Single Number Reach

For those who know what this feature is I am sure you enjoy it as much as I. This, in my opinion is the most compelling feature in our recently installed Cisco UC Phone System. As both the recommender, planner and installer of the Cisco Unified Communications Phone System I had the joy of figuring out how to turn on this feature and figure out how it works and how it doesn’t work. I was confounded initially by what seemed to be the complexity of the configuration, but after deployment and setting it up for a few users, it is really not that difficult.

What is it? Single number reach is just that. When you receive a call to your work extension, the system will automatically call any phone of your choice. The caller has no idea that this is happening and whats even better is that you can transfer the call back to your desk phone. I spend a lot of time in the office but not at my desk. Before the new phone system, when I returned to my desk I would more often than not have a couple of Voice Mails and I would have to start the long, cumbersome task of playing phone tag with those who tried to get hold of me. Now, with our new system when I am down in the lunch room getting a coffee and someone calls me on the office line, after about 4 rings my cell phone rings. I can quickly see that it is not a call directly to my cell phone but rather a call placed from our Cisco Phone system to my Cell phone. I can answer the call appropriately and essentially never miss another call again.

Couple this feature with Voice Mail to Email and my Cell Phone (iPhone) is my office in my pocket.

The phone system allows me to add rules of when to call me cell and when not too. You can even put in access lists that will block certain numbers from being forwarded.

What are the advantages?

Fewer Missed Calls
Fewer Voicemails
Increased response to both Employees and Customers
Increased Productivity

Are there any disadvantages?

Well not really but here are some things to look out for.

Is your organization sticky about your cell phone usage. My cell usage went up – but not that much. If I spent a lot more time out of the office it would certainly be something to consider
For every call that is placed to your extension and then to your Cell phone, two lines are used. Take that into consideration as you do not want to run out of phone lines.

Since deployment I have been tracking both Cell usage and Phone Line usage closely and have not found a significant impact. The benefits outweigh the additional usage by a mile.

I’ll be talking about Cisco’s Unified Presence Application in my next post… If used properly it can be another time saver and productivity tool….

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