RingCentral RingEX™

Auto-Attendant and Virtual Receptionist Service

Greet your callers and route them automatically to employees and departments anywhere in the world with RingCentral auto-attendant, a virtual receptionist service.

Stronger business communications catered to your success

Businesses have a common currency always in use—time. That's why every minute must result in productive work. With professionals wanting to get their job done faster, there's no room for lull time, even on phone calls.

With RingCentral's automated phone system, you have an efficient virtual receptionist service provider that can cope with your business' various callers. From the basic virtual answering service, such as call routing, to enterprise-ready interactive voice response, RingCentral virtual receptionist feature can cater to your call management needs. 

You'll never miss another customer service call—or sales opportunity. Customize your virtual answering service to route calls to the appropriate department, extension, or voicemail inbox, even outside office hours.

For your business communication needs, choose RingCentral. We are a cloud-based unified communications system specially designed for all businesses. We provide enterprise-level VoIP services without needing to install secondary and expensive hardware such as PBX boxes or servers. You can choose from our voice-based, text-based, and fax communications, such as HD video meetings, online conferences, and automated attendant systems. With us, you can make your business flexible, scalable, and competitive, as modern businesses need today.

A phone call conversation between colleagues using RingCentral app

What is an Auto-Attendant?

An auto-attendant is a voice telephony menu system that enables the transfer of incoming calls to various extensions of company numbers without human intervention. Also known as virtual receptionists, this automated phone system can offer virtual answering services, such as route calls to various landline phones, mobile phones, VoIP phones, or other devices integrated within your company's phone system.
When there are incoming calls, the person on the line can choose from the menu options using the keypad on their handset or mobile phone.
Many businesses, government agencies, and other institutions use Auto-Attendants. A sophisticated form of Auto-Attendant known as Interactive Voice Response (IVR) accepts a combination of voice telephone input and tone keypad selection. It provides appropriate responses in various media formats.

How an Automated Phone System Works

For today's business communications to meet customer satisfaction, you can replace the manual act of answering and managing phone calls for your business with an automated answering service.

Instead of a human operator, you can simplify the task by adopting a phone system with an auto attendant feature that answers all inbound calls and direct incoming callers to the correct employee or department. 

You can also use the system to assist with incoming calls outside regular business hours when a live operator is unavailable. 

Other functionalities typical to an auto-attendant feature include transfers of calls to

  • specific extensions
  • voicemail boxes
  • submenus
  • presentation of standard recorded messages
  • human operator or customer service representative

Other basic functionalities that the Auto-Attendant can do are to repeat the choices in a specific menu and terminate the call ("hang up") should the caller fail to choose from a predetermined period from the menu options accessed via keypad. 

Likewise, with an interactive voice response (IVR), you can customize different menu systems, change business hours, and handle inbound calls at various times of day (for example, business hours and non-business hours).

Female contact center agent on a call using Ringcentral app

Auto-Attendant (AA) vs. Interactive Voice Response (IVR)

Auto-Attendants (AA) and Interactive Voice Response (IVR) are both automated answering services to enhance call flows and routings of incoming calls. 
However, there are subtle differences. Auto-attendants focus on call routing, call flow, and other essential Auto-Attendant menu options to complete a business call. Meanwhile, Interactive Voice Response (IVRs) offer submenus with advanced features, such as a dial-by-name directory, custom greetings, live operator, and other call center automation. 
While auto-attendants play hold/connect music, an Interactive Voice Response (IVR) offers more custom virtual receptionist services. You have the power to configure the IVR system to improve customer service and sales tasks. 
Ultimately, multi-level IVR is a better Auto-Receptionist that can provide more powerful options to route incoming calls. Because it allows you to create a structured, multiple-layer phone routing menu and submenus, you can connect to any extension (e.g., user, group, or another IVR menu), a voicemail box, or even an external number. 

Getting a Reliable Virtual Receptionist Service

With the benefits of getting a virtual receptionist service identified, the next question you may have is how you can choose the best auto-attendant platform. Here are some criteria you need to look for: 

Female contact center agent on a call using Ringcentral app
With its self-service capabilities, the best virtual receptionist service should make work easier for your employees. If your menu options are well-structured, callers can dial the extension number through their keypad and connect directly to their desired department or person, lessening call queues and wait time. 

How many calls can your receptionist handle? With the best auto-attendant system, your marketing efforts can transform into closed deals with quick turnaround times from inquiries to potential customers who want to learn more about you. With the best auto-attendant virtual answering service, your team can now handle large-scale call volumes. Whether they have to route calls for ten or a hundred, it'll do their job just the same.

Managing and routing calls is an essential aspect an auto attendant must have. How many menu options can a specific system handle? Is it only limited to doing a specific number of calls, or can it be used to scale for growth? The demands of customers can be challenging; that's why your auto-attendant must be able to adjust based on the flow and demand of your customers. The better your call flow management is, the better for both your agents and customers. 

