We are developing what is known in the industry as an Attendant Console (google it for examples). Basically, it is a receptionist/phone operator console/portal that acts as a digital switchboard. This will be a web-based product that will fit into our current product portal.
Receptionists (and other office users) will use this to web console combined with a headset connected to their phone to do their day to day phone tasks. Typically receptionists/operators in these roles answer incoming phone calls, transfer calls, park calls, 3-way conference calls, place calls on hold, mute calls, manage their incoming call queue, look up internal contacts to see if their available or busy, transfer callers to voicemail and of course hang up calls. They need to be able to do their jobs quickly and efficiently as they are usually measured by the number of calls that go through the system or how long their customers have to wait.
Along with that functionality the console should also:
- Be confined to a single web page
- A dedicated area for company employees names and phone number (if logged in) for easy lookup. This area should also show whether each person is available, on a call, in do not disturb mode, or away.
- An area within or as part of the above where the receptionist can maintain a list of favorite or often used contacts.
- A large easy to read area that shows the current call details (caller id, phone number, time of call, incoming or outgoing, etc)
- A large easy to use function buttons for things like Hold, Transfer (blind or attended), Mute, Park, Hang up, Conference.
- Blind transfers are transferred calls where the receptionist transfers the call without notifying the receiver.
- Attended transfers are transferred calls where the receptionist puts the first call on hold, calls the receiver and checks to see if they will accept the call before transferring.
- The above buttons should be context sensitive so depending on what receptionists is doing, those buttons may change (or always be present but be greyed out if not applicable)
- Some place to see calls that are Parked
- Some sort of call Queue that lists all calls either waiting to be answered by the receptionist or calls that s/he has answered and either put on hold or are waiting to be transferred
- An easy way for the receptionist/user to mark herself as away or on lunch
- An easy way for someone filling in for the receptionist to log into their own web console and take over duties for the receptionist without having to switch desks or desktop phones. (note: phones are usually identified by an extension number so if someone takes calls at another desk)
See the Notes section below for examples of what other companies have produced.
The attached wireframe below should also give you an idea of where the engineers were originally heading with this project. This is definitely not near the final but it does show a lot of the main functions described in this brief. We hope that the winning design from this project will put this wireframe to shame functionally and aesthetically. Please understand that the attached wireframe is ONLY MEANT TO SHOWS FUNCTIONS and is not meant to be a guide for how the final layout should look or where the elements should go. We are looking for better ideas than what you see there. =)
Also: that top row of tabs in the wireframe is just part of the current portal navigation. With respects to this projects, you can ignore those tabs. We would either create a new tab or repurpose an existing tab for this console. OR, we may even put the console in a standalone web app. We're still determining that.