PortaOne Auto Attendant Tutorial

The Auto Attendant can be daunting to look at the first time, but it is fairly straightforward and simple to learn. This section is presented as a tutorial, you can follow along at your leisure or navigate on your own if you wish.

Some basic information you might remember before starting:
  • All voice prompts are individually limited to 30 seconds of recording
  • If you close any window without clicking Save before, you will lose your work
  • Even though the pages are english, you can record in whichever language you want and even be multilingual!
The first screen you will be shown contains very little information except the words “ROOT” and “Always”. This screen shows all the different “menus” that are available on your attendant. We will see this later, for now it is sufficient to know that the ROOT menu will always be the one that will be played first, and if deleted it will come back by itself (and lose the work you put it in!)

Menu Editing

Now, let’s get into the menu: click the word ROOT to get into the next screen. Don’t get scared with all the options on the screen, they are actually a lot more simple than you might think.

On top you have the Name (you cannot change it here for the ROOT menu), which identifies each menu. Active will determine when this menu is active. The ROOT menu should always be active, we will test this later.

The next 4 options are “general” voices for the menu. Intro is what is played at the start of the menu, for example “You’ve reached the Smith family. For John press 1, for Jane press 2, to leave a message press 3.” Timeout will play if someone does not press anything for 10 seconds. Menu (Well, I’m not sure what this does at the moment!). Unavailable will play if someone presses a key that is not defined (an invalid option).

Then comes the different dialpad options (Events). Not Active will play if the menu is currently inactive (not used in the ROOT menu, see later). 1 to # are the 12 keys present on any phone. Timeout is an alternative to the previous Timeout prompt – you can transfer to another menu or to a call queue if someone doesn’t press anything, which is useful for people with rotary phones… Fax is if you want to transfer incoming faxes to another phone number and such. Leaving the option as is means faxes will simply come to your inbox.

For each Event you have a series of different options:

  • Action: What to do when the key is pressed:
    • Transfer: Used to transfer to another phone number (for example, “Press 3 to reach Jane’s Cell phone for emergencies”).
    • Transfer to E.164 Number: If you’re not sure what E.164 means – don’t use this.
    • Transfer to Voicemail: Will send to the default system voicemail (see UM Preferences)
    • Transfer to Extension: Will transfer to another extension of the system (used only for small businesses)
    • Menu “XXXX”: Can transfer to another menu (see next section).
  • Destination: When transferring to an extension or phone number, this is where you’re transferring. The format for transfer is: 11-digit dialing (15143539988 for example)
  • Max Size: Unused option (Read: We aren’t sure what this does).
  • Play Before Action: If you check the box and record a voice message, it will be played before the action (e.g. “You’re being transfer to Jane’s cell phone. Have a great day!”)
  • File: Upload an audio file for the Play Before Action section (Format to be determined).
For the purpose of this tutorial, if you wish to follow it, you can try the following:

  • Record a simple intro like: Hello, you’ve reached <your name>’s house. Press 1 to leave me a voicemail, 2 to reach my cell phone for emergencies, or 3 for a joke
  • Under the event 1, select Transfer to Voicemail.
  • Under the event 2, select Transfer for the action, and under destination enter your cellular phone number (or a pager for example), including the 1 and area code (e.g. 15143539988). Optionally, you can add a Play Before Action prompt by checking the box and recording something like Ok, transferring you to my cell phone, hope it’s important!
  • For the 3 event, we’ll come back later!
Once you have made all your selections and recorded your messages, Click SAVE at the top-left corner of the screen to save your changes. If you close this window at any time without saving, you will lose all of your changes (including voice recordings).

Creating and using extra menus

To create a new menu, go back to the Auto Attendant main page (click on Close or Save & Close from any menu, or click on the right-most icon at the top-left corner of the screen and click Auto Attendant). Click Add at the top-left corner of the Auto Attendant screen to add a menu. Here is what’s different from the ROOT menu:

  • Name: You can change the name of this menu to something you like, for example “information” or “Joke of the Day”.
  • Active: When is the menu active? You could have a menu available only on christmas or easter, or during the second sunday of each month, whatever you like. You can use the Wizard button next to the box and follow the prompts to set up when the menu is active. If someone tries to access this menu outside of its Active time, the “Not Active” prompt will play with the appropriate action (retransfer to another menu, most likely)
Once you have created and saved this extra menu, you will now be able to move from one menu to another using the Events noted previously. For example, in this extra menu you can set the star (*) button to return to the main menu. Simply click on the Action box next to * and select Menu “ROOT”.

For the tutorial, let’s create our little joke that we mentioned in the Root menu:
  • Under Name, enter Joke of the Day
  • Under Active, click the Always button (unless you want to try the wizard)
  • Under Intro, record a small joke. If you can’t think of one, here’s a random joke from the internet (I’m not saying it’s funny!): “What do you call cattle with a sense of humor? Laughing stock!”.
  • Under the Timeout Event, choose Menu “ROOT”.
Again, remember to Close & Save. To finish the loop, we will need to go back to the ROOT menu by clicking on it, and then under the 3 event, select Menu “Joke of the Day”, then click Save & Close.

That’s all folks! You are free to explore the menus, create your own menus and have fun. Here’s a few ideas for the explorers: A small “adventure of which you are the hero”. A trivia game with multi-choice answers. Use your imagination 🙂