Avaya’s IP Office offering comes in a variety of flavors. This short blog is intended to help Avaya users better understand their options when it comes to deploying Avaya IP Office music on hold with messaging on their system or systems.
The Basics of Adding Music On Hold with Messaging
Music on hold with messaging is a service that allows the phone system owner the capability to create their own fully customized messages that play to callers waiting on hold. Clients may certainly choose to play music only to callers on hold, or play beep tones, or even return silence to callers that have been placed on hold. But many businesses choose on hold messaging to further brand their company and make callers aware of lesser known products and services.
While some businesses create their own on hold messaging programs, most businesses engage a professional on hold messaging company that is experienced in writing scripts, applying the properly licensed music, and engaging the best voice talent to represent the brand. A good on hold messaging company will also ask questions about the phone system, as the optimal design of an effective on hold messaging program is often contingent on what telephone system manufacturer is in place, including detailed information on how that system is equipped and configured.
The critical details dictate how the messaging will actually play to the caller. For example, it’s important to know:
- Will the caller hear the same messages in the same order each time they call and are placed on hold, or will they hear a cross section of messages, which is typically the preferred method.
- The audio file format requirements of a phone system will also dictate the general level of audio quality that can be provided. This can often dictate what music styles are chosen to play underneath and in between messages.
- How easy is the phone system to update in terms of on hold messaging? Typically, the more often the messaging is changed to reflect current services and offerings, the more effective it is as a marketing tool and resource to the business.
Adding Music On Hold with Messaging to Avaya IP Office
Avaya IP Office systems are found from as small as a 10 person office, up to 3000 phones. Avaya IP Office is one of the leading products in the business phone system industry in terms of market-share.
The methods to deploy On Hold Messaging on Avaya can vary from system to system. The system offerings can be highly flexible, but the methods of updating the messaging content can be a bit tricky in some configurations, and in particular the Server Edition systems mentioned below.
In general terms, the premise based IP Office systems come equipped with a physical MOH port, which accepts a standard third party player via the connection of a standard audio cable. This is typically the preferred method in that the player is easily updated by any personnel on site or via the Internet if the player is equipped with Ethernet connectivity. Up to 3 “Alternate” MOH Sources can be configured using analog station ports configured as a MOH source. However, the Avaya IP Office can also bypass the MOH port and accept an audio file which can be directly loaded to the IP Office system. Some versions of IP Office have file size limitations with this method, and the updating of the audio file is typically only performed by the client’s telecom, data team, or the vendor supporting the IP Office system. This scenario introduces complexities in most situations that would suggest that the best answer is to use the MOH port whenever possible.
Not All Avaya IP Office Systems Are The Same
There are versions of Avaya IP Office that operate a bit differently. Those versions are known as Server Edition and Server Select and any versions that may host the Avaya IP Office software on a virtual server such as in a VMware. In these situations, the virtual servers do not readily support a physical MOH port, and on hold messaging files must be provided as compressed audio files. Up to 32 MOH sources are supported in an audio file format. In some configurations, a change to the audio file may require a reboot of sorts.
More complex IP Office installations that may include Remote Gateways offer up more flexibility in that on hold messaging content can be different from client site to client site, which can be important in a departmentalized environment.
The best way to determine your most effective option is to coordinate a call between your Avaya engineer and the on hold messaging vendor if you have one.
Rich is the President of On Hold Marketing, a marketing focused audio studio helping businesses and practices take advantage of their telephone system’s On Hold capabilities. Prior to On Hold Marketing, Rich spent 20 years in telecommunications working for such giants as Williams Communications, NextiraOne, Bell Atlantic and Nortel Networks.