Switchvox Tools Guide

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Switchvox Tools Guide

 

Managing Faxes

Faxing is only supported over an analog or PRI channel, otherwise incoming fax detection and fax quality will be compromised. We have worked hard to make Switchvox fully compatible with the T.38 fax protocol; however, some VOIP Providers and equipment vendors may not be compatible with the Switchvox T.38 implementation. So if you want to handle faxes using T.38 over a SIP provider, we recommend you work with your provider to test for compatibility and set up dedicated extensions for incoming and outgoing faxes. Handling faxes over G.711 is not supported.

 

For outgoing faxes, you can send a fax from your fax machine or send a file from your computer to a fax machine.

For incoming faxes, Switchvox creates a PDF and sends it to the Mailbox of the appropriate Switchvox extension. Incoming faxes are not received on a fax machine. (However, it is possible to receive faxes on an analog fax machine plugged into a Digium FXS card. In this situation, you must disable fax detection on the entire channel group, which means you can't use one telephone number to receive voice and fax calls.)

Switchvox only sends and receives one fax at a time under the included Fax License, but it handles the faxes in such a way that you should not notice. If you need to handle a large number of faxes daily, you may want to speak to a Switchvox sales specialist for recommended solutions.

To enable faxing capabilities, you must first install your Fax License and the related fax software.

  • To do this:
  1. Go to Tools > PBX Features > Digium Addon Products in the web suite.
  2. Click the link to Switchvox Product Addons. This opens a new page on www.switchvox.com.
  3. Enter your Switchvox Registration Code. This can be found on your Switchvox installation media.
  4. Copy the Fax Addon License Key shown on the resulting page.
  5. In Switchvox, select Fax and paste your Fax License in to the Register Additional Addon Products section.
  6. Click Submit.

Incoming Faxes

You can enter a Default Fax extension for each Channel Group (or SIP provider). When a fax comes in, the fax is routed to this extension.

You can set up an Incoming Call Route so one phone number (DID) can handle someone’s voice calls and faxes. This sends incoming faxes to the extension’s Fax folder and incoming voice calls to the extension’s phone.

You can also set up an Incoming Call Route so all activity on a phone number (DID) is treated as a fax and sent to the same extension. This is useful if you want a dedicated incoming fax extension.

Outgoing Faxes

If you want to use a fax machine, you can dedicate its extension to just sending faxes. In that case, Switchvox handles all outgoing activity as a fax (prints a fax file, puts it in the Fax.Outbox folder in that extension’s Mailbox, and sends the fax). You can also set up a Feature Code extension that lets you send a fax from your fax machine and put the fax into another extension’s Outbox.

If you want to fax files from your computer, you need to set up a printer driver on your computer. Each Switchvox user can set up a printer driver for a dedicated outgoing fax extension, for their own extension, or both. For a dedicated extension, outgoing faxes are found in the dedicated extension’s Mailbox. For someone's own extension, outgoing faxes are found in the user’s Mailbox. For more information, see Faxing From Your Desktop

Managing Call Queues

  • Use Extension Groups as Queue members whenever you can.
    Extension Groups help you manage many areas of Switchvox, and this is one of them. When you have a new employee, you can simply put him or her into the right extension group, then rest assured that they are now part of the right queues, receiving the appropriate group voicemails, etc.
  • Be sure your caller experience and call routing settings are appropriate for your call volume.
    You don't want your customers getting frustrated with you, so make sure your queues are doing everything they can to reassure callers and help them quickly reach a live person.
  • Use Music on Hold for custom messaging.
    You can record your own MoH for each queue, so you can make the queue fun, provide important information, or even provide calming influences!

To manage your queues, go to Setup > Extensions > Manage in the web suite. From this page, you can find all of your Call Queue extensions (View Only Call Queues), or you can create a Call Queue extension.
 

Managing IVRs

To create an IVR in Switchvox, first plan the entire IVR experience you want to offer your callers, starting from the end and working towards the beginning. For example, here is a suggested strategy:

  1. Determine all the recorded sounds you want to play for the caller (instructions, information, etc.), and create those sounds in the Sound Manager. (Tools > Media)
  2. Determine which extensions the caller might be transferred to, then create an IVR menu for each one. (Those menus would have a Dial Extension action.)
  3. Determine what factors might change your IVR, then build an IVR menu to handle each situation. For example, if your IVR behaves differently during regular business hours than after hours, or it behaves differently based on a zip code the caller provides, you would create an IVR menu for each situation.

