Interactive Voice Response (IVR)/Auto Attendant
An Interactive Voice Response(IVR)/Auto-attendant feature is perhaps one of the most desirable features for a business PBX. An IVR plays an automated message to all incoming callers. This message plays to the caller, specifies the options which are available to them and subsequently prompts them to make their selection based on the nature of the call. Once the caller chooses the appropriate option, the call can be routed to the intended party, extension, department, etc. IVR’s are very robust and efficient tools in any business environment, and work to decrease the amount of time spent needlessly on the phone with a caller. Since the entire system is fully automated, calls are routed with more efficiency, and employees are able to maximize their productivity.
Caller ID is a standard system feature which enables incoming calls to be identified by their phone number. An incoming caller’s name or number is displayed on the users phone screen.
This feature allows calls which would usually originate at a given location to be forwarded to another. Once call forwarding is activated, all calls are redirected to the intended destination immediately. Calls can be forwarded to another extension, phone number (such as a mobile), an IVR, and more.
An example of this feature would be if a particular user had to leave the office for a given amount of time and wanted to receive their phone calls at another location.
Call parking enables a call to be placed in a call parking lot with an assigned number. This parked call can be picked up by any user with any phone. The caller who is placed in the call parking lot will have on-hold music played to them while they are awaiting a pick-up. Calls are assigned specific parking lot numbers upon transfer. The parking lot number is essential to this system, so it is imperative that the person transferring the call notes which parking lot number the call is placed in – the number is read to the transferring user after dialling the extension for the parking lot. Calls can be answered simply by dialling the parking lot number.
This system is extremely useful when there are phones located where there may be more than 1 user (e.g. factory floor, newsroom, meeting room, etc…). Calls can be placed in a parking lot, and the receptionist can simply contact who the intended recipient is and tell them the code to access the call (e.g. “Jill, your husband is on line 76” – Jill simply dials 76 on any phone and is connected to her husband).
Call recording is a useful feature which enables a calling or called party to record a conversation using their phone. Call recording can be set to always record, never record, or record strictly on an on-demand basis.
Call recording can be useful for training and/or quality assurance. Some jurisdictions/countries do not allow a call to be recorded without prior consent, please check your local laws before recording a phone call.
Call recording is an optional extra based on requirements of your business.
Our system gives you the ability to view all phone calls in a graphical interface. System allows you to filter by date, extension, user, duration, and more. Totals are calculated based on the filter settings, and are displayed graphically in a number of ways.
This is useful for businesses who need to keep tabs on phone calls and certain individuals/extensions who cannot be directly observed or monitored constantly.
The Call Screening feature, when enabled, prevents a number from calling into the phone system. This is useful to prevent unwanted calling/solicitation, prevent harassment and/or abuse, stop telemarketing companies who just won’t give up, among other uses.
The Call Spy feature enables certain privileged users to listen in on any phone call. This feature does not allow the user using call spy to interact with any member of the call being spied on. This feature also does not alert the party being spied on that someone else is listening.
This feature can be useful if an executive wishes to listen to an active call live without the call party knowing or in training situations where a supervisor can listen in and use observations to support an employee.
This essential phone feature allows users to transfer calls from their phone. Calls can be transferred to another user, voicemail, an external number, and other destinations.
Call transfers can be done in two distinct ways. The first method is called a Blind Transfer and it will connect two calls immediately. The second is called an Attended Transfer, and this method connects the person making the transfer with the intended recipient first. This gives the transferring user a chance to inform the recipient who is on the line before the actual transfer is made.
A Call Queue is a feature which places callers into a regulated on-hold system of priority such that the caller with the highest priority (usually the caller on hold the longest) is answered before a caller with a lower one. Call Queues are extremely useful when handling a large number of incoming callers at the same time. Callers can be placed in a queue to be answered by the first available representative (support representative), or placed in a queue which can be answered by a specific agent (sales rep.). While a caller is waiting in a queue, special music on hold and/or messages can be played to them. Users are also able to log in and out of certain queues. This can be useful for users who wish to take lunch and not have their phone ring, or for situations where additional agents can be of use.
Queued calls have numerous options and configurations associated with them. A few of them as follows:
- Call recording
- Agent ring options
- Ring all agents
- Ring available agents only
- Ring certain agents only
- Alert agent how long a caller has been holding prior to answering call
- Call queue 'weight' to apply priority to calls from different queues which would be answered by one group of agents (i.e. support calls are higher priority than sales)
- Fully customizable timing and messaging options (how long a caller waits on hold, how often to play a message, automated message which estimates on-hold time, and more...)
