Avaya IP Business System Voicemail – Business Critical
Voicemail has become imperative for any business. A convenience for both callers and employees, voicemail allows the caller to leave a recorded message for a specific person 24 hours a day, whenever the person’s extension is in use (busy) or he/she is away from their desk (no answer). It increases efficiency because essential messages can be left without requiring both parties to be available at the same time. Coupled with Caller ID, voicemail allows employees to manage their incoming calls more efficiently by answering only necessary calls, while allowing others to be answered by voicemail.
What do I need to look for in business telephone voicemail?
Make it a built-in voicemail system, not added on. – Today’s most advanced phone systems integrate the voicemail functions and call management into a single platform. Only true integration allows advanced features and functions such as live call recording and the ability to attach Caller ID name-and-number information to voicemail messages for later callback, transfer, copying or moving.
Messages are recorded as digitized files; the best systems maintain recorded voice quality that sounds like the original, while others greatly compress file to save storage space at the expense of the audio quality.
Many systems claiming to have integrated voicemail have merely placed the hardware board for the auto attendant and voice mail system into the same box with the call-processing system. Independent components won’t offer the advanced features found on a true, fully-integrated system. Be sure to look for a fully integrated telephone and voicemail system that delivers all the productivity-boosting features you want and need.
Enough voicemail ports to handle your needs – Another key in choosing a system is the number of voicemail ports (or channels) that are offered. Think of a voicemail channel as a lane on a highway: the more lanes you have, the more traffic the highway can handle. Many voicemail systems use as few as four voicemail channels. To get a larger number of voicemail channels, you pay more money. And that’s not the only limitation. In most systems, each voicemail channel must use one of the system’s call processing ports, diminishing the overall system capacity (lines and extensions).
Look for a phone system that supplies six or more channels for voicemail functions and does not diminish overall system capacity. As you add more phone lines and extensions, you will need more voicemail ports.
Easy voice message handling – The most advanced phones feature a fixed voicemail key on the phone for one-touch access to the user’s mailbox. These systems include displays on each phone and help the user by showing message status. During message retrieval, the display shows message length and Caller ID information (if service is available from your local carrier). Less capable systems only offer a blinking light, which forces you to call into the system to get the message or learn message status.
Live call recording
This feature lets you instantly record conversations, conference calls, intercom calls and even personal reminders and store them in your voice mailbox (or others’ mailboxes) for future reference.
What do I need to look for in Call Recording?
The ability to record a call instantly by pressing just one key – Some systems have a complex method to activate recording, and some will record only if you set up your phone for recording prior to initiating the call. A dedicated “RECORD” key on the phone makes this important feature easy to use.
The ability to record any and all calls – Some systems can record only incoming calls. Others record only incoming calls that are processed through the auto attendant. Still others waste resources by recording all calls, forcing you to decide whether to store or delete the recording; this can also needlessly tie up the voice mail and auto attendant features. Many systems provide only a limited number of recording channels (or “talk paths”). By comparison, advanced systems let you selectively record all incoming and outgoing calls (including conference calls, intercom calls and personal reminders) at any time during the conversation. The best systems also offer enough voice channels so that multiple calls can be recorded, even when several users are using voice mail or are transferring through the auto attendant. (Laws governing recording of calls vary by state, so check your local regulations first.)
Advanced Caller ID
Caller ID can let you know who’s calling before you answer the phone. The name and number of the calling party is shown on the telephone’s display (information must be supplied by your local provider). However, Caller ID features vary greatly among phone systems. With some phone systems, Caller ID information reaches the telephone display, but it is lost when the call is processed through the auto attendant or is transferred to another extension. Most systems do NOT retain the Caller ID name and number when the call goes into voice mail.
What do I need to look for in Caller ID?
Caller ID information stored with voice mail messages — Only the most advanced systems embed the name and number and pass it along when the call is transferred or goes into voice mail. Automatically storing Caller ID within the voice mail message allows instant auto-redial by simply pressing one key.
