Conversational Ai • Last Updated 6/14/2024

Call Menu Essentials: Enhancing Caller Experience

Learn how to set up your call menu and how it can help your customers navigate your business with ease.


By Emily Bowen

call menu visual with two people

A call menu is an excellent way for businesses to make customers’ phone experiences more efficient and organized. It allows customers to make their way to the correct department or person quickly without ever having to talk to an agent or representative.

In this blog post, we'll explore what a call menu is, provide examples of how to use it, discuss how it can benefit your business, explain what features to look for, and give you the tools to start building your own call menu.

What is a call menu?

A call menu is an interactive voice response (IVR) system that allows callers to route to the appropriate department or person within an organization. It’s also known as a phone tree or auto-attendant. Callers can press a button on their phone keypad or speak to a computer-generated voice in a call menu. The system then routes the caller to the person or department they need to speak with.

Call menu systems provide efficient customer service and reduce wait times. For example, a call menu system could prompt customers to press one button for sales, another for customer service, and another for technical support. This way, the caller can be routed directly to the correct department without waiting on hold or navigating through a complicated phone tree.

Call menu systems are also an effective way to collect caller data and track interactions with your business. Companies can use that data improve customer service and optimize their call menu system.

In addition, you can use a call menu system to automate customer service tasks, such as taking payments, scheduling appointments, and providing customer support. By automating these tasks with a well-designed system, businesses can save time and resources and provide a better overall customer experience.

Examples of how to use a call menu

Whether you’re a call center or a small business, a call menu makes it simple to streamline incoming customer calls and help direct callers to the right person or department. In addition, it allows companies to provide automated options for customers to choose from, making it easier for them to get the help they need quickly. Here are some examples of how to use a call menu to benefit your business.

Greeting callers

Organizations can use a call menu to greet customers and give them general information. For example, you could have an automated greeting that gives the customer a few options, such as to hear more about your business—like your location or hours—or to connect to a customer service representative.

Transferring calls

Using a call menu to transfer calls can help save time for everyone involved. Instead of repeating their needs and information to multiple people, customers can select which department they need. The call menu can then transfer them directly, eliminating the need for a receptionist to answer and transfer calls manually.

Connecting to the correct department

Customers can use a call menu to choose which department they need and connect to it directly. With call menus, cusotmers don’t have to wait on hold and be transferred multiple times to get to the right person. This automation can help reduce customer frustration and the likelihood that they’ll hang up. It also saves your team time because they don’t have to waste valuable minutes greeting customers only to find out that the customer needs to talk to someone in a different department.

How can call menus benefit your business?

Automating certain processes can help you quickly provide customers with necessary information, direct them to the right person, and even take payments. With a well-crafted call menu, you can improve customer experience, automate customer service, and save your team time.

Improve customer experience

You can design your call menu to provide customers with the information they need quickly and easily. For example, you can include options that allow customers to access frequently asked questions, listen to product information, or hear about upcoming promotions. Providing customers with fast and accurate information can help ensure they have a positive experience with your business.

Automate customer service

Call menus can also help you automate customer service. For example, customers can listen to their options in the call menu and choose where to route their calls. Automated self-service like this can help limit customers' wait time and improve their overall customer experience. Additionally, you can allow customers to make payments or appointments directly through your call menu.

Save your team time

By automating different customer service processes, your team can save time and focus on more complex customer inquiries. For example, a call menu can provide customers with the information they need without needing a customer service representative to answer the same questions repeatedly. Getting customers that info without an agent having to step in can help your team be more efficient and provide customers with a better experience.

With the right call menu setup, you can ensure that your customers can quickly get the information they need, and your team can focus on more complex inquiries.

What call menu features should you look for?

Depending on your chosen provider, you can build IVR (call) menu structures that range from simple to complex and customize them to meet your business needs. Below, we'll discuss what features to look for when creating a call menu.

IVR menu structure

You can build IVR menu structures as simple or complex as you like, using either TeXML or a real-time REST API. For example, you can create a simple structure that offers customers the choice between pressing 1 for sales and 2 for support, or you can create a more complex menu with multiple levels and branching options.

Customizable greetings

You’ll want the ability to customize the experience for your callers by playing dynamic text-to-speech or custom audio. Otherwise, you risk providing a less-than-stellar user experience—customers don’t want to hear a robotic, impersonal greeting. Your text should include variables like the customer's name or region, creating a more personalized experience.

Time of day scheduling

This feature allows you to build an IVR menu that first checks whether someone in your call center is online or whether the current time is within your opening hours. If a customer calls after hours, your call system will play an automated "out-of-hours" message via custom audio playback or text-to-speech before hanging up. This custom playback can help you provide customers with a better experience and also save your business money by preventing unnecessary calls to your agents.

Call queueing

To help manage the flow of calls, you can place customers on hold and play a custom audio while they wait. You can also add a hold timer that informs them how long they should expect to wait until they’re connected to an agent. At the same time, your agents can see how many callers are in the queue, and basic information about the next caller in line. Call queuing gives customers peace of mind and ensures no one is left waiting for too long.

Voicemail options

If you want to create voicemail options for customers, you can accomplish this with a simple TeXML command or a more advanced REST API implementation. Voicemail options can help you give customers a better experience and also save your business money by preventing unnecessary calls to your agents.

Get started with Telnyx call menus

With Telnyx, you can set up a call menu to direct customers to the correct department or service within seconds. Here's how you can get started with Telnyx call menus:

Sign up and get a phone number

All you need to do to get started is sign up for a free account and purchase a phone number for your business via our Mission Control Portal (or port a number you already have).

Configure and customize your call menu

Once you have your free phone number, you can configure and customize your call menu to meet your business needs. Telnyx enables you to add multiple menu layers and customize each option with different audio files and routing options. You can also add automated messages to give customers additional information or to direct them to the best option for their needs.

Receive and route calls

After configuring and customizing your call menu, you can start receiving and routing calls. With Telnyx, you can route calls to different departments, voicemail boxes, or phone numbers depending on the customer's selection. Flexible routing allows your business to provide a seamless experience for customers and ensure they get the information they need in a timely manner.

You can build with TeXML or via our real-time REST API, depending on your needs and expertise. TeXML requires less technical experience to get started, but it offers slightly less flexibility. Watch this webinar to learn how to build your call menu with TeXML. Using the REST API gives you more control over your call menu, but it’s a touch more complicated to set up. However, you can use our Developer Docs for step-by-step instructions and code to copy.

Our expert team can help you decide which method best suits your business’s needs. Contact us to get started with call menus today.

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