How to Use Telephone ExtensionsRegular telephones can be plugged into any extension jack.
Each phone will have its own 2-digit extension number that can be dialed directly or assigned to a menu option for callers to press.
Here we explain how to use telephone extensions, with details on:
- The difference between physical and virtual extensions
- Custom Programming
- Calling Outside
- Room-to-Room Calling
- Music on Hold
- Group Ringing
- Transferring & Forwarding
- Voice Mail
- Message Notification
- Three-way Conferencing
Physical ExtensionsThe VoicePro can handle up to 12 phone extensions. It uses standard single-line phones. Nothing special or expensive is required. When a regular telephone is connected to the VoicePro it has multi-line capability with flexible professional-quality features as reviewed below.
- Any caller can dial extensions directly or select menu options that you have assigned to ring to specific extensions.
- You may assign incoming lines to ring to specific extensions if that fits your needs.
- Menu option zero rings to extension 10 if you want to have a receptionist manage that extension.
- Dialing a physical extension will ring the phone connected to that jack or can be forwarded to another number.
- When you pick up any extension you get outside dialtone so you can dial any number as usual.
- Callers can be transferred by pressing the flash button and dialing another extension.
- The VP206 supports 6 physical extensions. Numbered 10 thru 15.
- The VP412 supports 12 physical extensions. Numbered 10 thru 21.
Virtual ExtensionsBesides physical extensions, extension numbers go all the way up to 99. Those beyond the highest physical extension are virtual extensions, which can be used as voicemail extensions to play a greeting and take a message. Only physical extensions can ring to a phone or be forwarded to another number.
Single-key Menu Options To Ring ExtensionsEach phone has a 2-digit extension number. Callers can dial that directly.
But you can optionally assign Auto Attendant menu options to ring to specific extension phones or direct to specific voice mail boxes. So your caller just presses a single key from your custom menu to reach a particular department or a specific person.
Example: "For customer support, press 1. To leave a message, press 2."
Custom ProgrammingEach extension and its mailbox can be custom programmed...
- Record a personal greeting that plays when your extension is not answered.
- Specify which outgoing lines are permissible by each extension.
- Activate Call Forwarding to another extension or to a remote phone number.
- Call Screening...
When call screening is enabled the caller will be asked to say their name. Then it plays that to you while they are on hold. Such as "You have a call from John Smith." You can press # to accept or * to send the caller to voice mail. You can enable call screening on any extension.
Calling OutsideWhen you pick up any extension you get outside dialtone so you can dial any number as usual. There is no need to dial 9 first, as required on some other phone systems.
The system automatically gives you dialtone on any outside line that is available. You don't need to think about which line it is. However, extensions can be programmed to select specific outside lines if that is important to you.
You can also select a specific outside line on the fly by dialing *8x (where x is the line number) before the number you are calling. But there is no need to do this since you will get dialtone on any available line anyway when you lift the receiver.
- You can call from any extension to another without tying up an outside line. Just press the star key (*) to switch to an inside dialtone and then dial the two-digit extension you wish to reach.
- You can answer someone else's ringing extension by picking up your extension and dialing *50. If you don't get an outside dialtone then just dial 50 without the star.
Caller-IDCaller-ID (name and number) is passed to extensions to view if your phone has a display. This feature requires Caller-ID service from your phone company.
Music on HoldWhen a caller is being transferred to an extension, they will hear Music on Hold if you have a music source connected to the music jack on the Voice Pro. A radio, CD player, MP3 player, or even an Apple iPod can be used. Callers will hear silence while being transferred if no music source is connected.
Group RingingIf you have a need for ringing several extensions so that any of your personnel can answer an incoming call, you can assign an Auto Attendant menu option for the caller to press that will ring multiple extensions.
This is known as departmental or group dialing and is normally only found on larger PBX systems. But the VoicePro has it too.
Group Ringing is also useful to avoid voicemail when a caller selects an extension that is busy. You can program a menu option that will ring multiple extensions. Then if one is busy, the other(s) will still ring. The caller will only go to voicemail if no one answers. The number of rings can be set and the mailbox to use if no answer can be specified (it's the first you assign for your group ringing).
Transferring & ForwardingWhen you answer a call that really needs to be directed to someone else, you can transfer that caller.
You press "flash" and dial the other extension. Then hang up. The other extension can answer.
If you would rather announce the call, don't hang up. Do the same as above, but wait for the other person to answer. Then you can tell them you are transferring so and so. When you hang up, they will be connected to the party you put on hold.
What if you're not in the office to get to your phone and you don't want callers to just end up leaving you a message? What if you really want to get those calls live?
In that case you can forward your extension to another outside number, such as your cell phone.
You can take the call and the caller won't even know that you're not in the office.
Voice MailIf a caller dials an extension and there is no answer, they will be routed to that extension's mailbox. Each extension has its own mailbox and your personnel can record their own personal greetings.
The message length is programmable up to the 2-hour storage limit. All messages play the time and date received. Messages can be picked up from any remote phone. All mailboxes are password protected.
The administrator can check which mailboxes have messages in one step with a single function. So there is no need to dial each mailbox to find which has messages.
In addition to all the physical extensions, there are additional mailboxes (up to 99) that handle "only" Voice Mail. However, only physical extensions can be forwarded to another location. But all 99 mailboxes have live message alert.
Message NotificationThere are several ways the VoicePro can notify you when you have a message.
- It can call you remotely at another number. It will tell you that you have a message and allow you to log in during that call.
- It can use the message light on your phone extension if you have one.
- It can also give you studder dialtone if you don't have a message light indicator.
Remote Message Notification
- Pager Alert can be programmed into any mailbox to notify you that a message was left.
- Live Message Alert can be specified to call your cell phone, or any number, by voice, to "tell you" that you have messages. And, if you wish, you can log-in with your passcode during that call to pick up your messages.
Message Waiting Light IndicatorYou will also be aware that you have messages by the "Message Waiting Indicator". There are two ways your extension will indicate that you have messages...
- Message Waiting Light: If your phone has a standard 90 volt message light, it will flash when you have messages.
- Stutter Dial-Tone: If your phone does not have a message light, just disable the "message waiting light" feature for your extension and the system will give you a stutter dial-tone to indicate you have messages when you pick up the phone.
External Message Waiting LightIf you don't have a telephone with a message waiting light, you can add on an external light indicator.
Viking Electronics makes a Universal Message Waiting Light that connects in line between the extension jack on the VoicePro and the phone. I comes with a short wire so you can mount it right on the phone. Then use the regular length wire you already are using to connect the light to the VoicePro.
We tested this device and it works great. The light flashes brightly when there is a message in that extension's voice mail. Note that you will need one for each phone if you want a message light indicator for each. Click the image to order direct from Amazon.
Three-way ConferencingThe VoicePro lets you set up conference calls with one outside party and another inside party, or two outside parties and you.
In other words, when you receive a call from the outside, you can conference that caller with another person who is either atanother extension, or a remote person at another number.
- While on an outside call, press "flash."
- You will receive an internal dial tone.
- Dial another extension, or for an outside number, press 9 and listen for the dial tone.
Then dial the outside number.
- When they answer, press "flash" again and the first party will be included in the conference.
Learn More About The VoicePro
- VoicePro Description Page
- Automated Attendant PBX
- Transferring and Forwarding
- Informational Voice-On-Demand
- How Fax Detection Works
- How Music-On-Hold Works