This past summer a committee of MSC staff began planning for an automated
phone response system. While several basic decisions were made, not enough
was decided to enable moving forward with implementing such a system.
MSC Computer Operations was charged with determing technical specifications
as we begin the acquisition phase of the project. However, before technical
specs can be developed, there are several design issues that must still
be determined. These are issues for which I think it would be inappropriate
for MSC Computer Operations to define for the MSC organization. Rather the
people that are responsible for taking calls and handling PR, etc. should
be actively involved in these decisions.
- What do you want the system to do?
- When a message comes in, what should the caller experience: A pre-recorded
message; a well-synthesized voice reading a text file; "Select from
the following menu" options; etc.?
- What options should be available to the caller: "Select"
options for information; be transferred to a particular staff or student
member; leave voice mail, etc.?
- How many simultaneous calls should the system be able to handle?
- What should happen if all lines into the system are busy?
- Is this system intended to be used only after SPO hours?
- Or may it be used during the day when a call is not quickly answered
by a real person?
- What options should be available for management of the system?
- An audio input device for recording?
- Ease of transferring text files to be read by synthesized voice?
- Ability for more than one person to manage the system?
- Logging volume, date, time, length of calls handled?
- Remote management by a dial-in user (for accessing voice mail, or for
disabling an announcement after an event has concluded on a weekend); etc.?
The MSC Marketing area now has the opportunity to make
a difference in the image and accessibility of the MSC Student Programs
Office by moving forward with addressing these issues!