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Virtual Receptionist

Updated: 8/15/2019 2:59 AM

A Virtual Receptionist (VR) is an automated answering system that provides a range of options to direct inbound calls. You can set up multiple Virtual Receptionists based on your business needs.

  • The Basic VR provides a simplified answering system that is not based on schedules. You can update at any time to include schedules or other advanced features.
  • An Advanced VR lets you specify your business and non-business hours and enables you to do manual overrides to adjust for lunch hours, holidays and so forth. 

IMPORTANT: Rates apply for calls forwarded to Australian and international numbers outside your Vonage account.

Only the Super User or Administrators can add and modify Virtual Receptionists.

Add and Set Up Virtual Receptionist
Basic VR
  1. Sign in to the Admin Portal.
  2. Click Phone System, then click Virtual Receptionist.
  3. Click Add New and then select Basic VR
  4. Apply settings that specify how your VR operates.
     
    Step 1: Apply General Options 

    Complete the following fields and then click Next.

    NameEnter an identifier for your Virtual Receptionist.
    Extension Enter a number between two to six digits. Special service numbers cannot be used.
    LocationSelect a location for the Virtual Receptionist, if applicable. 
    Telephone NumberAssociate Direct Dial Number(s) with your Virtual Receptionist. Calls to these phone number ring the Virtual Receptionist directly.
    Ring Operator FirstChoose whether to send the incoming call directly to the Virtual Receptionist or to an extension you select. 
    Step 2: Choose How to Route Calls

    Create a menu that lets a caller choose how to connect their call and then click Next.

    NOTE: If you do not want a menu, select Do Not Use.

    For the OperatorDirects caller to the number you specify.
    To Repeat This MenuRepeats menu options.
    To Go to The Previous MenuReturns to the prior menu.
    To Dial by NameLets callers enter initial three letters of employee name.
    Do Not UseLets you bypass creating menu options or the use of certain keys.
    Add Your Own PromptSpecify a personalized prompt.
    Step 3: Record Greeting

    Record the message that callers hear when they reach your VR. A sample recording script is provided if you chose to play a list of options. See Record and Upload Greetings for instructions on how to use controls. 

  5. Click Close to save settings or click Advanced Options to add additional settings.
Advanced VR
  1. Sign in to the Admin Portal.
  2. Click Phone System, then click Virtual Receptionist.
  3. Click Add New and then select Advanced VR.
  4. Apply settings that specify how your VR operates and then click Save.
     
    Apply General Options (Name, Extension, Location, and Telephone Number)
    NameEnter an identifier for your Virtual Receptionist.
    Extension Enter a number between two to six digits. Special service numbers cannot be used.
    LocationSelect a location for the Virtual Receptionist, if applicable. 
    Telephone NumberAssociate Direct Dial Number(s) with your Virtual Receptionist. Calls to these phone number ring the Virtual Receptionist directly.
    Choose Schedule Type (Daily, Customized, Override)
    24 hours a dayDirects the VR to answer all incoming calls daily, each day of the week using the same messaging. 

    If you choose this option, you cannot specify customized hours or set up after hours/non-business hours. You can modify this schedule at any time to include other advanced options.
    Configure separate options for non-business hoursLets you specify (customize) your business hours for the week and turns on options to create an After Hours (Non-Business Hours) Virtual Receptionist, if applicable.

    To set your business hours, click each day to specify your start and stop times or Closed as needed.
    Manual Schedule OverrideLets you override your schedules to set up Out Of Office (Vacation, Breaks) and messaging. Before you can apply an override, you must save your Business Hours Schedule.
     
    1. Mark option to Enable Manual Schedule Override
    2. Select the Date and Time to end the override.
    3. Choose how calls are routed for this override period:

      NOTE: Available options are based on your settings. For example, if you do not have a Non-Business Hours VR, the setting is not displayed.
       
      Play Business Hours Virtual Receptionist

      Caller hears your Business Hours VR message during the override.

      Play Non-Business Hours Virtual Receptionist

      Caller hears your Non-Business (After Hours) VR message during the override.

      Play Different VR or Ring to an Extension

      Directs caller to another Extension, Virtual Receptionist, Call Group, Call Queue, or outside phone number. 

      Play the Following Message

      Mark this option if you want callers to hear a recorded message. 

      See Record or Upload Greetings for instructions on how to use controls.

    4. Click Save. The override takes effect immediately until the specified end date. 
    Business Hours Virtual Receptionist  (Business Hours Routing and Greetings)

    This Virtual Receptionist handles calls during the business hours you specified. You can have more than one Virtual Receptionist as required by your business needs. For example, you may have one that directs how calls are routed and greeted when picked up by your Sales department. Likewise, you may have an After Hours Virtual Receptionist that handles calls outside of your normal business hours.

    Try Live Operator FirstChoose whether to direct the incoming call to the Virtual Receptionist immediately or an extension.

    If you send to an extension:
     
    1. Select the extension and assign a Custom Tag, if applicable.
    2. Choose the number of rings before Virtual Receptionist picks up.
    Virtual Receptionists OptionsClick Select an option to specify how to treat the call once it reaches the Virtual Receptionist. Your options are:
     
    Playlist of options
    1. Mark Set Menu Command to allow callers to dial an extension directly, if applicable. 
    2. Click Select an Extension for each telephone key you want to use, where an option is not required for each key. Your options are:
       
      • Any extension, Virtual Receptionist, Call Group, Call Queue or Outside Number
      • Dial by name (uses initial 3 letters of a name)
      • Repeat this menu
      • Go to the previous menu
      • Do not use this button
    3. Go to Record Virtual Receptionist Business Hours.
    4. Record or upload message that specifies the menu options you set. See Record or Upload a Greeting for use of controls.
    Forward calls to single extension
    1. Select the extension.
    2. Go to Record Virtual Receptionist Business Hours.
    3. Choose to play a greeting or just ring the extension. If you want to play a greeting, see Record or Upload a Greeting for use of controls.
    Forward calls to voicemail
    1. Select the extension.
    2. Go to Record Virtual Receptionist Business Hours.
    3. Choose from the following options:
       