The Conference Room feature of your system works to create a meeting room whereby users (both internally and externally) can call in and talk to one another. Conference rooms can be moderated by an admin user, and as well can be password protected to prevent unwanted callers from accessing it. The conference room can be accessed by users internally by dialling the conference room access number. The conference room can be accessed by external users by entering a numerical code after dialling a number.
For example, your conference room can be linked to your IVR message without anyone ever knowing. A caller would dial your regular business number, and once they reached the IVR message, they would enter the access code (#XXX) followed by the password, and they would be connected to the conference room.
Conference’s can easily be setup by contacting one or more parties via extension dialling. This conference, however, has restricted functionality, and may not work with outside parties.
Do Not Disturb
The Do Not Disturb feature allows users to set a condition on their handset phones which would automatically reject a call. This is somewhat similar to call forwarding, except that any incoming call will terminate to the users ‘busy’ voicemail (regular unanswered calls terminate to the ‘unavailable’ voicemail). This feature is useful when a user is occupied with an important task and cannot afford to take a call (e.g. important meeting, important task, eating lunch, etc...).
Instant Call Control
The Call Flow Control feature is a unique feature which gives control over the routing of incoming calls with the use of feature codes. This feature is useful in a situation where an incoming number/route would need to be changed on-the-fly.
A good example of this feature in use would be when an office closes for the day. A receptionist (or user) simply dials the code (or presses the button on his/her phone assigned to it) to enable or disable the Call Flow Control.
When the Call Flow Control is enabled (green button), all incoming calls will be directed to the standard IVR (or extension 200 if no IVR is present).
When Call Flow Control is disabled (red button), all incoming calls will be directed to an IVR which alerts the caller that the office is closed.
This IVR message should explain to the user that they may press 1 to leave a message with reception or call back during regular business hours.
Music on Hold
Music On Hold is a feature which plays music to callers who have been placed on hold or are currently in a call queue. The music can be customized to play music pertaining to the demographic base of the callers, or simply present the callers with a number of custom recorded messages relating to the potential nature of the call.
An example of this would be to record a message which can then play every X seconds indicating that the call is “important to us and will be answered in priority sequence”.
Another option is to record a message which can be played to callers to inform them of a potential issue which has been made aware (e.g. “we are currently aware of the escaped monkeys and are working to apprehend them. If this call is not concerning the ravenous monkeys, then please continue holding”).
The Office Hours feature makes it possible to route a call based on the time, day of the week, or month. This feature can be useful for routing calls differently after business hours, during weekends, holidays, etc. A good example of this feature in use would be to play to callers a message indicating that the business is currently closed. The message can then inform the caller of the regular business hours and prompt them to leave a message or simply call back during business hours.
A Remote User is a phone system user who is not located in the office, yet still connects and has the same functionality of an office user. The Remote User must have their remote phone configured to connect to the System located at the central office.
Remote Users allow an individual to work from anywhere in the world via VPN, and calls can be placed and received just as if they were sitting at a desk in the office. This is an extremely useful feature which can be taken advantage of in a multitude of situations and scenarios (e.g. employees working from home, employees who are often travelling, employees in another city, country, and more).
The system is capable of grouping together many extensions into a single dialled extension. For example, if there are sales agents with extensions 220, 221, 222, and 223, then it is possible to assign a ‘Sales’ ring group which when dialled, will call all of the phones simultaneously.
Additional options can be configured such as: the ring strategy (ring all, ring sequentially, ring first available, and more), max ring time, announcement (to be played to the caller prior to dialling the group), whether to ring or play music, and more.
This feature is useful for IVR’s and call queues as incoming calls can be directed to an entire department with ease. This can also be useful if you wish to contact a group of phones internally (technical support agents). It is as simple as assigning those phones to a ring group (such as 601), and dialling it from any system phone.
Voicemail is perhaps one of the most known and used feature of a phone system. Voicemail allows callers to leave a voice message which can be played back at a later date/time. By default, voicemails have two separate conditions/messages which can be played.
- 'unavailable calls' – when calls are unanswered
- 'busy calls' – when a user sets their phone to Do Not Disturb mode (click for more info)
When a call reaches a users voicemail, the caller is prompted to leave a message after a pre-recorded (or automated) message. Additional options can be set to route calls should they reach a users voicemail (see VMX Locater for more information).
Voicemail to Email
The voicemail to email feature is a feature which when enabled, sends a copy of a user’s voicemail message to their specified email address. This feature allows users to listen to their voicemail messages via email or smart-phone device without having to physically use their desk-phone.