Phone trees are written diagrams for your voice menu and are designed to visualize the way in which your phone system will route incoming callers and can be used to plan outgoing call routes for multiple numbers simultaneously. Using a phone tree template for your business phone system can be as easy as copying a template and using it as is, or by editing options to best suit your business.
We have prepared a number of templates for sales teams, support centers, and nonprofit organizations, and even have an outgoing call phone tree to help you get started:
However, if you do not yet have a phone service in place, we recommend looking at Grasshopper. The service offers affordable pricing plans as well as a module for building and deploying your own phone tree. Best of all, its entry level plan includes an auto-attendant, which you can configure using one of the templates without needing to install any additional equipment, making it a great option for small teams just getting started.
Basic Phone Tree
As its name suggests, this template is an all-purpose, generic outline that can be used for pretty much any kind of business phone service setup that you may have. You can start with this blank phone tree template as a base and build it out based on whatever unique departments or extensions you may have in your office. This tree is designed to be as simple and easy as possible.
Sales Phone Tree
If you mostly use your phone system for sales purposes, you probably want to get callers in touch with a sales agent as soon as possible. As such, this template switches out the sales and company business hours options on the menu. While this change may seem small, it can make a big difference in getting your sales agents speaking to potential customers.
With this blank phone tree template, a caller hears “To be connected with a sales agent, press 1 now.” Because this is the first menu option for being connected with a live human, there is a great chance that callers will select it. When they are connected with a salesperson, your agents have an opportunity to learn about the customer’s needs and close a sale.
Aggressive Sales Phone Tree
One tactic that is quickly gaining popularity is setting up your phone tree so that callers are connected with an agent as soon as the call collects. Introductory messages are usually kept short, and the menu serves the purpose of leading off with the option to be redirected to your sales team.
In this example, the voice menu could lead with something like “Thank you for calling (company name). To get your customized service quote today, press 0 to connect with a customer success manager.” This is not a major social engineering effort, but it can be effective if you want to get your agents in touch with as many prospects as possible.
Self-service Phone Tree
It can sometimes be helpful to set up self-service options for your phone service so that your callers can get their own issues resolved rather than making your human employees do it. Most call center solutions offer interactive voice response (IVR) modules that can perform tasks like help callers check account balances, make payments, and check order statuses.
Customer Support Phone Tree
This template is designed for customer support purposes. It looks very similar to a sales phone tree, but the difference here is that callers will be greeted with an option to reach your support team before the option to speak with sales staff. If most of your call traffic comes from people looking for help, this might be the best fit for your team.
Nonprofit Phone Tree
Nonprofit teams have unique needs compared to other kinds of businesses because they need to serve two distinct audiences. They need to be available for those who may need their services, but they also need to solicit donations so that they can stay operational. Since fundraising is crucial for the company’s survival, it’s wise to make the donation option the first thing callers hear when they call after the cursory language options.
Multilocation Phone Tree
This phone tree is somewhat self-explanatory. If your team is spread across different physical offices, you will want to help users reach the office most relevant. For example, a customer who has recently visited your Newark, New Jersey, office would most likely want to speak with the team in that office as opposed to the staff in your Philadelphia location.
Emergency Phone Tree
Emergency phone trees are distinct from other types of trees because they are for companies to make outgoing calls rather than take in call traffic. These are useful because they can let large groups of people know about emergency closures and altered hours of operation without your staff having to make the call themselves. These trees are popular among school districts and municipalities, but can be used by businesses of all kinds.
How to Set Up an Effective Phone Tree
You can set up your phone tree in any way you want, and as often as you want. However, changing your menu too often can confuse your callers, so it is best to take the time to think through how you’d like to route calls during the initial setup of your service.
A few important tips before you build your phone tree:
- Map it out: Before deploying your voice menu during your installation process, it can be helpful to map out your phone tree with one of our templates. You can even download our documents and edit the tree as you see fit.
- Assign call groups: Once your chart is mapped out, you need to decide which of your employees fall into which departments. While this is easy for established companies with clearly defined structures, it can be a challenge for smaller startups, where many employees service different roles simultaneously. Take the time to choose these assignments before deploying your auto-attendant.
- Offer language options: Many leading phone services allow you to deploy your voice menu in different languages. Even if customers speak English fluently, it can be easier to understand the robotic voice of an auto-attendant if it is in their native language. As such, we recommend offering language options for your phone system.
- Keep it short and to the point: When people call your business, they want to be connected to a human employee as soon as they possibly can. As such, we recommend keeping your voice menu to as few options as possible. Otherwise, you risk frustrating your callers and turning them off from your business forever.
For more tips as to how to set up your business phone system, consider downloading our e-book on the subject:
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Are phone trees the same thing as auto-attendants?
Yes and no. An automated attendant is the voice menu that exists on your phone service that callers interact with. The phone tree can be thought of as a diagram for that menu that you create before setting up your attendant.
What are the benefits over a human receptionist?
Automated attendants come standard with most systems, so they provide a huge cost savings over having to hire a human receptionist.
Can I record a new voice for my voice menu?
Most systems come with the ability to upload MP3 files for your voice menu, so you can effectively record any voice you want. We recommend hiring a professional voice-over artist so that your system sounds more respectable to callers. Check out our guide to the best professional voicemail greeting providers for more details.
Phone trees are useful for planning out your automated attendant voice menu before you deploy it on your phone system. These templates should be helpful for getting started, regardless of your industry or company size. The best phone tree for your needs comes down to deciding which voice menu options are most important for your audience.
If you are looking for a service that lets you quickly and easily set up interactive voice menus, we recommend looking at Grasshopper. The service is powerful, affordable, and easy to use. Click the button below for more information.