Replicating a Switchboard

I will soon be migrating my last location off of a Siemens ROLM 9751 legacy system and onto FreePBX and am having issues coming up with options for our switchboard operator.

Currently she has a “switchboard” phone where calls will come in on multiple lines that she can answer/transfer and I’m trying to replicate this same functionality as much as possible for her.

I am using FreePBX with Digium D40/D50 phones. This will be my 4th location that I have brought onto FreePBX. Each individual location has it’s own dedicated server and they are interconnected via IAX2 trunks.

For my proof of concept I have mimicked our main number IVR and have 0 going to a call queue where her extension is a member of the queue. When someone presses 0 to be transferred to the operator her phone will ring and she will answer.

My problem areas are:

Multiple calls at once - the screen is good sized, but can be overwhelming when juggling 3-5 calls. Do you have an recommendations about what to do for this? I’ve messed with FOP2, but unless she’s transferring calls in/out of the queue it’s not really manageable, and even then when a call is transferred into the queue, it starts going through the call list.

Connecting two calls - if a call comes in where she needs to page the a person, she would generally have them call the operator and then connect the two calls. I’ve not found a way to make this work in FreePBX. The only workaround I’ve found is having the person paged, call and then hang up so she can transfer to the extension.

Any input or suggestions are welcome.

I would probably run with an Aastra + side car. It depends how many lines she needs.

The D70 has 10 keys with pages so it could encompass quite a bit but may be more effort than desired paging through. The Aastra with add on would give you a more traditional all in your face method.

Alternatively you could use an operator panel like iSymphony with a standard phone.

Is there any way for her to connect two calls? Currently she can take a call to the switchboard, make a page for Greg to call the operator. When I would dial 0 she could then connect the two calls. I’ve not found a clean way to do this.

Depending on security/confidentiality required… It would be possible to park a call and page greg to pickup call in parking spot XX

That has been discussed, the only issue is parking calls on remote systems. By the end of they year I’ll have 5 individual servers ranging from 40 extensions to 300 with a grand total of around 600 extensions. I don’t think I’m going to find an end all solution. I’m just trying to not give her shell shock with all the changes, plus I’ve still got the business needs/functionality to keep in mind.

Connect Two Calls sounds like Screened/Attended Transfer to me - is that what you are looking for? Call comes in, I answer it, and say “Just A Minute” initiate a second call to the recipient, ask if they want the call and if they say yes, complete the connection of the first caller to the second?

Polycom’s can start a Three-Way Conference and then drop out if that is the level of hand-holding you are looking for.

Operator stations should usually get the biggest phone with the most buttons - it’s makes automation much easier.

Our receptionist (not a business your size) runs Grandstream GXP2140 with the GXP2200 sidecars but also use FOP2 (I think it with a touchscreen would be amazing for a switchboard), the GXP2140 supports up to 4 sidecars. If you want more lines and less worried about speed dial keys we use GXP2160 has 6 lines keys.

I just tested using FreePBX, I can dial my DID, put myself on hold or just hit a line key and page. At this point original inbound call is on hold still, I receive a call from an extension and answer it, I press transfer then the line key of the call on hold and the two are connected; blind transfer is default on my phones.

I was able to get this working with the Digium D40 phones. I made the extension part of a call queue and was able to figure out how to transfer multiple inbound calls. Thank you everyone that replied.