Can I Talk to a Human?! IVRs and Auto-Attendants—Options for Answering Business Phone Calls

Image of robot holding phone for UpLync business phone service provider


We’ve all been there. We call a business and need to complete a simple task or ask a question. Yet, the “robot” on the other end of the line makes it almost impossible.

You don’t want customers to face the same frustration when they call your business, so you’ve decided that a living, breathing human MUST answer your phones. 

That’s it. End of discussion.

But, does it have to be so black and white? You have other options that can help increase office efficiency and won’t result in negative customer experiences.

IVRs and Auto-Attendants

The “robotic” voice asking you to enter your account number is what people in the business phone industry call interactive voice response (IVR). This technology asks callers for input and directs the call based on their responses. For example, the system asks, “Are you a current customer?” (input) and the caller says, “Yes,” (response). IVRs are ideal for automated tasks that involve numbers and simple yes/no answers. 

While an IVR might be overkill for your small business, an auto-attendant could help alleviate some stress. Perhaps your front-line employees who answer every call are constantly fielding simple questions, like “What are your hours?” or “How do I get to your office?”

These are all easily answered within an auto-attendant structure. Also called phone trees, auto-receptionists, or virtual receptionists, an auto-attendant basically routes incoming calls to the appropriate employees or extensions. They are scripted, pre-recorded, and easily modified.

A Hybrid Approach to Business Phone Services

It doesn’t have to always be “man vs. machine.” Most phone systems, especially business VoIP phones, offer the flexibility to set up a hybrid approach. If you prefer employees to answer the phone, the system can ring their desks for a set amount of time before the auto-attendant starts playing. Or, if your business has peak hours, say the lunch rush, you can have the auto-attendant answer calls during that time, freeing your staff to tend to customers walking through your doors. 

Knowing your customer demographics and reviewing call patterns, like those peak times, can help guide your ultimate decision. For example, if your target customers are young, they might prefer an auto-attendant. 

Regardless of your choice, careful planning and execution will drive its success. If you don’t know where to start, contact UpLync Communications, a business phone service provider in Lafayette, Indiana. Their phone experts can guide you through the process and even set it up for you.