Main Number Handling – Receptionist’s Account vs Standalone/Phantom User

This post is part of my Main Number Handling series, so if you’ve just recently stumbled on to my blog, be sure to check out the earlier posts, including the introduction.

One of the most awkward scenarios I’ve seen for handling a main number is to assign that number to the receptionist. It works well for low call volumes and when the receptionist is at their desk, but it falls apart in several scenarios:

  • When reception is on a break, late, on vacation, or doing one of the million+ task receptionists take on, who answers the phone? If it’s a softclient, this means an PC is left unsecured.
  • Voicemail routes to the receptionist’s Exchange mailbox. When they’re not available (see above!) messages are either not read or the receptionist needs to share their password or voicemail PIN.
  • The receptionists voicemail greeting is either their personal greeting which is inappropriate for corporate messages, or the voicemail greeting is the corporate message and doesn’t reflect the fact that it belongs to a user, when someone is calling directly for that user.

A better solution is to create a standalone or “phantom” user account for the role of the reception phone, so that the receptionist can have their own phone and voicemail and privacy of email, voicemail, and PC.

The approach that I usually see is to have the receptionist use a softclient on their PC, and use a deskphone for the main number. If the deskphone is too clunky for forwarding calls, I’ve seen SimRing and TeamRing used to have the receptionist’s softclient also be able to handle the call.

If the receptionist doesn’t answer the call, voicemails would be left in the main reception voicemail box. Other staff can retrieve voicemails via the phone, or mailbox delegation can be used to allow others access. If someone else is covering the reception desk, they can answer the phone at the desk, or choose to Simring/TeamRing their own SfB account instead.

 

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