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  3. How to Set Up an Auto Attendant

How to Set Up an Auto Attendant

How do I set up an Auto Attendant?

An Auto Attendant allows incoming calls to be transferred automatically to the extension the caller chooses without the need for an additional receptionist. Auto Attendants are unlimited, free and include a simple or complex menu system (“for sales press 1, for support press 2,” etc.), as well as the ability to dial by extension or by name. Auto Attendants commonly include the ability to reach an operator by pressing 0.

  1. As an administrator, you can access the NextOS portal by clicking HERE.
  2. Log in to the portal with your admin credentials.
  3. From the main dashboard, click the Auto Attendant link in the Advanced routing tile or drop-down menu (Figure 1-1).
    Figure 1-1: Auto Attendant.
  4. Click Create Auto Attendant on the left side of the screen (Figure 1-2).
    Figure 1-2: Create Auto Attendant.
  5. Enter the required information on the Auto Attendant profile section as indicated below (Figure 1-3):


    • Auto Attendant name: a descriptive name for the Auto Attendant.
    • Location: the location to which this Auto Attendant belongs. Additional options may be set to allow callers to reach extensions at another location.
    • Regular schedule: Select a business hours schedule for the Auto Attendant. This is necessary to get calls to route to an after hours menu at night. If a schedule isn't selected, the same menu and greeting will play 24 hours a day.
    • Holiday schedule: the holiday schedule for the auto attendant. Applying a holiday schedule to the Auto Attendant will get calls to route to the after hours menu during the holidays.  Schedules are discussed in more detail HERE.
    • Phone number: the phone number that rings directly to the Auto Attendant. This is optional.
    • Extension: the extension number for the Auto Attendant. This is required.

    Figure 1-3: Auto Attendant Details.

  6. Click the Advanced settings: look for the collapsed link toward the bottom of the screen. Enter the required information in the advanced settings section of the Auto Attendant profile screen as indicated below (Figure 1-4):

    • Caller ID First Name: (together with the Caller ID Last Name) should be the name of the business or Auto Attendant.
    • Extension Dialing Scope: specifies whether callers can access users at more than one location. The default setting is Location, which restricts the extensions that callers can dial to this physical location. To allow callers to dial extensions at all locations, select Enterprise.
    • Name Dialing Scope: specifies whether callers can dial by name for a user at another location. The default setting is Location, which restricts the caller to being able to enter only the names at this location. To allow callers to dial by name for a user at another location, select Enterprise.
    • Time Zone: the time zone for this Auto Attendant.
    • Department: the department for this Auto Attendant. Departments are used to organize an account. Examples include Accounting, Sales, Support, etc.
    • Name dialing entries: this specifies whether callers can enter the first name of a user, or just the last name. To allow callers to enter the first name of a user, select the LastName+FirstName and FirstName+LastName radio button.
    • Transfer to the operator after _ seconds of inactivity: this specifies the number of seconds (after the auto attendant message plays) before the call is forwarded to the operator (option 0). This only applies to callers who do not select an option from the menu, or dial an extension.

    Figure 1-4: Advanced Auto Attendant Settings.

  7. Click Save & Continue to create your Auto Attendant menu.


How do I customize my Business and After hours menus?

After saving the profile information for the Auto Attendant, you will be able to set up the Business hours menu and the After hours menu for the call tree. Follow the steps below to accomplish this (Figure 1-5):

Figure 1-5: Menu Options.

TIP: to send the call to the voicemail box of an extension, enter *55, followed by the extension number (e.g. *551000 for extension 1000).

