1. Overview

Delivering a professional first impression is critical for all businesses, large or small. One way to achieve this with a phone system solution is to make sure that every call is answered in a timely manner. 

The Auto Attendant serves as a receptionist that answers the phone and routes calls to various destinations, employees within your company, and specific groups of employees, voicemail, or other outside numbers. They provide callers with your company greeting and dialling menu options. Each Auto Attendant is assigned a unique 10-digit number for identification and setup purposes.

Auto Attendant Example

Figure 1 - Auto Attendant Routing Example

2. Feature Prerequisites

Before the Auto Attendant service can be used the following conditions must be met:

  • At least one 2 Way DID must be assigned to the Auto Attendant and it must be active.
  • The Business Hours routing options greeting must be established.
  • If you require a unique message, greetings may be uploaded to the My Account Web Portal as a .wav file or recorded from the Voice Portal.
  • For instructions on how to record your Auto Attendant greetings from the Voice Portal, please reference the Voice Portal Quick Reference Guide.
  • For uploaded files, they must be formatted as CCIT u-Law 8.000kHz, 8 bit Mono .WAV with a maximum file size of 2000 KB or about 4 minutes of recording.

3. Log into the Portal

After entering the Service Provider URL in a browser, the Sign In window appears.

Figure 2 - Sign In Box

Click here to go straight to the login page. Enter the Username and Password. These credentials are sent via email when the Customer or Site Administrators are set up through the order process or in the Portal.

4. Go to the Services tab

Figure 3 - Services Menu

4.1 Select Services in the left hand navigation menu

4.2 Select Auto Attendants in the Call Routing section

5. Feature Setup 

The Auto Attendant has two modes – one for business hours and the other for after hours. Each mode allows administrators to setup options 1-9, #, and * to present callers with different options from which to select. To route callers to another set, or branch of options – an additional Auto Attendant must be assigned to your account. Multiple Auto Attendants can be purchased on provisioned on a Site.

The Auto Attendant also supports a Holiday Schedule. During the dates/times defined in the Holiday Schedule, callers will be routed based on the After Hours settings. To learn how to manage the Auto Attendant’s Time Schedules, please reference the Schedule Quick Reference Guide. 

5.1 Enable/Disable the Automated Attendant

Click on the box in the Status column to change to enable or disable the Auto Attendant. 

When enabled it shows as On and calls to the number will be auto answered.

When disabled it shows Off, and calls to the number will not be answered. 

5.2 Select the Auto Attendant to Configure

Figure 4 - AA Edit

5.2.1 Select the Auto Attendant to be configured. If you have a large list of them, you can also use the search tool at the top of the page.

5.2.2 Click the Edit button to open the configuration window

5.3 Configure the Auto Attendant

Note: The Save button at the bottom of the screen must be clicked to save any configuration changes.

Figure 5 - AA Top Configuration Section

5.4 Top Drop down box

The top label will show Automated Attendant being edited. Hit the selector button in the dropdown box to select another AA within the Site to edit. 

5.5 Incoming Call section

5.5.1 Telephone Number

The phone number assigned to this Automated Attendant. A number is initially configured in the Provisioning process. To change the lead number, unassign the current lead number in Assignments/List by Number and re-assign a different number.

5.5.2 Name

By default, the phone number assigned to the Auto Attendant will be displayed in the Auto Attendant Name field. If desired, replace the default by entering a name for your Auto Attendant. Create a name that reflects the purpose of this specific auto attendant. E.g., “Main AA”.

5.5.3 Extension

Having an extension is required. It allows callers within the Site or Enterprise to reach this AA by dialling just an extension. If desired, enter or modify the Extension assigned to the Auto Attendant. Extension numbers must be from 2 to 6 digits.

5.6 Scheduling section

The Time Schedule and the Holiday Schedule can be selected from the dropdown boxes. The schedules appearing in the dropdown boxes are those that are defined in the Scheduling area in the Services tab under the Site Packages Settings section. See the Cloud Phone Scheduling Configuration Guide for detailed instructions for setting up the schedules.

To run the same greeting at all times of the day (i.e. one mode 24x7). 

  • Configure the Business Hours settings so that each keypad has the desired action assigned to it.
  • Configure the After Hours settings so that each keypad has the desired action assigned to it. 
  • Ensure that you have the desired Business Hours and After Hours AA greetings uploaded. If you want the same greeting at all times, upload the same greeting to both locations.

