An automated attendant is a telephone answering system that eliminates the need for a human switchboard operator. The automated attendant (AA) delivers a programmable voice menu: "for sales, press 1;" "for tech support, press 2," and so on. All PBXs and phone systems have automated attendants, and the number of menu levels depends on the system. When voice response is added, it is known as an "interactive voice response" system. See IVR.
An application in which an interactive voice processor automates many of the functions of a human attendant, answering an incoming call and prompting the caller through a series of spoken menu options to directly access a department or station through touchtone or speech input. In the event that the caller does not know the desired station number, an automated directory can provide that information on the basis of a name search.When the station number is identified, the voice processor signals the telephone system (e.g., KTS, PBX, Centrex, or CO), instructing it to connect the call. See also audiotex, human, voice mail, and voice processor.