  1. Click to expand the Business hours main menu section.
  2. Select Default Greeting from the Greeting drop-down list (Figure 1-6). This is necessary to upload a custom greeting for the Auto Attendant.
    Figure 1-6: Greeting Drop-down.
  3. Make sure the Enable first-level extension check box is selected (Figure 1-6). This allows callers to dial the extension of the person they want to speak to, if they know it.
  4. Create your menu for the Auto Attendant using the fields below (Figure 1-7).
  • Key: the numbered option that callers will press (“for sales, press 1, for support, press 2,” etc.).
  • Description: a description for the numbered option.
  • Connect to: this specifies what should happen when callers press that key. The most common option is Transfer Without Prompt, which immediately forwards the call to an extension or external number. Here’s a list of actions:
    • Transfer With Prompt: sends the call to an extension or external number, but plays a short message before doing so. If the call is being transferred to an extension on the same account, the message that will play is “Transferring to…” and the recorded name from the voicemail box. If the call is being transferred to an external number, the message that will play is “Please wait while your call is transferred.”
    • Transfer Without Prompt: sends the call to an extension or external number without playing any messages.
    • Transfer to Operator: sends the call to an extension or external number after playing a message that says “Please wait while your call is transferred to the operator.” Callers who do not dial an extension or press a numbered option on the Auto Attendant will be transferred to the operator. This should be the 0 option on the menu.
    • Name Dialing: sends the call to an automated menu, which prompts the caller to enter on their phone the name of the person with which they wish to speak.
    • Extension Dialing: sends the call to an automated menu, which allows the caller to enter the extension of the person with which they wish to speak. This is not necessary if the Enable first-level extension dialing check box is selected.
    • Voicemail Box: sends the call to the voicemail box of the Auto Attendant.
    • Recorded Message: plays a message, then sends the call back to the main auto attendant menu.
    • Repeat Menu: replays the message.
    • Disconnect Message: ends the call.
    • Connection data: the extension or external number the call should route to when callers press that numbered option. This does not apply to actions such as Exit or Replay the message.
    • Click Save.

NextOS 2.0: How to set up an Auto Attendant

Auto Attendants allow you to have an automated receptionist that provides a personalized message and allows callers to route automatically to the correct person or group of people. Callers have the ability to connect to an operator, access additional menus, look up callers in a dial-by-name directory, direct dial an extension or connect to a specific department. Nextiva allows customers to have multiple Auto Attendants.






Follow these steps to set up an Auto Attendant from the Nextiva Portal:

  1. For administrators, log in to the NextOS Portal by going to and selecting Customer Login from the top right corner. Enter your login credentials and click Sign in. Select Sites & Employees then click on Login under the Admin Login column. Click Users and search for the employee whose information you wish to edit. Click Edit.
  2. On the left-hand side of the screen, select Services and then click Auto Attendant under Basic Services. On this page, select Add to create a new attendant.
  3. Next fill in the required fields, including the Auto Attendant ID, which is a unique name for the attendant (helpful if you have more than one set up). Make sure you have selected the correct time zone, and pick a business hours schedule if you would like to use a greeting for open hours and a different one for after hours.
    Under "Scope of extension dialing" and "Scope of name dialing," choose whether your callers can access the entire account ("Enterprise"), or only users within one site ("Group"). We don't recommend limiting the scope to department level-only. Lastly, for "Name Dialing Entries" the "LastName + FirstName and FirstName + LastName" selection is recommended. This way callers have two options to find employees within your company.
  4. Select OK and you will be taken to the main Auto Attendant page. Once there, you will see Menus to the lower left of the screen. Select Menus, and then choose between Business Hours and After Hours depending on the auto attendant you would like to set up. Now, you can configure the attendant and upload a personal greeting. When selecting an action for an option, hit Apply so you can enter the number or extension for the greeting. If you are not using an after hours attendant, your business hours attendant will be your primary.
  5. To start, let's set up each Key on the left to correspond to the number callers dial on the phone (Keys 0-9, # and *). The Action will be the result of that selection. For example, let's set up Key 0. Let's select "Transfer to Extension" from the drop-down menu options. Type in the extension number callers who press 0 should route to within the Phone Number box on the right, let's use extension 101. In our example, if a caller presses the zero button on their phone, they are routed to extension 101.
  6. Once all of the selections you'd like to use are set up (you don't have to use all 12 options), press OK. This will route you to the After Hours menu where you can set up an attendant for when your employees will not be in the office. To bypass this attendant and use only one greeting 24 hours a day, click OK to skip. If you are using an after hours menu, most prefer to shorten the menu options and give callers only an option to leave a voicemail. To set up calls to go to a VM box, have one of the key options route to one of your company voicemail boxes, let's pick extension 900 for this example. Let's say Key 1 will route to the VM box at extension 900. First label the Key next to 1 "voicemail" or something similar. Next select "Transfer Without Prompt" from the drop-down menu. Within the Phone Number box, type *55900.
    The star code *55 instructs the system to not ring any phones and go straight to voicemail. Now, when after hours callers enter key 1 from the attendant, they are routed to voicemail.
  7. Once everything is set up to your liking, click OK to save. Once you assign a 10 digit phone number or extension number to your Attendant, you can call and test the routing. To assign a number to your newly-created attendant, click "Profile" from the menu on the left-hand side of the screen. You'll see "Addresses" under Basic. Here, just create your extension number or assign any available phone numbers on your account listed in the drop-down box.

Back to NextOS 3.0

Updated on August 31, 2017

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