A phone tree is a visualized voice menu that routes your callers to their desired extension based on pre-programmed rules you configure in your phone system’s management console. It can also be used to route outgoing calls to multiple numbers at once. Businesses typically create a phone tree using pre-made, visual templates for specific situations.
No matter what kind of phone tree you create, Grasshopper provides the tools that you need to quickly and easily build out effective voice menus that direct your callers to specific extensions. The virtual phone service even offers a seven-day free trial, so you can see all it has to offer for yourself. Click the link below to get started today.
Phone Tree Examples & When to Use It
|Phone Tree Type||When To Use It|
|Basic All-Purpose Phone Tree||If you want to start off with a basic, catch-all template|
|Sales Phone Tree||For when you want to quickly route prospective customers to salespeople|
|Aggressive Sales Phone Tree||If you want to greet your callers with an immediate sales pitch|
|Self-Service Phone Tree||If you want to help callers handle routine tasks without human help|
|Support Phone Tree||When you want to set up an easy channel for customers to get help|
|Nonprofit Phone Tree||If you want to accommodate options like getting services information or donations|
|Multilocation Phone Tree||For companies that have offices in different locales|
|Emergency Phone Tree||When you need to send emergency notifications to a large group.|
Download All 8 Templates For Free
The type of phone tree that is best for you will largely depend on what kind of work your organization does and what it hopes to achieve with its phone system. However, we’ve assembled several templates you can download for free to cover most situations. We’ve even included an emergency phone tree that makes outgoing calls to employees and customers.
- Download Free Phone Tree Templates (PDF)
- Download Free Phone Tree Templates (Word)
- Download Free Phone Tree Templates (Google Doc)
How To Set Up An Effective Phone Tree
An effective phone tree strikes a balance between being comprehensive enough to include access to all areas of your business while being simple enough that your callers don’t get frustrated using it. Before getting started with programming your phone tree, there are a few important things to keep in mind to ensure that you create the most effective tree. Steps include mapping out the tree, assigning employees to departments, and programming the menu itself.
A few important tips before you build your phone tree:
Map It Out
Before configuring your voice menu, which is done during VoIP installation, it’s helpful to map out your phone tree either on a piece of paper or with a simple program like MS Paint. This way, you can visualize your voice menu and make sure it meets your standards before you put it into place. We recommend a simple flowchart format. You can use these templates as a starter, then draw out other branches as you see fit.
Assign Call Groups
Once you have your flow chart drawn out, assign all of your employees to different call groups. For the most part, this will be a straightforward process; salespersons will go into the sales department, the support staff will go into customer service, and so on. However, If you have employees that work in multiple departments (as is the case in many small businesses), you will need to decide what call group they fit into.
Program Your Phone Tree
After forming a draft and organizing your employees by department, you can go into your phone service’s management console and build the phone tree. This will usually consist of going into your system’s settings menu and clicking the option to create a new auto-attendant menu. As this step will vary by provider, consult your service provider’s customer service for more information.
Offer Language Options
Many phone trees include an option to access Spanish language voice menus. Even if you do not have any multilingual employees, having your phone tree available in Spanish (or other languages) can be helpful for callers who don’t speak English natively and those who might be confused by the unnatural-sounding robotic voice of your voice menu. Therefore, if your system supports it, we recommend a Spanish voice option.
Keep It Short & To The Point
Taking too long to connect to a live person is a major point of frustration for most callers. The primary reason for the wait is typically overly-complicated phone trees. The frustration of choosing between a seemingly endless number of options, only to keep hearing more options is something most people have encountered at some point in their lives.
To prevent this from happening, we recommend sticking to a single “layer” of menus. What this means is, whenever possible, your callers should only be a single option away from connecting with a live person. You should also set up a dial-by-name directory. This allows callers to find the specific employee they need to reach by typing their name through the keypad.
The following blank phone tree templates are free for you to download and alter as you wish. You will have to enter employee extensions and add additional call groups to match the needs of your phone network, but these can serve as a useful start.
Phone Tree Templates
A template is a great way to get started preparing phone trees as it can take the guesswork out of how to plan menus and helps you anticipate options you should present to callers. We have outlined several templates, for sales teams, support centers, nonprofits, and more, which you can adapt to your specific business use case using the tips we’ve outlined.
