234. If you know your party's extension, you may dial it at any time. If you have an account with us, you may check your status 24 hours a day 7 days a week at www.operationstech.about.com. Our normal hours of business are from 9 am until 5 pm Monday through Friday, and 10 am to 12 noon on Saturday, Central Standard Time. Otherwise, please call back during our normal business hours so we may assist you. Thank you for calling The Operations Tech Company, where "Technology and business come together." To repeat this message, press the pound key. {3 second pause} Good bye.

      Seasonal Automated Attendant Greetings

      To promote your company's seasonal specials or just to extend a special seasonal greeting to all of your callers, you may want to preface your automated attendant greeting for a limited time. Use this sparingly and only if it reflects the spirit of your company. For example, a seasonal holiday greeting wishing your callers joy and prosperity in the New Year would hardly be appropriate for a collections agency.

      Sample Automated Attendant Seasonal Greeting Script

      • Thank you for calling The Operations Tech Company. Check out our Christmas specials at www.operationstech.about.com. If you know your party's extension, you may ...
      • You have reached The Operations Tech Company. From "our family" to "your family," we would like to wish you a joyful holiday season and a successful New Year. If you know your party's extension, you may ...
      • Thank you for calling The Operations Tech Company. Ask your customer service rep about our 4th of July discounts on all replacement services. If you know your party's extension, you may ...

      Rehearsing and Testing

      Before you record your automated attendant script, have the person you selected to read it rehearse it several times in front of you. Use this to fine-tune pronunciation and annunciation. After the new greeting is recorded, call your phone system immediately to check the recording for error and make sure all options announced work as intended.