Business Phones for Noobs

Dedicated to Sue, a customer that cheerfully reminded us how close our nose is to the grindstone and that we needed to step back and explain some things. This document will continue to expand and hopefully improve. Our apologies in advance for the geeky sense of humor.

  • Noobs = Newbies, people new to something. Often people new to a game, a quest or universe in an online game.
  • Hello Hub / PBX = Phone system. The original technical definition is Private Branch Exchange, of which “Ma Bell” was a Public Exchange.
  • Phone = An endpoint a call (bi-synchronous auditory (or multimedia) communications. Might be a physical phone, or software running on a computer, tablet, mobile phone, or other device.

A business phone system is a lot like the mobile phone you may be familiar with, it's reached by a phone number and enables communication. The target users are both external (usually customers) and internal (co-workers, employees) and may be used very differently by each. Our system and this “how-to” is targetted for small businesses, 2 to 50 phones. Warning: We'll discuss some advance concepts, but remember: KISS = Keep It Simple and Safe.

Internal users

Each phone is assigned an extension number, typically a short 3 or 4 digit number. Ring-u Hello Hub systems use a 3 digit extension number for each phone. Typically 100 to 199. Each phone can be dialed by an internal user directly. Inside the system you might dial 150 for Sally in Accounting or dial 101 for the Reception/Scheduling desk. These calls are direct from phone to phone, because internally you are your own phone company.

External users

Outside users (customers, vendors. those pesky soliticitors..) only know your published phone number(s). They'll call that number, and be connected to your phone system (Hello Hub / PBX). Some of them will know a specific extention number, but most will not. Their call will typically be routed to either an automated receptionist, or a helpful human.

Disclaimer: These instructions are specific to ring-u Hello Hub systems, but may be useful to others.

Hold and Park

Hold

On most VoIP systems, “hold” is essentially keeping a conversation (set of channels) connected, with the microphone and speaker off. It allows you yo make another call, etc.. It's specific to the phone and conversation. On many phones there is a hold button, or a way to put a call on hold through the menus. Concept: Hold uses a “line” on a phone, and holds it there. You can not share a line on hold, you might be able to transfer it (depends on the phone being used).

Park

To put a call on hold in a manner than can be picked up by another phone, it's actually “Parked”. This is essentially putting it on hold, at the phone system/PBX/Hello Hub, so that others can pick it up. When you park a call, it goes into a parking lot slot. Hello Hubs have 9 slots, 601,602,603…609 for parking calls. We try to configure phones to emulate a 1950's phone key system where you park a call, and it can be retrieved by others.

Manually Parked

Transfer a call to 600.

Emulated

Push the Hold/Park button.

Transfer

Voicemail