The preceding section discussed general considerations with call routing to a receptionist or an AA. Provided that your business requires at least some of its calls to be routed via an AA, the following several sections discuss Cisco UE's AA capabilities in more detail. The features discussed here assume a minimum of Cisco UE 1.1 software. Some features require later releases.
When callers call into the AA number, based on the time of day and the day of the week, the AA may play a different greeting to callers, followed by a menu of options. After the caller selects the desired option, the call is routed to the requested destination, which can be an employee extension or a service such as recorded driving directions or business hours.
One of the many benefits of an AA is that after-hours callers can still receive the information they need to contact your business. It also lowers business expenses and lessens the burden on a receptionist. An AA is especially useful for larger sites where the number of calls to the main office number may overwhelm a receptionist. An AA menu should be carefully designed, because it is the public face of your business to clients. Badly designed menus, menu choices that are ambiguous, or loops within the AA script will frustrate callers.
Cisco UE provides the capability to define up to five different AAs. Each individual AA is a menu script associated with a phone number called a pilot or call-in number. Calls arriving at the pilot number, either internal or PSTN calls, are then handled by the script associated with the pilot number.
Cisco UE ships with a system AA (using system-provided scripts) that requires minimal configuration to set up for your business. You may also use one or more custom scripts that tailor the AA menu options to your business's exact needs. Each pilot number that you associate with an AA script counts as a distinct AA application. Up to five of these AA applications can be active in the Cisco UE system at once.
Which AA is executed depends on which pilot number you direct your calls to; this is entirely flexible. For example, you may have the system AA active, one custom AA that you have written, and one or more test scripts that are not actively taking calls but that are present on Cisco UE as the third or fourth AAs. Or you may have different departments, each with its own direct PSTN number, and each wanting to manage its own AA greeting and menu separate from the other departments. This configuration can be accommodated with two or more separate AAs in the system. Most businesses, however, in addition to an optional receptionist use one of the following:
The Cisco UE System AA