If your mailbox is enabled for Exchange Unified Messaging, you can set up to nine call answering rules. These rules are different from the Inbox rules that you set up. By default, no call answering rules have been created for you. All callers will be prompted to leave you a voice message until you set up call answering rules.
If you're satisfied with having the voice mail system just answer your incoming calls and record a voice message, you don't have to create any call answering rules. However, if you decide that you want to set up conditions or actions, you can set them up by using the Call Answering Rules section on the Voice Mail tab in Outlook Web App.
Use the Call Answering Rules section, shown below, to create, edit, and delete call answering rules.
Anatomy of a Call Answering Rule
Each call answering rule that you create contains two key parts:
- Conditions – The criteria that must be met before the rule can be applied to an incoming call.
- Actions – The options that should be presented to the caller when all the conditions are met. These actions will be read to the caller over the phone, and the caller can then choose what they want to do using the keypad on their phone.
The following figure shows the form for creating a call answering rule. The form is divided into two columns. The right column displays the list of available conditions and actions you can use to build the rule. The left column displays the list of conditions and actions that have been added to the rule.
Conditions are rules that you can apply to call answering rules. By using a combination of conditions, you can create multiple call answering rules that will trigger when the conditions are met. To create a default rule that will be applied to every call, you create a rule that doesn't contain any conditions.
There are four conditions that can be used when you set up call answering rules, including:
- Caller ID
- Free/busy status
- Automatic e-mail reply is enabled/disabled
Actions are used to define what you want to happen when a condition is met. The three kinds of actions are:
- Call Transfer
- Leave a Voice Mail
Adding a Find-Me Action
When a caller selects Find-Me, the voice mail system will attempt to locate you at up to 2 different phone numbers, and then connect the caller to you if you're available at one of the phone numbers. To add Find-Me to your list of actions, click find me at the following numbers...
In the Find-Me dialog box, specify the phone numbers and other settings. The settings that are available are listed below:
You can specify text that will be read to the caller. For example, if you enter “Urgent Matters” to inform your callers that they should only select this action if they have important things to discuss with you, the voice mail system will say "For Urgent Matters, press the 1 key."
You have to associate the Find-Me action with the number on the telephone keypad that the caller will have to press to select this action. In the example above, the 1 telephone key is the number callers will press to reach you at one of the phone number or numbers you specify.
Next you have to specify the one or two phone numbers that the voice mail system will dial. If you specify two telephone numbers, the second number will be dialed if you're not available at the first. Each phone number that you specify has an associated duration.
The duration is the time period during which the voice mail system will try to dial the phone number before it moves on to the next number. Or, if you can't be contacted, the voice mail system will go back to the options menu.
After you've entered this information, click Apply to save the Find-Me settings.
Adding Call Transfer Options
By setting a Call Transfer action, you provide callers with the option to be transferred to another person's phone number. To add Call Transfer to your list of actions, click Transfer the call to ...
There are several options that are available when you want to transfer an incoming call to another phone or Contact. The Transfer the Caller dialog box is shown below.
- You can specify text that will be read to the caller. For example, you can enter “Important Matters” to inform your callers that they should choose this option if they have an important matter to discuss and need to speak to someone.
- You have to associate the Call Transfer action with the number on the telephone keypad that the caller will have to press to select this action.
- When you choose the Call Transfer action, you have to specify a person or phone number for the caller to be transferred to. You can choose a phone number or select a Contact to be called when the caller presses the correct key on the telephone keypad. If you specify a contact who's within your company directory, the voice mail system will try to transfer the call to the extension number of that contact.
- In addition to specifying a person or number for the caller to be transferred to, you also need to specify the number on the telephone keypad that the caller will have to press to select the Call Transfer action.
After you've entered this information, click Apply to save the Call Transfer settings.
Adding and Removing the Leave a Voice Mail Action
By default, the voice mail option is automatically added to each call answering rule. If you don't want to offer this option, you can remove it by clicking . Press the # key to record a voice message. If you've removed the option for receiving a voice message, you can add it back by clicking the Leave a voice message option.
Recording a Personalized Voice Mail Greeting
You can record a custom greeting for each call answering rule you create. By default, Unified Messaging will generate a default greeting based on the actions you've configured. To record a custom greeting, you can click the Call the Play on Phone number to play or record a greeting for this call answering rule... in the Call Answering Rule window and the voice mail system will call you so you can record a greeting. In your recording, you should include any actions you've configured on the rule itself. The voice mail system won't list the actions if you've recorded a custom greeting.
You can also allow callers to interrupt your voice mail greeting while it's being played for callers, or prevent them from doing so, by selecting or clearing the Let callers interrupt the greeting while it's being played check box.
Saving Your Call Answering Rules
Before you save your rule, you have to give it a meaningful name. After you do this, click Save and Close to create the rule. Next, you should test to make sure the call answering rule is working you want it to by trying to call your phone extension and waiting for the call to be answered by Unified Messaging.
Creating a basic Call Answering Rule
- Login to Outlook Web App (https://mail.chinookcommunications.com)
- Select Options | See All Options
- Click on Phone
- Under Call Answering Rules, click New Rule
- From the New Rule dialog box, type a name for the rule then click "Transfer the caller to..." and provide the following information then click Apply.
- The description that you want the caller to hear
- The key to be pressed
- The phone number to transfer the call to in the format +1xxxxxxxxxx
- Click Save and Close to save the rule.