RingCentral Virtual Auto-Receptionist Features

With many automated phone systems and virtual answering services in the market, it can be tedious to choose the best virtual receptionist service provider for your company. Some offer a basic menu system, but others can cater to all your call center needs. Fortunately, RingCentral can do both. Here are RingCentral virtual receptionist features that should make it your top choice: 

Custom Company Business Hours

Set your auto-attendant to reflect your company’s business hours

IVR Mode

Choose between single and multi-level IVR for the full auto-attendant customer experience

Company Call Handling

Configure top-level IVR menu options to handle callers during and after business hours

Dial-by-Name Directory

Assign extension numbers and find callers by name

Call Recording

Enable users to record calls and custom greetings

General IVR Settings

Customize menu options that callers can access

Company Fax/ SMS Recipient

Assign phone numbers to receive fax and SMS messages

Regional Settings

Modify basic settings according to location

The Benefits of Getting the RingCentral Auto-Attendant System

Female contact center agent on a call using Ringcentral app
RingCentral's Auto-Receptionist is not your ordinary auto-attendant. It's a sophisticated virtual receptionist that handles calls to your main company number. Aside from automated call answering and filtering, you can customize your company greeting, dial by name directory, and even route callers to appropriate extensions. You can even set up a professionally recorded greeting with the voice of your choice. With RingCentral, you are free to customize your call routing to ensure effective call management.

Increase customer satisfaction in every call when you don't have to spend time fielding spam bots. With an auto-attendant, you can lessen the time wasted on spam calls. How? Because callers don't have to wait in long queues along with spammers. Live agents can also spend more time catering to actual calls, as they don't have to deal with spam bots, for they can't dial in keypads and choose numbers assigned in their phone menu system.

Most businesses acquire auto-attendant virtual receptionist services because they want to manage inbound call flow efficiently. With an Auto-Attendant, your company's primary contact number can stay open to receiving direct calls from your customers. You can easily redirect callers to the specific person they need by dial-by-name directory or even through the submenus; they can engage it using a keypad.

Whether a contact center or a small business, you can direct the flow of your incoming calls efficiently so that agents can handle the call volume your business receives.

With an Auto-Attendant, live operators don't need to spend precious time determining the intent of every caller. You can now give up some control to the callers, as they can easily choose from your menu options. If not, that's the time they can speak with a live virtual receptionist. With this, your phone queues are shorter, which makes customers and agents happy.

Want a significant advantage to getting an auto-attendant? It's cost-efficient. You can maximize the potential use of this technology, as it works even during holidays and after hours, as there's no need for breaks or time off. With these virtual receptionists,  You can rest easy knowing that someone will receive a call in your business phone system, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

RingCentral's Auto-Receptionist Auto-Attendant system allows you to handle changes to respond to your company's needs. With the RingCentral app, you can quickly modify the virtual receptionist settings from any device, including smart mobile phones and tablets. You don't need to worry about how to manage inbound calls, as you can easily forward them to any extension, outside line, or even directly to voice mail. 

Want to create a rule that provides special handling from a specific caller ID? Then you can do so, especially if they are your suppliers, VIP customers, and investors.

A surefire way to gain and retain customers is to have a great customer experience. For customers who appreciate calls as a way to reach out to companies,  the fact that they can call you straight away and with less waiting time can go a long way toward customer loyalty. With RingCentral Auto-Receptionist, this is possible.

How to Set up the Auto-Attendant of your Virtual Answering Service

Step 1. Open your RingCentral account on your desktop or web browser, and sign in as Admin
Step 2. Click Company settings > Phone from the left menu. Next to Company call handling, click Edit.
Step 3. Update or Customize your working hours
Step 4. Set up the call flow, including company greetings, caller ID extension numbers, SMS, and Fax numbers 
Step 5. Configure other Call Routing Settings
Step 6. Test the Auto-Attendant
Step 7. Save and Publish the Auto-Attendant
A woman in a car connecting to an agent via an auto-attendant

Auto-Attendant and Virtual Receptionist Service FAQs

RingCentral Auto-Receptionist is an auto-attendant system that can help users cater to inbound calls and redirect them to the appropriate department or person involved in the query. You can customize the auto-receptionist settings according to the specific call management needs of the company. Once set up, the auto-receptionist can cater to all inbound calls during and even after hours.

While the cost varies from auto-attendant platforms, RingCentral offers services worth your money. For a specific quote for your business, you can check out our Plans and Pricing page for more information. Want to check out our services first? Schedule a 14-day free trial demo today.

An Auto-attendant message or an Auto-attendant greeting pertains to an auto-attendant script recorded and set up in your phone system to cater to incoming calls. It could be a customized greeting professionally recorded for your company or a generic menu system directing the caller to dial via a keypad based on their choice. It will then prompt the auto-attendant to connect them to the department or person concerned. 

When agents are currently on a call with other customers, a line of waiting customers occurs, similar to when you head to a physical store. Call queues are managed by auto-Attendants so that customers wait for their turn to speak with the next available agent or the person they need. 

In an auto-attendant-managed call queue, you can either hear music or periodic updates of how far along you are in the list, as well as other customized options, including ending the call or redirecting you to a menu system.

If you are the account administrator, simply login to your Admin Portal. From there, you can specify company hours, set your company greeting, and define rules for call handling. For more details on setting up the Auto-Receptionist, refer to the RingCentral Intro to Auto-Receptionist.

The following are some default greeting options you can use when you activate your Auto-Receptionist: These include all the variations required for a professional business image:

  • Forward calls to another number or several phone numbers.
  • Send callers directly to voicemail.
  • Play an announcement only, and then end the call.
  • Use unconditional forwarding to forward calls directly to a different phone number, bypassing any greetings.
  • Set the connecting message (e.g., “Please hold while I try to connect you.”).
  • Choose from among dozens of music selections to play while calls are connecting or on hold.

Every RingCentral account open has an account administrator. This person shall manage the virtual receptionist service, including the Auto-attendant. The administrator should also establish and set up the rules for the main company number and change settings for individual users. Users control call handling settings for their numbers using answering rules.

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