After you have your sounds and a set of component IVRs built, then you can build the main IVR menu that answers your calls.

After you have built your main IVR menu, create an extension to reach it (Setup > Extensions > Manage, then create an IVR Extension).

If you want all of the calls from a service provider to go to an IVR, set that provider’s Callback Extension to the extension of the IVR.

Here are some basic suggestions for creating an IVR:

  • Keep it simple, really simple. The goal is simplicity.
  • Put the most probable selections in the beginning. If people call often to ask about your inventory, make that option #1.
  • Make dialing 0 connect to a live person. People do use helpful IVRs, so when they press 0 it's because they really need a live person.
  • To create IVRs, go to Tools > PBX Features > IVR Editor in the web suite.

Basic IVR

The following is a basic IVR and the steps to create it.

This IVR does the following:

  1. Answers the main line with a recorded greeting.
  2. If it is after business hours, an additional message gives the normal business hours.
  3. Explains to callers that if they know their party’s extension, they can dial it at any time. (This is considered the beginning of the main IVR, so if we send callers back to the beginning of the menu we don’t force them to listen to our greeting each time.)
  4. Offers callers an option to use the company directory.
  5. Offers callers an option to hear a recorded service announcement.
  6. If it is after business hours, offers callers the option to leave a message.
  7. If it is during business hours, offers callers the option to speak to a Customer Service representative.

This IVR allows callers to dial an extension or select an option at almost any time during the message. However, when the initial greeting or the business hours are playing, the caller cannot interrupt those sounds.

If possible, you should use option numbers that do not start with the same digit that your extensions start with.

For a Switchvox IVR to function properly, it needs all of the items in the following sections:

Sounds

Our sample IVR uses the following sounds in the Sound Manager. A Best Practice is to create a new Sound Manager Folder for each particular IVR and put your custom sounds in that folder; however, you can use an existing IVR Folder if you prefer.

  • Business Hours “Our business hours are Monday through Friday, from 9:00am to 5:00pm.”
  • Dial Extension “If you know your party’s extension, you can dial it at any time.”
  • For Customer Service “For Customer Service press 3.”
  • Greeting “Hello, thank you for calling! We’re happy to help you.”
  • Main Menu “Main Menu.”
  • Service Announcement “All services are functioning normally.”
  • To hear Main Menu “Press the star key to hear this menu again.”
  • To hear Service Announcement “To hear our current service announcement press 2.”
  • Use the Directory “To use our company directory press 1.”

IVR Menus

Our sample IVR uses the following IVR menus in the IVR Editor. It’s important to create these in the order given; you’ll see why as we go along.

1. Create a new IVR menu called Main IVR. For now, it will only have one action:

  • Action: Play Sound ‘Dial Extension’ (Interruptible)

2. Set up each of the component IVR menus:

  • Start at Main
    • Action: Play Sound ‘Main Menu’ (Interruptible)
    • Action: Go To IVR Menu / Action: Main IVR at entry point Play Sound (Dial Extension)
  • Play Business Hours
    • Action: Play Sound ‘Business Hours’ (Not Interruptible)
    • Action: Go To IVR Menu / Action: Start at Main at entry point IVR Menu Beginning
  • Dial Directory
    • Action: Dial Extension ‘411’
  • Play Service Announcement
    • Action: Play Sound ‘Service Announcement’ (Interruptible)
    • Action: Go To IVR Menu / Action: Start at Main at entry point IVR Menu Beginning
  • Dial CS
    • Action: Dial Extension ‘611’
  • Dial CS Voicemail
    • Action: Send to Voicemail ‘610’
  • Customer Service
    • Action: Time Based Clause: within the time range Outside Business Hours, go to Dial CS Voicemail at entry point IVR Menu Beginning
    • Action: Go To IVR Menu / Action: Dial CS at entry point IVR Menu Beginning

3. Finish setting up Main IVR:

  • Action: Play Sound ‘Greeting’ (Not Interruptible)
  • Action: Time Based Clause: within the time range Outside Business Hours, go to Play Business Hours at entry point IVR Menu Beginning
  • Action: Play Sound ‘Dial Extension’ (Interruptible)
  • Action: Play Sound ‘Use the Directory’ (Interruptible)
  • Action: Play Sound ‘To hear Service Announcement’ (Interruptible)
  • Action: Play Sound ‘For Customer Service’ (Interruptible)
  • Action: Play Sound ‘To hear Main Menu’ (Interruptible)

 

