I’m not an IT guy, just a family doc who believes in efficiency. I just got and activated Ooma Office a coupla days ago. This is my first time with VOIP, and so far it’s pretty fun. These guys have worked hard to make a product that delivers a lot of functionality. Kudos! Not sure why they named it after “Grandmother,” but OK.
I would like a simpler web interface, as my needs are simple, and represent CORE functionality that is expected in a small business phone system. WHAT DO I WANT THE PHONE TO DO? And then let these needs be reflected in the Ooma Office Manager (OOM) Interface in a simple and more intuitive manner. Not a “Here’s what we have to offer, so lets figure out how to present it to the clients.”
Most of us want a line that rings a front phone, and, if busy, goes to another line, etc (rollover concept). So acknowledge this on the page and then make that sort of thing the first choice: the number and sequence of physical phones. Some of us may want a dedicated back line that goes to one particular phone as well. Most of us want a dedicated fax line too, which you can get, but it takes some jumping around to figure out how. Why not a, “Do you need a fax number for this business?” and, if toggled “Yes” the sequence that creates that occurs.
The almost immediate foray into “lines,” “extensions” (and “virtual extensions”), and “ring groups” may fit those saavy with telephone terminology (Maybe that should be the FIRST question and thus delineate the path of setup: are you a telephone-jargon saavy individual, or do you speak regular Amurikan. ), but I think it could be simpler and better. You don’t have to be a physicist to be a rocket-scientist. Oh, wait. Yes, you do!
A lot of attention goes to the Virtual Receptionist (VR), and I really like the type-to-text functionality of that entity. However, in backlash to the OVERWHELMINGLY common pattern of introducing a VR initially in the call sequence, folks are wanting to get to a “REAL HUMAN BEING.” The VR should be secondary and toggleable to the circumstance to which one wants it applied: beginning of the call as a sort of root directory, manually routed “secondary” directory, individual extension offering, or – and I really want this, but cannot seem to get it – an after-hours announcement with slight delay prior to transfer to mobile phone. I want clients to be able to dial and to get a human being on the line inside of two rings, including after-hours.
While I am still learning the menus and submenus of the OOM, my initial impression is that this should be simpler and cleaner. For instance, the “telephone key” format used to convey presets may be, to some, a convenient connection to their way their old systems worked, I think it is kludgey and anachronistic. Simple fields that offer me suggestions on what to fill would be fine.
On the fax side of things, I would love some sort of check-box to forward the faxes (happily resident on the Ooma servers somewhere) to my local server, prompting an IP address and file path for the same. Perhaps with some instruction on creating a hole in the network firewall for this.
These are some basic thoughts – designed to be helpful – that have hit me. Will continue to read through and figure out more of how to configure the upcoming new office. Let me know what you think.