About Menus, Queues and Routes

Beta Release Note: Our /routes API service allows you to set and manage the resources known as Call Handling Rules in your Phone.com Developer account settings. Routes are call handling rules by another name. The Call Handling Rules settings you see when you log into your account will soon be renamed as Routes in your account settings to avoid confusion.

Menus, queues and routes let you define how calls are handled for each of the phone numbers assigned to your Phone.com account. Menus present callers with routing options: Press [1] to talk to a sales representative, press [2] to leave a message, and so on. Queues connect callers to a group of phone numbers in your organization—for example, your Sales department—starting with the first member in the queue. And routes are the behind-the-scenes routing commands that turn menu selections into call actions.

In the example below, a caller hears a greeting that presents menu options, makes a selection and is routed to one of three options—voicemail, a queue or an interactive application.


Overview of how routes work

Menus, queues and routes are available as settings in the Telephony Toolkit—simply log into your Phone.com Developer account and select the Configure menu to add and edit settings for each feature.

In most cases, it will be easier to set up some menus, queues and routes (call handling rules) through the toolkit. For example, you might set up a phone number with two extensions and a handful of routes, and then use those pre-configured routes in your API requests to initiate and manage phone calls. For more information, see Using Telephony Toolkit Settings to Set Up Greetings, Menus, Routes and Queues.

In other situations, it will be best to utilize our /menus, /queues or /routes services directly from your application or on the fly. If you’re developing a telephony web app, for example, you may want to give users the ability to log into your website and add new menu options to their phone extensions. This is something that should be accomplished using an API request built into your application. For more information, see Using the API to Access Your Menus, Queues and Routes.

Depending on your application, incoming phone calls or SMS messages may be either from a person or another application. Outgoing phone calls or SMS messages may be to a person or an application also. You may want to route incoming calls to a phone extension, a queue, a voicemail Inbox, a specific component of your application. All of these actions are possible using the Menus, Queues and Call Handling Rules features in our Telephony Toolkit, outlined below.

Menus


Diagram showing how menus work

Menus are usually presented to callers using a greeting that gives them a verbal list of routing options. You might ask the caller to press [1] for Sales or [2] to leave a message, and so on. You might also direct callers to a call queue, an application or a variety of other services, based on the keypad selections they make.

To use menus, first record a greeting that presents the keypad options that callers can select. Then, add a new menu with settings that match those in your greeting, selecting the routes (on the Add Menu > Edit Menu screen) that will direct caller selections.


Edit Menus page

For detailed steps on setting up menus, see Bringing It Together in the Right Order below and Using Telephony Toolkit Settings to Set Up Greetings, Menus, Routes and Queues.

Queues


Manage Oueues page

Our Queues feature lets you route incoming calls to a select group of phone numbers or extensions within your phone system. Call queues are often used in Sales, Support and Service departments where there are more than one person answering calls. The call is placed in the queue, to be answered by the next available operator.

Callers in the queue will hear Phone.com hold music, which you can select in your account settings. You can also upload a custom message to play while callers are on hold. For detailed steps on setting up queues, see Bringing It Together in the Right Order below and Using Telephony Toolkit Settings to Set Up Greetings, Menus, Routes and Queues.

Routes (Call Handling Rules)


Diagram showing how routes work

Routes offer flexible options for routing calls to specific destinations—sending them to an alternate device or your voicemail, for example, or on to another menu, queue or application. For example, you might direct a call received between 8:00 A.M. and 5:00 P.M. to your Sales queue, but send calls received after 5:00 P.M. and before 8:00 A.M. to voicemail.

To use routes, you will need to define routing rules for the phone numbers used in your application. That might include setting up greetings and menus for incoming calls, and defining how calls are routed to specific queues, voicemail, your application or other destinations.


Manage Routes page

For detailed steps on setting up routes, see Bringing It Together in the Right Order below and Using Telephony Toolkit Settings to Set Up Greetings, Menus, Routes and Queues.

Bringing It Together in the Right Order

Using menus, queues and routes to manage calls requires planning, and features should be configured or implemented in the following order. The steps below include links to detailed tutorials using features in the Telephony Toolkit and the API.

  1. First, upload any greetings or hold music that you wish to use. See Managing Greetings and Hold Music and API Resource: /media.
  2. Set up any queues you will need. See Using Telephony Toolkit Settings to Set Up Greetings, Menus, Routes and Queues and Creating a New Queue Using the /queues API Service.
  1. Define routes for your phone extension, specifying the greetings and queues you set up in steps 1 and 2. See Using Telephony Toolkit Settings to Set Up Greetings, Menus, Routes and Queues and Creating a New Route Using the /routes API Service.
  2. Finally, build the menus you will need. Menus will use the greetings set up in step 1, and the routes and queues defined in steps 2 and 3. See Using Telephony Toolkit Settings to Set Up Greetings, Menus, Routes and Queues and Creating a New Menu Using the /menus API Service.

Your implementation might not use all of these features, but at minimum you will need to set routing options on your phone extension to define how calls will be managed.

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