A dial-by-name directory is an automated system within your phone service. It lets users search your employee directory by first or last name to find their desired contact and reach their individual extension. This connects callers to contacts more quickly by saving them from having to navigate through a phone tree. Best of all, it takes very few steps to set up a dial-by-name directory.
1. Verify That Your Service Supports Dial-by-Name Directories
Before you can set up your dial-by-name directory, you should first verify that it is a feature supported by your business phone system’s service plan. Note that while your provider may advertise that they offer this feature, it may only be included in higher-tiered plans or available for an added cost. Visit your service provider’s website or speak to a representative to see if dial-by-name exists for you before you do anything more.
Although dial-by-name directories are not a standard feature with all business phone systems, it is worth pointing out that RingCentral includes them in every service tier. While this single feature may not be enough to make you want to change your phone service, it is only one of RingCentral’s impressive functionality and another reason we recommend it as one of the best small business voice-over-internet-protocol (VoIP) service.
If you are interested in learning more about RingCentral and how its dial-by-name directory or other business phone features can benefit your operations, enter your contact information using the form below:
You can also learn more about the service, its plans (which range from $19.99 per user, per month to $59.99 per user, per month), and more about what other users are saying by visiting our RingCentral ultimate guide.
2. Set Up a Dial-by-Name Directory
How you set up a dial-by-name directory will depend on the design and limitations of your service provider’s administrative portal. As a result, you may need to refer to your provider’s specific documentation for instructions as to how to add or remove individual users to your dial-by-name directory.
That said, it is very easy to set up your dial-by-name directory using RingCentral’s auto-attendant system. This is because, by default, all RingCentral users in your account are automatically added when you start using the service. However, you can add and remove users at any time, disallow callers to find specific individuals in a search, and change how users are listed in the directory at any time.
Here is how you set custom settings on your dial-by-name directory:
- Log in as Administrator to your RingCentral account.
- Navigate to Phone System and from there, choose Auto Receptionist. This is where you can fine-tune your auto-attendant settings and configure your virtual receptionist as you need to.
- Go to General Settings and use the toggle on or off switch for the Dial-by-Name directory feature. Once it’s toggled on, you will see the following choices:
- Searchable extensions: This is where you can add, remove, or update user extensions in the directory.
- Directory extension: RingCentral’s default extension to use the dial-by-name directory is 9. However, you can change the extension to whatever you like with this option. For example, if you expect the majority of your callers will already know who they wish to reach, you may want to make this extension 1, 2, or 3 so they hear the menu option to be routed to the directory quicker.
- Search criteria: Whether users search by the first three letters in users’ first or last names.
- Choose Save to finalize your settings.
Although RingCentral’s auto-attendant functionality is robust, there are some limitations to using its dial-by-name directory. Here are things to keep in mind when using it:
- If your RingCentral auto-attendant is set to Multi-Level, there is no way to disable the dial-by-name feature or change the system’s designated dial-by-name extension.
- You cannot increase or decrease the number of letters required to search the directory; three letters must be entered.
- RingCentral users can only access the dial-by-name directory by dialing the company’s main telephone number. Users who try to bypass the initial automated answering message by calling the dial-by-name directory’s extension will hear a “Wrong Extension” error message.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
How does dial-by-name work?
When you press 9 (or whatever extension you choose), you are given the option to enter the first three letters of a first or last name using your dial pad. For example, if the last name was Smith, you would tap the numbers 7(PQRS), 6(MNO), and 4(GHI). The database searches for the person, linking you to their extension when it finds them.
What if there are multiple users with the same name?
If your business has several users with the same first or last name, the sorting function will help you immensely:
- Choose to sort the list by first name or last name. For example, if you have multiple Tims at your business, choose to sort by last name instead of first name to alleviate confusion.
- The same can be done if you have multiple people with the same last name—sort by first name rather than last.
Can users speak the name instead of dialing it?
That will entirely depend on the solution. For example, RingCentral does not offer such a feature at this time. Check with your prospective vendor for more information.
Navigating through a long list of contacts is daunting for anybody, but especially for any given user who might be unfamiliar with the inner workings of a business phone tree. By narrowing down the choices of whom they’d like to speak with, callers are spared the frustration of dealing with a lengthy automated menu and can instantly speak to their desired extension.
RingCentral’s dial-by-name directory is a standard feature with each service tier. It is easy to set up and even easier to use, giving callers a hassle-free experience. If you’re considering making a switch in your business phone system, we encourage you to visit their website and sign up to take advantage of a free trial.