For some people, Follow-Me does the trick. If I’m not at my desk, start looking for me always. For others, they may not want this unless the caller really needs to reach them. You can configure complicated IVRs, ringgroups, etc. to chain together but this is not manageable on a large scale. So how do you give everyone the ability to provide options to be located, on demand and that the user can manage. That’s where the Voicemail VmX Locater comes in …
You get a call and are not there, it goes to voicemail. Wouldn’t it be nice if you could change your voicemail message to read something like: "I’m not here, press # to leave me a message now. If it is urgent, press 1 to reach my cell, or 0 to get my assistant …" You get the idea.
The VmX Locater introduces a mini-IVR for each and every voicemail box that it is enabled for. You enable it from freePBX in the extensions/user screen. The user configures it from their ARI portal.
How does it work?
The user records their unavailable and busy messages as always. They provide instructions to the caller, "press 1 …" (Or maybe they don’t, and only tell certain people that the options are there).
Next, the GUI provides 3 choices (it is designed to have more, I just limited this in the GUI):
- 0 – an alternate destination to that of the system default, if you have your own personal assistant for example. This becomes the normal ‘zero-out’ destination.
- 1 & 2 – these options can be any number, an outside line, a ringgroup, queue, etc.
You can choose to have the IVR apply when unavailable, busy or both. For example, if you are busy you may not want someone to start ringing your cell phone, so disable it for busy. Lastly, when they do enter voicemail you can choose whether or not they will simply get a ‘beep’ or Allison’s standard instructions.
That’s it. From a user and caller’s perspective, they don’t realize that the voicemail’s busy and unavailable greetings have been hi-jacked to provide this functionality on top of the voicemail system. It acts seamlessly. (About the only glitch I’ve encountered is – if you call your own voicemail box and then click ‘*’ to get into the system, you have to hit ‘*’ twice when listening to the greeting.)
I’ve put this in 2.3.0 alpha right now (SVN trunk branch). No decision has been made yet whether we will back port this to 2.2.1 when that is released.
As a side note to all this, if you use Follow-Me, you will find that the ARI enhancements will also allow your users to access some of their Follow-Me settings, as well as CFB and CFU. A real benefit for users always requesting changes.