School telephone systems should help rather than hinder the work of receptionists. Yet, still some schools and colleges are holding on to antiquated telephone systems unaware of the advantages they could be gaining for their staff.
The stress of the early morning call rush is a well-known frustration in the school office for reception staff, but it is equally frustrating for parents trying to call in.
An automated attendant could immediately ease the workload for staff in three main ways:
Most schools require parents to call in every day that their child is off sick. However, very often parents know their child is not going to well enough for school before 8.30am, either earlier in the morning, the evening before or even in the middle of the night when the illness first becomes apparent. This is where an absence voicemail comes into its own. Parents can call in at a time that suits them and are diverted to a dedicated voicemail where they can leave messages about their child’s absence without having to speak to reception staff.
Pre-recorded messages can be relayed about events, trips and closures. This is a flexible feature, which can be changed whenever the school needs to update the message, allowing parents to immediately get the information they need without having to wait to get through and without having to bother busy office staff.
An automated attendant answers incoming calls and diverts callers to the most appropriate extension; option one is usually the absence voicemail. Other extensions could be used for the business manager, kitchen, school nurse, etc. By choosing the extension they need using the automated system, callers do not have to trouble reception staff.