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Automated telephone, best practices, call center, customer interaction, voice mail, telephone system, answering machine, customer satisfaction
Automated telephone systems (ATS) have been criticized by customers as a frustrating way to interact with an organization. This study seeks to discover ATS best practices, assess how many local organizations (as opposed to 1-800 call centers) are utilizing various ATSs, and determine which ATS best practices these local organizations are adopting. A list of 35 best practices were found. An exploratory examination of 400 organizations in a mid-sized mid-western city revealed that very few use an advanced ATS, with 51% using a simple answering machine. The adoption of best practices by these organizations was quite varied. Managerial recommendations as well as future research suggestions are offered.