What is a Virtual Auto Attendant and is it right for your company?
An “Auto Attendant” is an automated telephone service that allows a caller to be transferred to the extension, individual or department of their choice without the assistance of a live operator. Callers are presented with a menu of options to choose from. These options automatically route calls.
A “Virtual Auto Attendant” is an auto attendant. The only difference is that a “virtual” attendant is cloud-based while a traditional auto-attendant is premise-based. You know that old phone equipment that is sitting in your office closet somewhere? That is probably your old, premise-based auto attendant system
More and more frequently, individuals and businesses are turning away from premise-based auto-attendant services and using virtual auto attendant services. The reason for this is simple: No equipment to maintain. Well, there are a lot more reasons than this, but traditional premise-based systems are bulky, expensive and require constant maintenance and technical support. When you put auto-attendant services in the cloud, you harness all of the power of the traditional systems but you have none of the headache.
So how do you set up a virtual auto attendant? First, you have to find a cloud-based service provider. Check out www.solaxis.com, for example. Their FrontOffice is the definition of powerful, inexpensive auto-attendant services. Of course, you can Google dozens of others, but be sure you choose a provider who has:
- Been in business more than 5 years (you want to make sure their services have been properly road-tested)
- Have actual customers (ask for references)
- Can meet your needs (have a ton of features)
Is a virtual auto attendant right for your business? Depends. There are some configurations in which cloud-based services are simply not a fit. It depends on the size of your organization, the type of functionality you require and the type of call detail reports you need to generate from your auto-attendant service. Some virtual auto attendant services have trouble allowing the recipients of inbound calls to transfer those calls to other users on the system. Other virtual auto attendants cannot provide reporting that shows you which buttons callers are pressing when they access the system.
In general, virtual auto attendant services are great for most applications and the price is right. However, before you settle on a virtual auto attendant, be sure that you know exactly what you need the service to do and make sure you get all the features you need.