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TOPIC: Anyone using internet phone for answering machine?

Anyone using internet phone for answering machine? 25 Jul 2008 09:24 #19288

  • dsschoenborn
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I am looking at options to have the phone answered without multiple lines. I understand an internet phone service would take many calls at once sending them to voice mail. This would be a cheap way to be able to answer 10 to 100 calls at once.

Has any tried this? If so who did you use?
Have you thought of this before and checked into it just to find it is not worth it?

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Re: Anyone using internet phone for answering machine? 25 Jul 2008 14:28 #19289

  • Cinemateer
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Two drawbacks to internet phone services they don't advertise when compared to local service:

1. You can't receive any phone calls when your internet connection is off/down.
2. You can't receive any phone calls when your power goes out.

We checked into it once and it didn't come out any cheaper and was less reliable than using voicemail (which can also receive multiple calls at once).
"In a place like this, the magic is all around you. The trick is to see it." -Martin Landau
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Re: Anyone using internet phone for answering machine? 26 Jul 2008 13:07 #19290

  • rodeojack
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I can offer an update to Dave's post.

First of all... if you have a theatre that needs more than 20 calls at one time, I totally envy you! Any service that gives you up to 100 ports at once will probably be prohibitively expensive. The reason is that they have to have enough capacity on-hand to take that many calls for you, while also planning for the peak needs of their other customers. Most answering services don't need, or build that much overhead into their systems.

We use a Vonage line to handle our recording.
www.vonage.com

I don't know how many calls they'll answer for me... never ran into a limit. I would be impressed if I got 30, but I don't know for sure.

My hardline phone, which can be, and is advertised in the book, is call-forwarded to the vonage number, which is programmed to answer immediately.

You can program Vonage to automatically go to voice mail if the internet connection goes out. You can also set a "do not disturb" flag, which sends all calls immediately, whether the internet's working or not. This is what I've done with mine.

The major drawback to Vonage (and most phone company systems) is that the announcement length is limited... 60 seconds. That's plenty for a single or twin, and most of the time for a triplex... but you have to keep the info flow short. I say the basics, then invite callers to my web site for more detailed info.

The other problem is that most phone company voicemail services do not let you announce-only. Vonage ends all calls with the "beep", giving the caller the ability to leave a message. I go in through the web site each week and delete them. That's something you can't do with most hard-line services.

If you can't get voice mail service through your phone company, Vonage is an alternative you could consider. I've used it for a couple of years now. It's not perfect, but it does do the job.

BTW... In most cases, you can advertise numbers that aren't provided directly by your phone company. The hitch is that you have to pay for the listings that otherwise would be free. Another challenge is making sure they bill you each year for the next book. We missed a book or two by assuming they'd contact US.

[This message has been edited by rodeojack (edited July 26, 2008).]
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Re: Anyone using internet phone for answering machine? 28 Jul 2008 09:29 #19291

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Here is an update to what I have found.

Yes Vonage looks like a good option but only has a 60sec greeting. This would not enable me to leave show times for 5 plex. I asked about answer only and their service rep had no idea what I meant.

Local Phone company is Verizon and they have an answer only option with a 3 minute message. For this I have to pay for the phone line and the voicemail on this line but it will take up to three calls at a time and get me my free listing in the phone book. I think the three calls at a time would be sufficient for a 5 plex. I may not even plug a phone in on this line since I want it answer only. I will still get an office line with no voicemail and just buy an answering machine. So with 2 hard lines one of which will be the movie hotline I can have 3 inbound calls and still use the office line.

If you are interested there are several internet companies with a virtual PBX offering. This would be good to have with one hard line. The internet connection lets you plug phones in multiple locations, have an auto attendant that would direct calls to any extension and they could be in different cites. i.e. theatre is in one city with manager line and movie hotline extension but the business office for billing and accounting is at your home in another city.
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Re: Anyone using internet phone for answering machine? 04 Aug 2008 18:58 #19292

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information would not have your number. Unless you use it as a rollover line so that when primary is busy it goes to the next.
Michael Hurley
Impresario
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Re: Anyone using internet phone for answering machine? 04 Aug 2008 22:48 #19293

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I'm not sure he meant to connect the two lines together (ie: a hunt group), unless I missed it in his post.

If he just buys two separate lines, each would be listed, and he can call the one with voicemail anything he wants.

BTW... you can have the phone company reduce the number of rings before the call goes to voicmail... possibly even zero.
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Re: Anyone using internet phone for answering machine? 05 Aug 2008 14:08 #19294

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Mike is right there is not a free phone book listing with an internet phone company number.

I did go with the real phone company and I believe my movie hotline number will go directly to voicemail with 0 rings. I will have to see if they get it programed right the first time out.

All of the VIOP systems with auto attendants some really interesting. I think you are right get a land line and forward to the internet phone line with an auto attendant. That way it could then forward to office phone when you push 1 which is in one city and the theatre manger phone when you push 2 which is at the theatre and the booking office phone when you push 3 which is in a third city.
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Re:Anyone using internet phone for answering machine? 28 Aug 2008 14:25 #29837

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We offer custom business Voice over I.P. solutions strictly business to business. This is not Vonage, rather fully customizable and scalable solutions. I personally have over 20 years of personal experience in the motion picture exhibition business and understand the unique needs of this industry.

From this thread some truths and myths:
If your internet goes down so does voice mail:
(F) False - Because voice mail is hosted on our servers in world class data centers which are worldly connected by multiple fail-over systems, back-up generation, rendundant equipment and secure buildings, your calls are answered 24-hours a day regardless of any local service disruptions whether they be of internet or power.
Voice over IP Does Not Provide A Free Local Directory Listing:
(T) True - Many internet phone companies that offer out-of-the-box solutions do not provide directory listings. Others, such as our services do make this available. While it is at an additional cost, overall annual charges are a fraction of traditional phone services

Whether you have one or several separated locations, we can help you reduce your telephone expenses by 50% or more annually.

We have solutions designed to compliment your existing equipment and startup can be quick and affordable with little to no equipment to purchase!

We have local service available in over 6000 markets through the U.S. There is no need to change your numbers or interrupt your service.

Imagine being able to call to each of your locations as an in-office call free of long distance. During off hours answer all business calls from alternate or central locations and more!

I welcome any discussions and questions and will provide no obligation answers and solution recommendations specific to your particular needs.
Last Edit: 29 Aug 2008 13:23 by Dynamic PBX Corp.
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