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Exchange UM: Advanced Customization of User Greetings

Most people know that Exchange 2010 gives you the ability to configure different rules based on caller ID (e.g. when my wife calls, play a certain greeting with different options to reach me). But the rules engine is actually even more flexible than that; it can actually be used to mimic functionality in other voicemail systems that give users have the option to set standard, off-hours, or alternate greetings. Or even route to different departments. But what isn’t as obvious is how to do it. It’s something that end users have to configure for themselves, not something that administrators set up.

In general I think this is good: giving end users the ability to make these changes themselves limits the number of helpdesk tickets & empowers end users. To make that all work, though, end users need to know how to do it.

Recording “off hours” greetings

By default, Exchange UM just has users record a standard greeting and an “out of office greeting”. But there is a way for users to configure different greetings based on time of day.

In Outlook 2010, you go to the File menu, and then you’ll see the manage voice mail button. This takes you to OWA’s voicemail config tab.

Alternatively, you could just go right to OWAàoptionsàphone and click on the voicemail tab:

The section that you need is called “Call Answering rules”. To add a new greeting based on the time of day, you create a new rule with conditions of the times/days you want for the greeting:

Once you set the time, then you just need to record the greeting. You do this by clicking on the link:

and record the greeting.
The one caveat here: Don’t forget to record something that says “Press # to leave a message”. If you don’t do that, nothing will happen after your greeting plays to callers. They have to press # to leave a message.

Option to Transfer to a department

Normally you’d use an Exchange Autoattendant to do department routing. But occasionally users will ask that their own voicemail greeting have options to transfer to departments. You use the same general concepts as discussed above.
To add a new greeting that transfers to Accounting, you create a new rule. Name it “Transfer to Accounting

Click “If it is during this period” and pick “Working hours”

Now to give them an option to press 1 to transfer to accounting, click on the “transfer caller to:”

Click Apply. Then you can save and close the rule and it should take effect right away.

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Matt McGillen

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