These templates are as follows:
Basic Phone Tree Template
This is an all-purpose blank phone tree template that can be used for nearly any business phone system, whether your company has five or 50 employees. You can start with this simple tree and build it out based on your unique needs. This tree offers basic phone menu options for reaching sales and support teams, as well as an option for dialing extensions by name.
Sales Phone Tree Template
If the main purpose of your company’s phone line is to direct customers to sales, then you’ll want to make that one of the first options that callers hear. This is very similar to our basic template, but the voice menu options for sales and business hours have been switched. This may seem like a small change, but if users are offered the option to speak with a sales rep first, it can make a huge difference in the number of deals your team closes.
In this case, a caller might connect with your organization and, after hearing language options, hear a message that says “To speak with a sales agent, press 1 now.” Because this is the first option for speaking with a live human that the caller hears, they might be more inclined to press it. This gets more people in touch with your agents and thus creates more opportunities to make sales.
Aggressive Sales Phone Tree Template
One tactic being used increasingly by companies is immediately greeting callers with a sales message when they dial. This message should be short and serve the purpose of leading off with the option of reaching a salesperson. For example, you could say something like “Thank you for calling (company). To get your customized sales quote, press 0 to speak with an agent.” This small piece of social engineering can dramatically increase leads for your business.
Self-Service Phone Tree Template
Sometimes it is helpful to set up self-service channels in your phone system so that callers can handle routine tasks on their own without human help. Call center systems usually offer interactive voice response systems that can help callers check account balances, make payments, and more.
If you are looking for a VoIP phone system equipped with IVR, we recommend Freshcaller. The call center suite offers call metrics and call recording which can help you monitor performance to help improve the caller experience, as well as contextual conversations, which gives you a way to review the caller’s previous interactions with your brand. Best of all you can try it for free.
Customer Support Phone Tree Template
The customer support phone tree is very similar to the sales phone tree. However, the only difference is users will be presented with the option to reach your support team before your sales department or dial-by-name directory. If you find that most callers reach out for help with your product or service, then this might be your best phone tree template. This is a good type of phone tree to consider while setting up your phone system.
Nonprofit Phone Tree Template
Nonprofits have unique needs compared to other small businesses. You need to serve two different audiences: those who want to donate money, and those who may need the services you offer. Since raising money is vital for your survival, it’s a good idea to make the donation option the first thing callers hear after any language options, such as “to make a donation, press 1 now.” After that, it’s wise to offer options to learn more about your services.
Multilocation Phone Tree
If your company has multiple offices in different locations, then you’ll want to provide the option of reaching different branches. For example, if your customer recently visited your organization’s Philadelphia office, they have no use for being connected to your New York City branch for a follow-up. It’s important to offer options to speak with different offices as soon as your customers call.
Emergency Phone Tree Template
Emergency phone trees are useful for rapidly getting messages to large groups of people. These setups, which are used to make outgoing calls, are useful for letting people know about emergency closures, altered business hours, or other essential information. While this phone tree is usually implemented by schools and municipalities, it can also be used to tell your employees about things like inclement weather warnings.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Are phone trees the same thing as auto-attendants?
Yes and no. A phone tree, in basic terms, refers to a visualization of an automated attendant voice menu, which is a feature found in most VoIP phone systems. The automated attendant, however, is the actual voice callers hears when their call is answered.
What are the benefits over a human receptionist?
Because phone tree modules come standard in most services, it is a massive cost savings over hiring a human to greet callers and route them. Not only that, but an automated attendant routes callers to their destinations correctly every single time, while a human attendant can make mistakes and send callers to the wrong team.
Can I record a new voice for my voice menu?
Most systems allow you to upload your own audio files for your voice menu. We strongly recommend using a professional voice-over artist to make your phone tree sound as professional as possible. Check out our guide on the best professional voicemail providers for more information.
It is important to build out your phone tree in a way that makes the most sense for your company’s overall business goals. These blank phone tree templates should help you get started, no matter what type of organization you’re in or the size of your business. Ultimately, it comes to prioritizing the voice menu options that you want your callers to hear first.
If you want to start putting these templates to practice or offering voice menu for your callers, then Grasshopper is a fantastic choice, as it offers an intuitive phone tree builder, along with a local or toll-free phone number, at an affordable price. Click the link below to start your seven-day free trial.