  • Option 1: Dial Directory at IVR Menu Beginning
  • Option 2: Service Announcement at IVR Menu Beginning
  • Option 3: Customer Service at IVR Menu Beginning
  • Option *: Start at Main at IVR Menu Beginning
  • Option Setting: Enable extension dialing: Extension Group that can be dialed

Extensions

Set up (or just verify) the following extensions in Manage Extensions:

  • Main IVR (800)
    This should be an IVR extension.
  • Customer Service (611)
    This should be a Call Queue extension.
  • CustomerService Voicemail (610)
    This should be a Virtual extension.
  • Directory (411)
    This should be a Directory extension.
  • Employee phone extensions
    These should be SIP extensions for your employees.

Note: The CustomerService Voicemail extension can be set up to forward all of its voicemail to your customer service representatives. You can do that in the Extension Suite's (/main) Voicemail Options and the Forwarding tab.

Testing

It’s important to test an IVR before you let your callers reach the IVR’s extension. Call the extension yourself, listen to the sounds that are played, and try to dial an extension. Call several times, choosing each of the different options. You can test Option 3 and the Time Based Clause by changing your Time Frame Outside Business Hours (for details, see Time Frames). Or, change the Time Based Clause in Main IVR to During Business Hours, check to make sure you get the correct behavior for outside of business hours, then change the Time Based Clause back to Outside Business Hours.

A Working IVR

To set up Switchvox so that Main IVR answers all of your calls, set your Callback Extension to 800 (the extension we gave Main IVR). That setting is available on the VOIP provider page, or in Channel Groups, depending on how your main phone number is handled.

IVR to Require Password for Outbound Dialing

IVRs can be used to prevent any and all phones from dialing outbound numbers unless they first dial a password, authorization code, or account code. There are two steps to accomplish this.

Step 1: Alter an extensions permissions to deny all outbound calls by default.

In the Web Admin, under Manage Extensions, modify the extension for the phone you would like to do this for. At the bottom of the page, under the Outgoing Call Rules section, check the Deny box next to all outbound rules (this should be every rule except "Internal"). Click the "Save Extension Settings" button.

Step 2: Create two IVRs to allow the user to call out if they have entered in a correct password.

IVR#1 prompts the user for a password and sends them to the IVR#2 if the password is valid. The second menu prompts the user for a number to dial then dials that number.

Here is the action list for the IVR #1. Note that you may have to record the sounds yourself in the Sound Manager before you begin creating the IVR.

  • Play Sound: "Please enter your password followed by the pound key"
  • Record Digits: password
  • Conditional Clause: If password = 1234 go to IVR #2
  • Play Sound: "Sorry, the password you typed is incorrect"
  • Go To IVR Menu/Action: IVR #1, IVR menu beginning

Here is the action list for the IVR #2.

  • Play Sound: "Please enter the number you wish to dial followed by the pound key"
  • Record Digits:  number_to_dial
  • Send to External Number:  number_to_dial

Make sure you click the checkboxes labeled "Allow" next to all of the outbound rules you wish to permit the users with the correct password to dial in your "Send to External Number" action.

After your IVRs have been created, the final step is to assign an extension to IVR #1. Navigate to Setup > Extensions > Manage in the Web Admin. Click on the "Create Extension" button. Choose "IVR" for the Extension Type drop-down menu and click the "Create Extension" button. Assign an extension number, for example, 833, and select "IVR #1" and "IVR Menu Beginning" from the drop-down boxes. Click the "Create Extension" button.

After this is done, callers from the phones that you have configured in Step 1 can now dial 833, enter their password (1234 in this example) and enter the phone number they wish to call followed by the pound key.

Managing Time Frames

Switchvox is capable of much more than simple day and night modes. Using its custom Time Frames feature you can define special time periods. The system matches your custom definition of a Time Frame to the current day/date/time. If any characteristics of the definition match, the custom Time Frame is activated. For example, you can define Time Frames for business hours, weekends, lunch periods, holidays, special events, etc.

Important: Days and Times are separate entities. If you specify start at 5:00PM and end at 9:00AM, it does not mean the end time is at 9:00AM the next day. This "recycles" to the start of the same day.

 

Managing Notifications

 

Troubleshooting Email Notifications

Most issues with email notification are related to one or more of the following:

  1. DNS (more specifically MX records)
  2. Outgoing SMTP server issues  (access to this server may be needed)
  3. Networking

The following are step-by-step instructions. If at any point the email notification starts working, you can stop at that step and look to isolate the issue to that particular step.

