You may have heard, the city is investing in a new phone system. Why the change? Our existing phone system was installed more than 20 years ago and is no longer being manufactured or supported. We are excited about the new VoIP system which will provide greater functionality and flexibility and enhance our ability to provide the highest quality of customer service to the Carlsbad community. This transition brings with it a fully digitized foundation for some really cool features as well.
What is VoIP?
Simply stated it is a method that uses the internet to place and receive phone calls rather than the local telephone company. If you have an internet connection, you call anyone without the need for local phone service. It also provides other useful functions like voicemail, call forwarding, call recording and more.
When will the system be installed?
The implementation process has begun. We estimate that the new system will go live in the March to April timeframe.
What information do you need from my department?
IT has already begun initial meetings to define Departmental Call Flows which is how callers reach each department and how calls are handled. They will hold follow up meetings to confirm this design.
IT will identify each user and device for each location and department. Each department will be asked to review and verify this information.
Training will be provided via virtual web based platform as well as class room style.
Will phone numbers change?
The city’s current telephone numbers are randomly assigned, with seven different telephone exchanges. For example, the city currently has the following prefix codes: 602, 268, 603, 434, 438, 476, and 931.
The city is taking this opportunity to move all phone numbers to the same exchange, so the area code and next three numbers will be the same for all city users. Having the same area code and prefix will assist with number portability so that users can take their new number if they move to another city office location.
What will my new number be?
IT staff are working on telephone number assignments, with the intention of keeping as many last four numbers (4-digit extensions) the same as they are now. The current plan is as follows but is subject to change:
Any existing extensions with 2xxx will stay the same and new direct dial numbers (DID) would become 442-339-2xxx. (The majority of city extensions are in the 2xxx range)
Extensions 46xx, 75xx, 47xx etc will change to 5xxx numbers and the DIDs associated with those numbers would become 442-339-5xxx. The plan is to mirror the last 3 digits of the legacy extension (example 4777 would become 5777). The goal is to keep as much consistency with respect to the old extension.
To avoid service interruptions and to accommodate the community, the city will keep certain departmental numbers that are well known to the public.
How will the new phone numbers be communicated to the public?
Existing departmental numbers and those deemed critical to retain will continue to ring into the system for normal call processing. Those numbers that will be changed (most current user telephone numbers) will be intercepted with a message instructing the caller to use a dial by name directory to reach the intended user. Users will be encouraged to provide their updated telephone numbers to their contacts.
What will we do about business cards stationary and other printed materials?
The city understands that issuing new telephone numbers will require updated printed materials and has included this cost in the overall project plan. Once new numbers are assigned, departments should plan on procuring new materials charging the cost to the project.
SOFTPHONES I’ve been hearing about a “softphone”. What does that mean for our staff?
The city will be installing softphones for most of the city staff. This is an application that runs on your PC or city issued smartphone, that will provide all the same features and functionality as a traditional desk phone.
Does that mean I can answer calls on my PC?
Yes, users will have to login to their PC in order to take calls. They will also be able to answer calls via an app on a city provided smartphone.
Can I use the softphone on my PC at home?
The softphone application can only be loaded on city issued devices. If you use a city issued laptop or cell phone off site, you will be able to use the softphone remotely.
We have more than one person sharing a phone/workstation. How will that work with softphones?
IT will look at these situations individually to determine the best way to support the call handling needs and may elect to place a standard desk phone instead of a softphone for these circumstances.
How will we hear an incoming call?
Audible alerts on your PC or smartphone are available for incoming calls, as well as a “pop-up” on your desktop. In some cases, external speakers or bells may be required. IT will look at these situations individually to determine the best way to support the call handling needs.
What will we do in our conference room?
The city has purchased high quality speakerphones specifically designed for conference rooms.
Will everyone else be able to make conference calls?
Yes, this is a standard feature.
HEADSETS We anticipate that most users will opt for headsets, but there are telephone handsets that can also be used with softphones. The city will provide a document that shows the options regarding headsets and handsets. Users will be asked to review that document to make a choice.
Will our current headsets work with the new system?
The city will provide adapters to accommodate existing headsets where available. Thus far, most devices work with these adapters.
Not everyone in our department has a headset. Will we be provided with one?
The city will provide new headsets or handsets to the users who need them.
We frequently move around the office but still need to answer calls. How can we do that with a softphone?
The headset options will be focused on wireless headset tools, providing you with the ability to move around the office area and answer your telephone. Using the wireless headset devices in this manner allows you to handle one call at a time and in most cases, this should work well. IT will look at these situations individually to determine the best way to support the call handling needs and may elect to place a standard desk phone instead of a softphone for these applications.
I get a notification of voicemails on my cell phone now. Will I still get this?
If you have a city issued cell phone, you will be able to answer calls, transfer calls and get notifications.
Do voicemails messages go to email?
Voicemail messages will be sent to user’s email, where users can listen to the message, save it, or transfer it to another user.
Will the system transcribe the voicemail into text?
No. Voicemail messages are left as .wav files that users can listen to, but the messages will not be transcribed to text.