An auto attendant is an automated answering service used with a business phone system that directs inbound calls to the right person or department.

An example of an auto attendant would be when you called a company and you are directed to use your keypad to reach the desired department. As a virtual receptionist, you can automatically route calls to your employees or other call queues without needing a live operator.

The auto-attendant performs several duties that can minimize the need or workload of a front desk receptionist. By freeing up time, your receptionist can focus on higher-value tasks.

The auto-attendant can:

  • Respond to incoming calls and play a greeting message.
  • Give menu options and route calls to the appropriate department or individual.
  • Play general informational messages like business hours or location.

    Your company’s auto-attendant helps prevent your customers and prospects from waiting on hold for long periods and gets their inquiries addressed quickly, without the need to speak with a human.

    This consistent and streamlined call experience can enhance your brand’s image and customer experience.

Why Use an Automated Attendant?

There are many reasons to use an auto-attendant. Below are some of the most common reasons to use an auto-attendant


Auto-Attendants eliminates the manual work of directing calls allowing employees and managers to focus on priority service or product tasks. Even more, with an automated answering service you can quickly provide customers with frequently-asked information, and avoid losing your team’s productivity over continuous calls.

Fully customizable

You are able to personalize every step of your menu, from the greeting your caller hears, to system prompts (choose a general one, or record your own), and how the feature works based on the time of day, and much more! Make the call flow as straightforward or as complex as you need.


Any business needs a secretary – and this feature allows you to have one without the extra costs of a live agent. Bundled into the business phone system, it’s an option that you can choose to use or not, without any extra costs – so if your business starts to expand, you can enhance your auto attendant phone system as well, at no extra cost.

Plan your call flow

Before implementing your auto attendant, your company should carefully plan the needed call flow. Determine the different departments and extensions in your organization and how you want incoming calls to be routed. Consider the specific needs of your business and your customers to create an efficient and user-friendly call flow and also any information that will need to be shared such as directories or addresses and locations. With the easily accessible CallHarbor management portal, it is simple to configure and modify your auto attendant’s call flow as well.