What isauto attendant (automated attendant)

An automated attendant, also known as an auto attendant or virtual receptionist, allows calls to be sent directly to an extension without the need for a receptionist or operator. Some automated attendants also offer a simple menu for callers to choose different departments. Callers can also speak with an operator by dialing “0.” This service is usually part of a company’s phone system, but some providers allow companies to use it separately. Calls can be forwarded to mobile phones or other destinations. Automated attendants overlap with interactive voice response or IVR systems.

The Role of Automated Attendant in Telephony

As businesses grow, managing incoming calls becomes a daunting task. It’s inconvenient to have a receptionist or operator attending to every call while performing other tasks. Automated attendants (AAs) have become a popular solution for managing incoming calls in businesses. In this article, we will explore what automated attendant is, how it works, and its benefits to businesses.

What is an Automated Attendant?

An automated attendant, also known as a virtual receptionist, automatic phone menus, or auto-attendant, is a telephony feature that allows incoming calls to be directed automatically to the correct destination without the need for human intervention. It provides a menu of options for callers to choose from, such as “press 1 for sales or 2 for support.”

How Does it Work?

The automated attendant is typically integrated into the company’s phone system, such as a PBX. When a call comes in, the AA answers and provides the caller with a menu of options. Depending on the caller’s choice, the AA will forward the call to the appropriate extension, department, or voicemail box. Some advanced automated attendants also allow callers to speak to a live operator by dialling “0.”

Modern automated attendant services can also forward calls to mobile phones or VoIP virtual phones. Additionally, some providers allow businesses to utilise an AA without requiring a PBX.

What are the Benefits of an Automated Attendant?

Automated attendants offer numerous benefits to businesses, including:

  • Efficient call management
  • Saves time and money on hiring receptionists or operators
  • Improves customer experience by providing a professional greeting and quick routing of calls
  • Customizable menu options to fit the specific needs of a business
  • 24/7 availability to answer calls, even outside business hours
  • Call forwarding to mobile phones or voicemail boxes, ensuring important calls are never missed


Can an Automated Attendant be Customized?

Yes, an automated attendant can be customized to fit the specific needs of a business. The menu options can be tailored to the company’s departments, products, or services. Additionally, the voice used for the greeting can be customised to provide a more personal touch to the caller.

How Easy is it to Set Up an Automated Attendant?

Setting up an automated attendant is relatively easy, and most providers offer user-friendly interfaces to create and manage the system. Depending on the complexity of the menus and options, it can take a few hours to set up.

What Happens if a Caller Can’t Find the Right Option?

Some automated attendants provide the option for the caller to speak with a live operator by dialling “0.” The live operator can then assist the caller with their query or transfer the call to the appropriate department or extension.

What Types of Businesses Benefit from an Automated Attendant?

Any business that receives a high volume of incoming calls can benefit from an automated attendant. Automated attendants are commonly used in healthcare, financial services, and retail businesses.

Final Thoughts

Automated attendants offer an efficient and cost-effective way for businesses to manage incoming calls. By improving customer experience, reducing wait times, and ensuring important calls are never missed, businesses can focus on their core operations and improve productivity. Setting up an automated attendant is easy, and customisation options make it a versatile solution for businesses of all sizes and industries.

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