FreePBX Analog System

I have a customer that I converted from an old Partner/Avaya Analog system about a year ago. They were reaching the limits of the system and were tired of constant phone issues mainly because they are rough on their phones. I had proposed going with a new VoIP system giving them a leap into the future of telephony. I explained all the features and they were so excited. All of the things they wished they had was in FreePBX.

They were so used to the old system where they had Line 1,2 and 3. Call comes in, someone answers, caller is put on hold, target is told that line 2 is for them, target pickups the line and so on. Simple, right?

I bought 12 Sangoma phones and a 4 Line interface card. I setup the system and ran great. All the users have seemed to adapt to the new system but the CEO. Constant complaints that its too complicated, confusing and they (CEO) hate it. I told the CEO that is the future of phone systems. The old Analog way of doing it was outdated.

So today I get a call from the CEO. Long story short, my head is on the chopping block. Is there any way to make FreePBX to act or look like their old system? Meaning, on the phone they will have their 3 lines. Anyone can pickup a line and dial out. When a call is put on hold, anyone can pick up the line. I implemented call parking feature and they just dont get it. What seems logical and simple for us is impossible for them.

Don’t get my wrong, I am not bashing the CEO. They are just very stubborn in their old ways and fear change.

Thanks for letting me rant, this is very frustrating.


Good Luck, I would give them a Key System, like they want.

Chris from cross talk solutions has a YouTube video on this and replicating near key line functions if I’m understanding what you want correctly
I believe he was using parking lots and soft keys and having it park to “line 1” etc

Park, Park, Park. But don’t say Park. Don’t label it Park. Label them Line 1, 2, 3. Let them call it Line 1, 2, 3. Who cares if the lingo isn’t correct?

Call Parking is simple and 1 touch. Closest you can get.

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I’m not going to disagree, but I’ve found that there might be another way to skin this cat. When I was teaching software design, one of the things we touched on all the time was computer-customer linguistics.

The approach I would use is to explain that we don’t have “lines” anymore. Lines come in on “Trunks”, which provided you with three or four distinct ways to get a call into the system, Now we have “calls”. In the old system, a call was delivered on a line, but now, we skip the line and the calls are their own thing that come in over the trunk. It’s what makes is to that we can have unlimited calls over the trunk that used to only allow four calls.

This is one of the improvements.

Now, we can make the system look like the old system, but it only looks like the old system. We used to put a line on hold, and with it, the call went on hold. This tied up the line and made it so we couldn’t use that line until the call was answered. Since we don’t have lines anymore, the calls are placed on hold.

Because we’re pedantic computer people (hence it’s our fault that we didn’t explain it better), we don’t use the same term for different “things”, even though they might look the same. Since there’s nothing to put “on hold” (no line), we call what we’re doing “parking” the call. At the end of the day, they are basically the same thing, but with one difference: we can park as many calls as we want in the parking lot. The lot on your server is 9 slots (more than twice as many as the old four-line system), and they happen to be numbers 71 through 79 (YMMV - use real info). While calls are on hold, we can’t use that line for anything. While calls are parked, we can still use the system to place and receive new calls (another improvement).

So, (using the video link above to simulate a key-system) we have programmed your phones to pick up calls from parking slot 1 as if it was on-hold on line 1. Explain that the result may appear to be the same, but the new system has a lot of features that make it better than the old system.

This semantic approach give the C-Team the opportunity to understand what is going on, a frame of reference on which to build, and an opportunity to use the system in a new way that exploits the advanced features AND also let’s them transition to the new structure while they practice.

If they only come away understanding that “park” and “on-hold” are logically the same thing, it should help their anxiety about the system. This isn’t a technology problem, it’s a linguistic and though pattern translation problem. Helping them move forward (and at my age, I know something about that) can only strengthen your corporate relationship.

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