      • Play unavailable message of selected voicemail
      • Play busy message of selected voicemail
      • Play this greeting. See Record or Upload a Greeting for use of controls.
    Play a greeting and repeat continuously
    1. Mark option to allow callers to dial an extension directly, if applicable. 
    2. Go to Record Virtual Receptionist Business Hours
    3. Record or upload a greeting. See Record or Upload a Greeting for use of controls.
    Play a greeting and disconnect
    1. Mark option to allow callers to dial an extension directly, if applicable. 
    2. Go to Record Virtual Receptionist Business Hours
    3. Record or upload a greeting. See Record or Upload a Greeting for use of controls.
    After Hours Virtual Receptionist (Non-Business Hours Routing and Greetings)
    Try Live Operator FirstChoose whether to direct the incoming call to the Virtual Receptionist immediately or an extension.

    If you send to an extension:
     
    1. Select the extension and assign a Custom Tag, if applicable.
    2. Choose the number of rings before Virtual Receptionist picks up.
    Virtual Receptionists OptionsClick Select an option to specify how to treat the call once it reaches the Virtual Receptionist. Your options are:
     
    Playlist of options
    1. Mark Set Menu Command to allow callers to dial an extension directly, if applicable. 
    2. Click Select an Extension for each telephone key you want to use, where an option is not required for each key. Your options are:
       
      • Any extension, Virtual Receptionist, Call Group, Call Queue or Outside Number
      • Dial by name (uses initial 3 letters of a name)
      • Repeat this menu
      • Go to previous menu
      • Do not use this button
    3. Go to Record Virtual Receptionist Business Hours.
    4. Record or upload message that specifies the menu options you set. See Record or Upload a Greeting for use of controls.
    Forward calls to single extension
    1. Select the extension.
    2. Go to Record Virtual Receptionist Business Hours.
    3. Choose to play a greeting or just ring the extension. If you want to play a greeting, see Record or Upload a Greeting for use of controls.
    Forward calls to voicemail
    1. Select the extension.
    2. Go to Record Virtual Receptionist Business Hours.
    3. Choose from the following options:
       
      • Play unavailable message of selected voicemail
      • Play busy message of selected voicemail
      • Play this greeting. See Record or Upload a Greeting for use of controls.
    Play a greeting and repeat continuously
    1. Mark option to allow callers to dial an extension directly, if applicable. 
    2. Go to Record Virtual Receptionist Business Hours
    3. Record or upload a greeting. See Record or Upload a Greeting for use of controls.
    Play a greeting and disconnect
    1. Mark option to allow callers to dial an extension directly, if applicable. 
    2. Go to Record Virtual Receptionist Business Hours
    3. Record or upload a greeting. See Record or Upload a Greeting for use of controls.
     
Modify a Virtual Receptionist
  1. Sign in to the Admin Portal.
  2. Click Phone System, then click Virtual Receptionist.
  3. Hover over the Virtual Receptionist you want to manage and then select an option (on right):
    DeleteClick the Trash Can icon to remove.
    CopyClick the Duplicate icon to make a clone. You must provide the new Virtual Receptionist with a new name and extension.
    Manual OverrideClick the Calendar icon to set up Out Of Office (Vacation, Breaks) and messaging. See Set Out of Office Options.
    EditClick the Pencil icon to update with other options, such as scheduling, phone number and so forth.
Set Out of Office Options
Schedule Extended Time Off

Set a Manual Schedule Override when your business is closed for vacation or any other extended period of time. This option lets you play a custom greeting or direct callers to a different VR or extension.

  1. Mark option to Enable Manual Schedule Override.
  2. Select the Date and Time to end the override.
  3. Choose how calls are routed for this override period:

    NOTE: Available options are based on your settings. For example, if you do not have a Non-Business Hours VR, the setting is not displayed.
    Play Business Hours Virtual Receptionist

    Callers hear your Business Hours VR message during the override.

    Play Non-Business Hours Virtual Receptionist

    Callers hear your Non-Business (After Hours) VR message during the override.

    Play Different VR or Ring to an Extension

    Directs caller to another Extension, Virtual Receptionist, Call Group, Call Queue, or outside phone number.

    Play the Following Message

    Mark this option if you want callers to hear a recorded message. See Record and Upload Greetings for instructions on how to use controls.

  4. Click Save. The override takes effect immediately until the specified end date.
Schedule for Holiday

Modify your business schedule, up to a week in advance, if your business is not open 24/7 and closes for holidays.

  1. Sign in to the Admin Portal.
  2. Click Phone System, then click Virtual Receptionist.
  3. Hover over the Virtual Receptionist you want to manage and click the Pencil icon.
  4. Go to Virtual Receptionist Schedule and verify Configure Separate Options for Non-Business Hours is selected.
  5. Select Closed for each day you are closed.
  6. Click Save.
Once the holiday is over, set prior business hours for the days you selected as closed.
Troubleshoot Issues
Cannot Save VR
  • Complete all required fields.
  • Verify the extension number is not in use elsewhere.
  • Do not forward the VR to an extension that is forwarding back to the VR.
  • Clear your web browsers cache and cookies.
  • Use a different web browser. 
VR not Routing Correctly
  • Verify Manual Override is not enabled.
  • Review your business hours and verify that the correct time zone is set in PBX Settings.
NOTE: If a number is being transferred to Vonage, the transfer must complete before inbound calls are directed to the VR.

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