Tips for a friendly automated receptionist

Tips for a friendly automated receptionist
Advice

Mise à jour le March 12, 2020

In many businesses and organizations, the caller is greeted by an interactive voice response system.

In Quebec, in accordance with the Charter of the French Language, the systems' greeting messages must be in French, and may be in both French and one or more other languages if deemed necessary. In the latter case, it is standard practice in businesses and mandatory in public organizations to begin the messages with the French version and to give predominance to French.

For centralized telephone services, particularly for customer services, the message begins in French, continues in English or in another language with a brief instruction on how to obtain the information service in that language, and then returns in French. For example:

Welcome to "Name of your company". If you know the extension of the person you wish to reach, please dial it now. If you need assistance of our operator, dial 0. For information service in English, press 9. Our regular office hours are 8:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. and from 1:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.

A greeting message should be concise: the shorter the greeting, the shorter the wait for the caller. An effective greeting confirms that the caller is in the right place, informs the caller of the length of the person's absence, if applicable, suggests an alternative solution (contact a colleague or the reception desk) and invites the caller to leave a message. The caller must respect his or her commitment to return the call.

The greeting message should be recorded in a quiet place. A warm and welcoming tone of voice and a serious text demonstrate the professionalism of the company or organization.

An interactive voice response system allows, from a telephone, to create a two-way communication between a user and a local server. The user can communicate verbally with the server (the server is then equipped with a voice recognition system) or by using the keys on the telephone keypad.

 

Telephone Interactive Menu

To set up an interactive telephone welcome menu, you must first write the message and the different options or line hunting you want for your company. We suggest a few message options that you can adapt to your company's needs.

Before writing the menu and its options for incoming calls and the greeting message, you should consider the following points:

  • Unilingual or bilingual
  • Name of your company
  • Access to the company directory
  • List of options for the different departments
  • List of options for different people
  • Opening Hours
  • Opened or closed office
  • Website address
  • Emergency extension
    • Extention to contact
  • If one dials extension (number of rings)
    • Voice mailbox and/or return number

Once the menu is written and validated internaly we will program the menu for you. You will then receive instructions on how to record the different messages as outlined below:

  • Recording the guide messages (for the menu)
  • Recording
    • Surname+first name for the different extensions;
    • Or Last name+first name+extension;
    • Unavailable messages for your company's voicemail boxes;
    • Provide your employees with instructions and examples for non-availability messages. 

 

Examples of voicemail messages

Message for a user's voicemail box

Hello, Dominique Bélanger here. I am unable to answer your call at the moment, but please leave me a message after the tone and I will get back to you as soon as possible. Thank you and have a nice day.

Temporary messages from a user's voicemail box

Patricia Saint-Germain here. Today, Tuesday, May 17, I will be in meetings all morning and at my office the rest of the day. Leave me your name, phone number and a message and I will get back to you as soon as possible. To reach the reception desk or in case of an emergency, dial 0 (and not: "If you need assistance, dial 0", as this is not strictly speaking assistance). Thank you.

This is Jean-Claude Paradis. I will be out of town until Monday, April 25th inclusive. I suggest you to leave me a message, because I take my messages remotely. You can also reach the reception by dialing 0. Thank you.

Marie Blanchard here. If you hear this message, it is because I am either already on the phone or away from my desk. Leave me your name and phone number and I'll get back to you as soon as I can. To reach the reception desk or in case of emergency, dial 0. Thank you. Thank you.

You have reached the voice mail of Gilles Charland. I am currently in a meeting. However, you will be able to reach me between 1:30 p.m. and 3:00 p.m. You can also leave me a message after the tone. I will call you back later. Have a nice day.

You've reached the Purchasing Department. As we are unable to answer your call at the moment, please leave us a message and we will get back to you as soon as possible. Talk to you soon!

Company voicemail message

Welcome to "Name of your company" and thank you for calling. We're sorry we are unable to answer your call at this time, but please leave us a message and we'll get back to you as soon as possible. Talk to you soon!

 

Example of a company's interactive voice response system

During business hours

Welcome to " Name of your company ". If you know the extension number of the person you wish to reach, please dial it now. To consult our telephone directory, dial 1. To speak to our receptionist, dial 0 or stay on the line.

If 1 is dialed :

  • Dial the extension now.

If 0 is dialed or wait for reception (after a delay of about 5 rings):

  • "Your call is important to us. We apologize for the delay. Thank you."
  • Play music or company advertisement;
  • After a further delay you can send to the voice mailbox of the reception or keep on hold: "Thank you for your call. We're sorry we can't answer your call right now, but leave us a message and we'll call you back as soon as possible. Talk to you soon!"

If 2 is dialed for the directory:

  • Please dial the first three letters of the last name of the person you wish to reach, for the letter Q dial 7.
  • The letters dialed do not match any of the names in the directory (3 attempts after calling reception).
    Or
  • The system will speak the names that correspond to the given letters.

Outside business hours

Welcome to "Name of your company". Our offices are currently closed. Our business hours are Monday to Friday from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm. If you know the extension number of the person you wish to reach, please dial 1. For a list of telephone extensions, dial 2 or leave a message after the tone.

Evening inbox message

Thank you for your call. Leave us your name, phone number and the reason of your call and we will get back to you as soon as possible. We look forward to hearing from you!

 

The best way to discover our services is to ask for a free demo.

 

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