Call processing and voicemail are both components of a telephone system.
- Call processing, or auto attendant, is customized, automated answering that directs the caller to the appropriate location (extension, department, voice mailbox).
- Voicemail is the messaging component for callers to leave a message.
These two components function together to route calls the the proper extensions and to save messages to be retrieved later by the user.
Voicemail systems can be much more sophisticated than answering machines in that they can:
- Answer many phones at the same time
- Store incoming voice messages in personalized mailboxes associated with the user’s phone number
- Enable users to forward received messages to another voice mailbox
- Send messages to one or more voice mailboxes
- Add a voice introduction to a forwarded message
- Store voice messages for future delivery
- Make calls to a telephone or paging service to notify the user a message has arrived in his/her mailbox
- Transfer callers to another phone number for personal assistance
- Play different message greetings to different callers
- Use an automated attendant to answer initial call
Voicemail messages are stored on hard disk drives. Messages are recorded in digitized natural human voice similar to how music is stored on a CD. To retrieve messages, a user calls the system from any phone or logs on using Touch-tones (clearing security). Many users can retrieve or store messages at the same time on the same voicemail system.
Many voicemail systems also offer an automated attendant facility. Automated attendants enable callers to a “main” business number to access directory service or self-route the call to various places such as a specific department, an extension number, or to an informational recording in a voice mailbox, etc.