5.6.1 Time Schedule

The Time Schedule defines the company’s normal business hours. The Automated Attendant uses this schedule as defined for the Business Hours configuration in the Dialling section below. 

The menu options

Times that are not defined in the Time Schedule are considered After Hours. When calls are received during the After Hours, the Automated Attendant will follow the After Hours keypad configuration.

5.6.2 Holiday Schedule

A Holiday Schedule can be selected which define special time periods which would normally be during business hours but need different routing since employees are not at the business or following their normal business routine due to a Holiday.

5.7 Dialling

This section is where the keypad settings are defined for Business Hours and After Hours. The settings can be set the same or different depending on business need. 

Enter text describing the location you would like the caller to reach when they press the corresponding number on their keypad. This will appear in the Description field to easily identify what you have the key configured to do.

Figure 6 - AA Configuration Middle Section

5.7.1 Dialling Options

  • Choose either Enterprise or Site - This defines the scope of the Automated Attendant calling list (Enterprise wide or restricted to this Site). 

5.7.2 Business Hours

Configure the Automated Attendant behavior for the times defined in the Business Hours schedule.

  • Enable Extension Dialling Without Requiring a Menu Item – Check the box to allow a caller to enter an extension number while the announcement is playing.

Dialling Menu Configuration

For each dial pan digit (0-9, * and #), define the action taken when hit by a caller. By default 0 is used for Transfer to the Operator, 1 is used for Dial by Extension and 2 is used for Dial by Name. All other digits are Not Used by default. All of the default actions can be changed.

Note: the default system announcement describes the default actions for digits 1 and 2. If any of the defaults are changed or more digits are used, a custom announcement will be needed to describe the configured menu. 

Action options include:

  • Not Used: The default when an action has not been select for that digit or character.
  • Transfer to External Number, with or without prompt: Routes callers to a configured phone number that is not a user or extension within the company.  
  • Transfer to Operator: Routes callers to a configured operator. The designated operator will receive all calls that time out if the caller does not choose an option from the Auto Attendant.
  • Dial by Name: Enables callers to dial by a recipient’s name. 
  • Dial by Extension: Enables callers to dial by a recipient’s extension. 
  • Repeat Menu: If selected, this option will repeat the greeting and menu options.
  • Exit Menu: Allows a caller to exit the menu system. This will terminate the call.
  • Transfer to Voicemail: Routes callers directly to the voice mailbox of the extension entered in the Transfer To field.
  • Transfer to Internal Number, with or without prompt: Routes callers to any user’s phone number within the company. Optionally, you can elect to play a message prompt before the transfer is placed. This message is the playback of the user’s name as recorded in the voice mailbox.
  • Transfer to Extension, with or without prompt: Routes callers to a configured extension. Optionally, you can elect to play a message prompt before the transfer is placed. This message is the playback of the user’s name as recorded in the voice mailbox.
  • Enter the destination to which the call should be transferred. This only applies if the Transfer to Internal Number, Transfer to External Number, Transfer to Extension, Transfer to Operator, or Transfer to Voicemail options are selected.
  • Either duplicate settings for After Hours or repeat process for to define a different treatment for After Hours.
  • Click “Save” to save the setting. 

Figure 7 - AA Configuration Bottom Section

5.8 Greetings

For both the Business Hours and the After Hours, a default system greeting or a custom greeting that is uploaded in the portal can be played.

  • To play the default greeting hit the Default radio button.
  • To upload a custom greeting:
  • Select the Custom radio button
  • Place the cursor in the box and hit the browse button. 
  • The computer’s file explorer will open. Browse to find the recorded file. (For greeting files to properly upload, they must be saved as a .wav file in CCITT u-Law with 8.000 kHz, 8 bit Mono attributes. Using a basic sound converter will allow you to save your .wav file in this format.)
  • Hit Upload

5.9 Reporting

In addition to providing the automated answer and routing solution, the Auto Attendant delivers call activity metrics allowing for greater visibility into historical call volumes and route choices.  

