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Information Technology Services

Administrative Voice Menus

BC Admin Voice Menus Changing Between August 7 - October 9, 2017

On Sunday, August 6, Boston College voicemail services were moved to a new system to replace outdated equipment and provide additional features. Learn more about these voicemail changes.

Only voicemail accounts were moved to the new system on August 6. Departments will be contacted directly between August 7 - October 9, 2017 to create new voice menus on the new system.

This is a very technical document and creating/maintaining an Administrative voice menu can be complicated. Please seek the assistance of your Technology Consultant (faculty/staff) or the Help Center (student organizations) if you have questions about your Administrative voice menu or the information contained on this web page.

What is an Administrative Voice Menu?

An Administrative Voice Menu is a computer menu that plays when a particular phone extension is called.

Administrative Voice Menu's can be programmed to play either every time a phone extension is called or only when the the phone is not answered or only when the phone extension is busy.

Step 1 - Planning an Administrative Voice Menu

The first step in setting up an Administrative Voice Menu is to plan what functions you want the Administrative Voice Menu to accomplish.

The typical functions an Administrative Voice Menu can perform are:

Function Command
Play a recording for callers to hear. 101
Transfer the caller to a different phone extension. 106
Transfer the caller to a submenu to hear more choices. 113

Other functions you may use under rare occasions are:

Function Command Explanation
Disconnect 102 Stops the Administrative Voice Menu and disconnects the caller
Dial Through 104 Prompts the caller for the extension of the person where they want to transfer
Replay Current Menu 108 Replays the current menu. Could also in a message instruct the caller to press the * key
Play Main Menu 112 Usually the Main Menu is just one menu higher in the hierarchy. When that is the case you could also in a message instruct the caller to press the # key. The # key always plays the menu one level up from where the caller currently is

You need to plan what you want the Administrative Voice Menu to do when a caller presses on their telephone set any digit 1 through 9. If you need an Administrative Voice Menu to have more options available than 1-9, you need to establish a submenu.

Example Administrative Menu

Main Profile Sub Profile
A 6 digit profile number always beginning 99 followed by the 4 digits of the phone extension. For instance 994357 could be the Help Center. A 7+ profile number always beginning 99 followed by the 4 digits of the phone extension followed by another digit but not a 0 or a 1. For instance 9943572 would be a valid submenu from profile 994357.
1. Plays announcement of the normal hours that the CTRC is open and it's location. 101 Plays an announcement.  
2. Plays an announcement of Special Holiday closings.  101 Plays an announcement.  
3. Plays a directory of all the staff members and lets you transfer to speak to them or leave a message. 113 Transfers to a submenu where a caller will be offered additional choices.

Potentially 9 more options from which the caller can choose. Often you hear a recording similar to

"Press 1 for staff members whose last name is in the range a-h, Press 2 for staff members whose last name is in the range i-p, Press 3 for staff members whose last name is in the range of q-z. To hear this menu again press * or to return to the previous menu press #"

4. Transfers you to the Main Desk in the CTRC, extension 28567 106 Transfers to phone number 552-8567    

A "0" in the 7th position is reserved for a Time of Day Menu. Administrative Voice Menu's can have 2 versions; a normal daytime menu and an "off hours" menu. The Time of Day Menu, i.e. with the 7th digit 0 sets the times of the day that the normal daytime menu plays. Any hours outside of the normal daytime hours, the caller will reach the "off hours" menu. The "off hours" menu can have any profile name but by convention BC names "off hour" conventions with a "1" in the 7th position of a profile named after the main profile for the Administrative Voice Menu. For example, if profile 994357 was the Administrative Voice Menu profile for the Help Desk (extension 24357) the main profile would be 994357, the Time of Day Profile (i.e. setting the on and off hours) would be 9943570 and the off hours profile would be 9943571. While any digit other than 0 or 1 can be used as the 7th digit in a profile number, for simplicity sake, always try to line up the 7th digit with the digit that is pressed in the main profile to invoke the action. For instance, in the above example, or sub menu is invoke by a caller pressing 3. In that case, convention would be to name the sub profile 9943573. Notice the 7th digit is 3.

There is a special kind of profile that is always in the form 552 followed by the 4 digits of the phone extension to which the Administrative Voice Menu is associated. In our example above, the front end for the Student Help Center would be 5524357. Any phone extension that you want answered by an Administrative Voice Menu needs a corresponding front end profile. Anytime you have an Administrative Voice Menu that is only going to be used within another Administrative Voice Menu would not need a front end profile.

