The humble telephone system has definitely come a long way. It is no longer just a device to keep us connected to one another. It can do so many things. It helps improve customer service, keep information updated, help schools, etc. It can also support multiple lines to allow several people to make or receive calls all at once. Multiline phone systems are fairly common in today’s modern offices. If you need some help on choosing the best one for your office read on.
The models of the phone unit themselves vary but they have similar features and functions. They basically work on the same principles. You can have several telephones work off on the same telephone lines. For example, a manager’s office and the reception desk can use the same line.
Multiline phone systems come in two forms – Private Branch Exchange or more commonly known as PBX and multi-line phones. If you will use a standard multiline phone, up to ten phone lines are typically connected to each phone unit. You can answer them individually. These are represented as lines and go through a receptionist. More on types of systems here
The PBX uses an automated directory to assist callers where they need to go. For example, “press 1 for sales, press 2 for marketing, press 0 to talk to a customer service representative”.
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A multiline phone system has the features and functions of a regular phone system with some added benefits. It offers caller ID, call waiting and even conference calling. Other features include call forwarding and transfers, personalized voicemail for each of your lines, etc. You can also have support for your receptionist so she can answer multiple lines from her desk. Your clients can call different departments, specific individuals or your main office.
The main difference from a PBX is that a PBX uses menu options to direct calls to the right department or person instead of going to a receptionist first. This system can handle many calls at the same time and process them without initially taking up a phone line. A PBX system can also support extensions so callers can go straight to the person they need to talk to. Finally, a PBX system allows you to hold in-house conference calls on lines without the need to place calls to an outside line
A rollover allows you to use a multiline phone device but only publish one line or one number in phone directories and other marketing/contact materials that you have. Your clients can call one phone number but the line does not get congested because the system will use multiple lines in ascending order when the first line is busy. You can put customers on hold or transfer calls. You can also have multiple employees answer calls.
The dilemma: you have two telephone units and two phone lines in your home office but neither of them are multiline. Well, you can still have two different telephone numbers to separate your work and your home numbers. You need a two-line splitter that has a double-headed jack on one end. You can get this from an electronics store or your telephone company. Plug it into the wall jack and connect two separate phones to it. It has two jacks so one for each. The top or right jack typically supports the first line registered to your address.
Remember that these splitters are limited to two lines so you need to get a multiline phone system for three or more lines.
Step-by-step guide on how to use a multiline phone system
First program the auto dial by pressing the “Autodial” key while the handset is still on the rest. Dial the number you want the system to remember and press “Autodial” again to store the number in the system. Do this for all the numbers you want to store for quick access.
If you want to dial an internal number or a number within your company, dial the 4-digit extension number of the person you are calling.
To dial an outside number, you need to push the external access number. In most phones, this is typically the number 9 and then dial the number you wish to call.
For call conferencing, push the “Conference” key and dial the first number you wish to call. Press “Conference” again.
For speed calling, press “Speed Call” then enter the number you want to save. Most systems will allow you to save at least 5 numbers. Press the “Speed Call” button again after assigning the number.
To use speed call, just press the “Speed Call” button then the assigned button of the number you wish to call.
To transfer a call during a call, press “Transfer” followed by the 4-digit extension number of the person you wish to transfer the call to. Then press “Transfer” again.
If you want to listen to your messages, dial your own extension number and press “Message”.
Using a multiline phone system is easy when you get the hang of it. If you have a DIY system or are using a new system, make sure to read the instructions first. If you are getting a phone system installed, ask your supplier if they offer free training on how to use the phone system for you and your employees.