The generate a report”

  • Enter a date range by clicking on the date range box.
  • Choose a predefined range or create a custom range. 
  •  Predefined options are Today, Yesterday, Last 7 days, Last 30 days or This Month
  • To create a custom range, click on the From and To Boxes. When clicked, a calendar will open. Navigate to the desired dates and select.
  • Hit Apply to save the date range or Cancel to not save.
  • Hit Generate to create the report.
  • Auto Attendant Stats 

o Destinations – Phone numbers to which the Auto Attendant has routed calls.

o Key – Auto Attendant Menu Key option related to phone number (if applicable).

o Description – Auto Attendant Menu Key Description related to phone number (if applicable).

o Answered – Total number of calls answered by user.

o Busy – Total number of calls that received Busy treatment after being routed to user.

o Not Answered – Total number of calls not answered by user.

o Other – Total number of calls falling outside the previous three categories of treatment. These would include transfers, routing to a voicemail station or routing to another auto attendant, queue or hunt group, etc.

o Total Calls – Total number of calls routed to a specific phone number by Auto.

  • Attendant

o Duration – Total number of minutes of active conversation via the Auto Attendant.

  • More Options

Two advanced routing options are available for Automated Attendants: Forwarding and Alternate Numbers.

  • Forwarding

Forwarding for Automated Attendant directs calls to the lead number to a different destination. This capability may be useful in situations where calls to the Automated Attendant need to be answered in a different location possibly due to emergencies or natural disasters. 

Two modes are supported: Always and Selective. 

If no forwarding is desired, keep on the default setting of Do No Forward.

  • Always – sends all calls to the configured alternate destination
  • To enable, click the Call forwarding always radio button and enter a valid telephone number in the Forward To field.
  • Selective – applies forwarding only to calls meeting the configured criteria. The criteria include the time, date, and/or calling number.

To enable, click the Call forwarding selective radio button, enter a valid telephone number in the Default forward to field and add at least one criteria rule.

Add criteria rule

  • Enter Description for the rule which will be displayed on the rule list i
  • Scheduling - Select a desired Time or Holiday schedule. Only existing Site level schedules are available to be selected. Additional custom schedules may be created under Services>Scheduling.

Note: Both a Time and Holiday schedule may be selected. If both are selected, then forwarding rule will only be active if both the time and holiday schedules criteria is met.

It is best practice to choose only a Time Schedule or only a Holiday schedule for one rule. If a Holiday rule is required, create a separate rule for it. 

  • Time Schedule – defines the days of the week and the specific hours/minutes of a day the rule will be active.
  • Holiday Schedule – defines special days or time periods which may require different call routing.

Forward To – Sets the phone number to which the call will be sent. Select either Default Phone Number, Another Phone number or Do Not Forward.

Default Phone – uses the phone number entered as the Default Phone number.

Another Phone Number – If a number other than the Default number is desired, select this radio button and enter a valid phone number in the Forward to field.

Do not forward – Choose this option to disable selective call forwarding for this Automated Attendant.

Calls From - You may apply the rule to calls placed from any number or from selected numbers. Select one option.

Any numbers - enables forwarding from all originating phone numbers.

Following numbers - Applies the forwarding only when calls are received from the phone numbers defined below. Choose desired options.

Any private numbers - Calls from anonymous/private numbers. 

Any unavailable numbers - Calls that do not have an identified caller ID are presented as unavailable numbers.

Specific Number - You may define up to 12 specific telephone numbers from which forwording will apply. Enter valid telephone numbers in the fields provided.

Alternate Numbers - The Alternate Number feature for Automated Attendant provides the capability to have 10 additional telephone numbers ring to the same Automated Attendant. This may be useful when is desired to monitor call traffic from different numbers but serve them from the same Automated Attendant.

Select Automated Attendant from the Services tab and then hit Edit on the desired Automated Attendant to manage.

Add Alternate Number

  • Hit the “Add” button at the bottom of the screen
  • Choose the alternate number to assign to the Automated Attendant from the Phone Number drop down box.
  • Hit “Save”

Delete Alternate Number

Deleting an Alternate Number disables the number from ringing the Automated Attendant and puts it back into the pool of Site numbers which can be assigned to a user or service. The Alternate Number can’t be edited once it has been added. To change the number, it must first be deleted and then the new number added.

  • Check the box next to the number to delete.
  • Hit the “Delete” button at the bottom of the screen.

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