Step 2 - Requesting Profiles Be Created if Necessary

If you want to make modifications to an existing Administrative Voice Menu profile, you probably do not need to do this step. If you are planning a new Administrative Voice Menu or if you are planning a new sub profile, then you need to put in a request via your Technology Consultant (TC) of you are faculty/staff or the Help Center if you are a student organization, to have a new profile created. When you contact your TC or the Student Help Center you need to provide the following information:

  1. The phone extension on which you want the Administrative Voice Menu.
  2. Whether you want the Administrative Voice Menu to always play or only to play under special conditions, such as Busy/No Answer, Only on No Answer or only on Busy.
  3. To what phone extension you want the call to be directed if a caller presses 0 or if a caller fails to press any of the choices the Administrative Voice Menu offer.
  4. You need to specify a password for the Administrative Voice Menu - the typical convention at BC is to use 4 digits for profile passwords. The password for the primary menu should be used for all sub profiles and Time-of-Day and Off Hours profiles.
  5. The exact names of all the profiles you need created, including a front end profile.
  6. Request that you be notified once the profiles you are requesting are created.

The TC or Student Help Center will create a work order which will make its way to the ITS systems staff who manage Administrative voice menus.

Step 3 - Customizing a profile

All modification is done to Administrative Voice Menus by dialing one access number and entering your profile number followed by the # key. Contact your TC for assistance if you aren't familiar with this procedure.

Next you will be prompted to enter the password for the profile followed by a # key. If you do not know the password for a profile you will need to contact your TC or the Student Help Center and ask that the password either be reset or changed to something you specify.

Once you have successfully input the password for the profile, you will hear a message that says press 1 to change the recordings in this profile or press 2 to review the options in a mailbox. It is the owner of an Administrative Voice Menu's responsibility to record their own menus. When your Administrative voice menu is created, the programmers will code in the actions the voice menu will perform so that you can then record the appropriate messages.

Important, for an existing Administrative Voice Menu (i.e. one that is already in "live" use) programming changes become effective immediately unless you make arrangements with the Voice Services group that controls the phone switch to temporarily deactivate the Administrative Voice Menu. Therefore, it is important that new recordings associated with any programming changes occur almost simultaneously. Until the recordings of instructions a caller hears are in synch with the actions the Administrative Voice Menu is going to perform, a caller will not be directed to the proper place and at best, the caller will be very confused if not outright annoyed.

A brand new Administrative Voice Menu will not become "live" until after you make arrangements with the Voice Services group that controls the switch so time is not critical in this instance. The owner of the Administrative Voice Menu can take as long as they need to make the recordings that callers will hear.

Step 4 - Making an Administrative Voice Menu active

As stated above, only a new Administrative Voice Menu needs to be "turned on." Typically an existing Administrative Voice Menu is already active. To turn on an Administrative Voice Menu, contact your Technology Consultant or Help Center to request that the Voice Services group that controls the switch make the change that instructs the front end profile. The Voice group will need to know the circumstances under which to make the Administrative Voice Menu play, i.e. for every call, only for no answer, only for busy, or only for busy or no answer.

Forwarding Phones

If you have specified that you only want your Administrative Voice Menu to kick in on busy/no answer (i.e. giving the department a chance to answer the phone "live" if they are available) there may be times when you know that the phone won't get answered, like after hours or when a staff member is out sick. In these instances, you may want to forward the phone that is the primary for the extension that the Administrative Voice Menu is associated with so that the caller will not have to wait numerous rings before the Administrative Voice Menu plays.

Two important considerations:

  1. You don't want to forward an Administrative Voice Menu to 24006. Administrative Voice Menus need to be forwarded to extension 20060
  2. When you forward a phone, you forward all of the extensions on the phone. Forwarding the average phone extension to 20060 is not a desirable scenario since Voice Mail for Administrative phone extensions (552) runs on a different server. Generally unless an Administrative Voice Menu is the only extension on a phone set, you don't want to forward the phone set.


Many times an Administrative Voice Menu is associated with a phone extension that had already been in existence with a voice mail box as opposed to a new phone extension with no voice mail box yet. Often times an existing phone extension is used because it has been published in directories and on business cards. Once a call has been taken by an Administrative Voice Menu, that same extension cannot be used to take voice mail messages. The best thing to do is have a new extension assigned by Voice Services as a secondary mailbox to the primary Administrative Voice Menu extension. What this does is make the message waiting indicator (mwi) continue to light on the same phone that it always did. When you request the secondary mailbox from the Voice group specify that it is only going to be used by an Administrative Voice Menu and can come from the 5000,7000 or 9000 series of extensions if they wish.

Front End Profiles

You need a front end profile to exist. It is used to direct the phone switch to use an Administrative Voice Menu.

Note to ITS staff and TC's: Typically you do not need to customize a front end profile as long as you specified the correct revert number when you requested that the front end profile be created.