Instantly adding Caller ID information to speed-dial — Caller ID information should be easily added to each user’s phone’s personal speed-dial directory, without having to enter the caller information manually.
Caller ID on all phones — Some manufacturers charge more to include Caller ID functionality on individual phones. Caller ID is such an integral part of efficient phone systems’ usage that it should be standard for every business phone user, and not an extra-cost option.
Missed-call log — The most sophisticated systems’ Caller ID automatically remember and list the last several callers, whether they left a message or not.
With an auto attendant, your phone is always answered 24 hours a day during office hours, nights, weekends and holidays. It can forward the call to the proper person or department, and it can invite the caller to leave a message. Recent studies indicate that most callers now prefer to be greeted by an auto attendant because they can be connected with the desired person or department more quickly. Even when a live operator answers most of your calls, the auto attendant enhances your company’s productivity. When calls come in faster than your operator can handle, the auto attendant acts as a backup, answering overload calls on a pre-determined number of rings. This eliminates long ring periods and hangups, and minimizes the aggravation your customers experience when being placed on hold.
What do I need to look for in Auto Attendant?
Multiple levels & branches — Look for a sufficient number of automated attendant levels and branches to handle your current and future call distribution needs. Ask your sales representative to help you diagram your anticipated auto attendant use so you will know your needs.
Several greeting message options — You will want multiple main-greeting options, such as day/night, weekday/weekend and holiday modes. Also, the ability to call in and remotely record and activate greetings can be important, especially during inclement weather.
Various call-routing options — Does the system you are considering offer multiple call-routing options, including overhead paging, off-premises transfer (follow-me) and pager notification?
Easy to use — An auto attendant is a powerful tool, but can be very complex to program and know it is working properly. Look for very easy self-administration, programming and recording of auto attendant prompts and functions.
Other advanced features to consider:
Call forwarding — Allows a caller forwarded to your voice mailbox to reach you at an external number, such as your home phone or cell phone.
Mobile Twinning — Basic mobile twinning is now a value add no cost feature for all users. Mobile Twinning allows the associated users to receive calls on a mobile device as they are in the office. On the go? Transfer a call seamlessly from your desk phone to your mobile phone and back again with the touch of a button.
Advanced Mobile twinning with the new Avaya one-X® Mobile Preferred for IP Office solution extends unified communications capabilities to mobile devices, and brings the desktop experience to users on the go. This integrated server-based solution provides rich functionality and multi-modal communication such as audible commands, instant messaging, and voice call control.
- One-number access and call control (click-to-call, click-to-conference, etc.) with a rich user interface
- Integrated presence, IM, visual voicemail, audible commands, & more
- Support for Android platform or iPhone
Multi-purpose programmable keys — Each extension should include many “soft feature keys” that can be easily programmed by each user to be a station-monitoring, intercom or speed-dial key for one-touch connection to most-used features and extensions.
All extensions are “premium” sets — Some systems tout wonderful functions that can be accessed only with an upgraded, more expensive “premium model” extension phone set. Look for a system that includes all the premium features (programmable keys, display, Caller ID, speakerphone, speed dial, etc.) in every set.
TAPI support — Advanced phone systems provide a connection through each extension to connect directly to a desktop PC, allowing phone and PC to work together when using certain contact manager software.
Options for digital lines — Does the system you are considering allow you to connect either T1 or PRI data lines? Depending on local availability, each form of digital line service provides unique benefits.
Expandability — Some systems have a limited ability to add lines and extensions, and they must be replaced when need exceeds capacity. This is very costly. Look for a system that can grow and be upgraded without having to replace all your extensions and base system.
The option to add VoIP capability — In the future, most phone conversation will take place over data lines rather than phone lines. This exciting new technology is called voice over Internet protocol (VoIP), or often just “IP.” Will your new system allow you to add IP capability to provide remote extension capability and link multiple locations together? Some digital systems are unable to offer this dual-mode capability; systems that do will be less likely to become out dated as you start using IP connectivity.
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