Virtual Receptionist has been a feature with traditional EPABX for long time now. But it had a limited intelligence and utility. This feature works as receptionist in front office in any organisation which attends incoming calls, transfers the call to required extension or take a message. This feature of PBX is also known as “auto attendant”. This feature can be implemented using simple IVR with voice mail system and now known as Virtual Receptionist.
How to implement using a 4 Port Analog Card ?
“Virtual Receptionist” can be implemented using a 4-port Analog CTI card and a very basic 2-8 Port Analog PBX. SO total cost of hardware should be around Rs. 35000/- ( US$700 approx.) apart from PC and software.
In the PBX, it will have 2 PSTN line and 8 extensions. Out of these 8 extensions, two extensions, say 10 and 11 would be connected to two ports of the Analog Ports. ( As shown in the figure above).
The PBX should be programmed in such a way that any incoming PSTN call should automatically land on extension 10 and 11.
Now we will have a “Virtual Receptionist” IVR running on the PC which will have the following simple steps :-
1. As soon as it gets incoming call, it will play greetings and asks for extension to be forwarded in DTMF/Key press. Or by using Speech Recognition, it may ask the caller to speak to the person.
2. Once DTMF digits received ( or name recognised), it will dial put the caller ON HOLD ( Flash ) and then dial out the extension.
3. If the extension rings, it will isconnects itself.
4. If the extension is busy, it will ask the caller to leave a message.
So that is all about implementing on-premise virtual receptionist.
It can have many advanced features. For example:-
1. Office hours
It will not transfer calls after office hours.
2. Follow Me
Any extension could implement “Follow Me” feature where a person can change his extension number to be dialed out depending on his time at office.
Every call will be logged or can also be recorded.
Many other smart and intelligent call routing features, voice mail etc. can be implemented.
Advantages of having On-Premise Virtual Receptionist :-
1. No recurring cost
One of the major advantage of on-premise virtual receptionist system is, it does not have any recurring or outgoing call cost since it uses local PBX for transferring the calls.
2. Secure Incoming Call records
Since everything is on premise, all incoming call records are secure and it may be vital for many companies.
3. Sharing of Resources
Many people in the office will have virtual receptionist facility which other wise was exclusive to few people in case of a hosted one due to recurring call cost.
So, if you already have PBX in your office, having virtual receptionist may be just one time cost of few thousand rupees!