As a small business, especially a new one, one of the best features you can add to your phone system is the same one that you probably don’t even consider. That’s the call menu. A call menu is simultaneously one of the most useful and underrated features that you can have for your business phone system.
Here, we’re going to go over all the ways that a call menu can benefit your business and whether or not it will be helpful for you.
Do You Have Persistent Issues When People Call You?
There are a lot of signs that you might be in need of this feature. Do people complain when they call you, of having trouble getting through to you, or being connected to the wrong person? Do your callers tell you that your business doesn’t seem like it’s very professional? If you routinely receive complaints similar to these, then there’s a good chance that a call menu could solve it, or at least solve most of the issues you’re having.
We’ll also get into exactly what a call menu is and how it functions shortly, but it’s good to know that when callers run into problems when they call your business, that this kind of automation is a very good feature to have available for the caller because it can not only serve them more efficiently but give them a sense of reliability associated with your company. This is a very simple automation with multiple beneficial features.
What Exactly is a Call Menu?
You most likely already know what it is, but you will know it by one of a few different names. It is either called a call menu, phone tree, auto attendant, or IVR, all of which are the exact same thing except possibly for an IVR, which mainly refers to the actual technology that makes it possible for someone to press a number on their dial pad and initiate a response within the phone system.
Of course, this is the primary function of a call menu. So, a call menu is basically an automated, selectable menu that you can add to your business phone system with multiple options that callers can choose from by pressing the number on their dial pad that corresponds to the department or person that they want.
This feature accomplishes a few things for you, but it essentially allows callers to be more quickly and easily connected to the right place without the need for human interaction on your end for every call that comes in.
Can You Have a Professional System without a Call Menu?
Yes, it is possible for you to professionally manage calls without the use of this feature; it’s not an absolute necessity for all businesses. Keep in mind, however, that adding a call menu with Talkroute is an inexpensive way to step up your business’ call management, it can be set up easily in a very short amount of time, and it will immediately make you sound a lot more professional for calling customers.
Whether or not you do want to bypass using a call menu and leave your phone system as-is ultimately depends on your preference and how your particular business functions. If you have phone traffic that is on the lighter side, for example, or you handle all calls yourself directly as a sole proprietor, then you may decide that it’s not needful for you.
Using a Call Menu Even with a Single Phone
Even if you have only your cell phone, you can add a virtual phone system like Talkroute and get all kinds of high-performing features, including a call menu. Many business owners decide to do this because even though they’re only using one cell phone (or any other type of phone) to manage all of their calls, the Talkroute system makes it sound much more professional. You can even have multiple options (“press 1 for…, press 2 for…”) which the callers hear as separate departments but all route to your single phone.
Remember that, to the customer who is calling you, it will sound just like any other business or even large corporation that has an automated call menu; so, to add this feature when you’re running your business from a single cell phone can completely transform the way you handle calls.
Moving Away from Ringing Straight to Voicemail
Another way that you can benefit from a call menu is to eliminate the problem of customers being sent to voicemail right away during those times when you’re already on the line with someone else, or when you simply can’t get to the phone.
Many businesses have their call management set up in a pretty standard fashion. Customers call the business, they hear a normal ringing tone, and then their call is either answered or goes to voicemail. If you want to make this process more streamlined and professional, then the call menu is perfect because callers will instead hear a greeting right away that identifies the company they’ve dialed, then the list of options which they can select.
If you aren’t able to get to the phone every time someone calls, then this is much better than letting it ring to voicemail, as that tends to sound a bit unprofessional.
Dividing Up Callers Appropriately is Good for Organization
Just to reiterate the organizational value of using a call menu, you would no longer have to answer every single call, no matter what the person is calling for. When they can choose from a menu instead of speaking to a live person every time, this means that you may not need to speak to them at all because it might not always be necessary.
Many customers might not even want to speak with you but prefer to just leave a voicemail message. There are also plenty of other instances where speaking to you isn’t needed, such as callers who just want quick information like hours or pricing. Whether you are the only one taking calls or you have a team of representatives, the organizational benefit applies in either case.
Additionally, if you have a separate menu option set up for different types of inquiries or departments, then if you like, you can send each of those callers to separate voice mailboxes as needed.
It’s also worth noting that, with the use of this kind of a system from Talkroute that includes a call menu, using a Talkroute system, you can eliminate busy signals entirely. Being one of the most common frustrations for customers calling a business, getting rid of busy signals for good is pretty important and a huge advantage.
So, the decision of whether you want to add a call menu to optimize your call management is up to you, but it can’t hurt to try it for free and see how it can help your business to professionally handle calls. You can sign up for a free trial with Talkroute here: https://talkroute.com/sign-up/
Stephanie is the Marketing Director at Talkroute and has been featured in Forbes, Inc, and Entrepreneur as a leading authority on business and telecommunications.
Stephanie is also the chief editor and contributing author for the Talkroute blog helping more than 100k entrepreneurs to start, run, and grow their businesses.