Before we begin, make a note of the settings you currently have in the following two locations:

  • Server > Networking > IP Configuration > Advanced Options 
  • Tools > Notifications > SMTP Settings

By default, you shouldn't have to make any special settings in Switchvox for the voicemail email notification to work. For troubleshooting purposes, our goal will be to do the following:

  • Revert all settings back to default
  • Show that the Switchvox email notification process is working.
  • Isolate the issue to external variables.

The email test is not always an accurate tool for diagnosing because it uses SMTP, and Switchvox uses sendmail for email notification. The true test is to call in and leave a voicemail to activate the email notification feature. Try to conduct the testing after business hours.

Change Your Hostname

This will rule out any DNS issues that may be caused by your hostname. This will drop all current calls.

  1. Go to Server > Networking > IP Configuration
  2. Change the "External IP Address / Hostname" field to: localhost.localdomain
  3. Reset the voicemail settings back to default
    • Go to Tools > Notifications > SMTP Settings
    • Clear out all values in the four fields ('Voicemail Notification Email From Address', 'Outbound SMTP Server', 'Outbound SMTP Username', and 'Outbound SMTP Password') and put the following in the 'Voicemail Notification Email From Address' field: PBX@localhost.localdomain
  4. Save the settings
  5. Leave a voicemail message on your extension
  6. Check for an email from the address specified in your 'Voicemail Notification Email From Address' field. If you have one, then you don't need to go any further! If you don't receive an email, then continue on

Modify the Voicemail Notification Address

  1. Go to Tools > Notifications > SMTP Settings
  2. Change the 'Voicemail Notification Email From Address' to <valid>@<emailaddress.com> where this is a valid email address that exists on your email server. Leave 'Outbound SMTP Server', 'Outbound SMTP Username', and 'Outbound SMTP Password' blank.
  3. Save the settings
  4. Leave a voicemail message on your extension
  5. Check for an email from the address specified in your 'Voicemail Notification Email From Address' field. If you have one, then you don't need to go any further! If you don't receive an email, then continue on.


Modify the Outbound SMTP Server

  1. Go to Tools > Notifications > SMTP Settings
  2. Change the 'Outbound SMTP Server' to either the Hostname or IP address of your e-mail SMTP server. Leave 'Outbound SMTP Username', and 'Outbound SMTP Password' blank
  3. Save the settings
  4. Leave a voicemail message on your extension
  5. Check for an email from the address specified in your 'Voicemail Notification Email From Address' field. If you have one, then you don't need to go any further! If you don't receive an email, then continue on


Modify the 'Outbound SMTP Username' and 'Outbound SMTP Password'

  1. Go to Tools > Notifications > SMTP Settings
  2. Change the 'Outbound SMTP Username' and 'Outbound SMTP Password' to a valid username and password for an email account on your SMTP server
  3. Save the settings
  4. Leave a voicemail message on your extension
  5. Check for an email from the address specified in your 'Voicemail Notification Email From Address' field. If you have one, then you don't need to go any further! If you don't receive an email, then continue on.

Send Notifications somewhere else

If you still cannot receive email notifications of voicemails, then try plugging the settings for 'Voicemail Notification Email From Address', 'Outbound SMTP Server', 'Outbound SMTP Username', and 'Outbound SMTP Password' into an email client and see if you can send emails using the client. You can also try putting in a different email server and account into the fields in Switchvox, such as a gmail account:

'Voicemail Notification Email From Address' : <username>@gmail.com
'Outbound SMTP Server' : smtp.gmail.com
'Outbound SMTP Username' : <username>
'Outbound SMTP Password' : <password>

Simply replace <username> with your gmail username, and use your gmail password. Then save the settings and leave a voicemail message on your extension and check for an email from yourself to yourself on your gmail account. If you receive this email then you can be sure that the problem is not with your Switchvox system, but is more likely to be your email SMTP server itself.

After we verify that the email notification process is working on Switchvox, we can work out by adding the different variables one at a time; i.e., outbound SMTP server IP, STMP server credentials, hostname, etc.  If at any point the emails stop working, then we know this is the cause.  Another good resource is to use the logs availabe on your SMTP server. Also, for advanced troubleshooting, you can leave a voicemail and check the logs on the Switchvox by pulling a TSR Report. For more information on this see the FAQ guide on reviewing TSR Reports.

Most email notification issues are due to either invalid SMTP credentials, MX records for a particular DNS hostname, third-party SMTP server issues, etc.