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Course Content - Basic

Digital Receptionists


Welcome to the online training series from 3CX. This module, will take you through the configuration of the Digital Receptionists in 3CX.


In today’s training we will cover the menu options available in a Digital Receptionist, as well as the ability to direct dial an extension from within the Digital Receptionist.


Whenever we hear the word receptionist, we always think of a person sitting at the front office of a company, greeting people and answering the phones. They will divert the calls to the appropriate department, or staff member, depending on who the caller asked for.

A Digital Receptionist will perform the same functionality, but will provide the caller with a list of possible options. It will prompt the caller for input from the keypad, in order to be able to process the call.

The options available are predefined and will need to be recorded as a voice prompt and configured in the PBX.

It is also possible to dial any local extension from within the Digital Receptionist.

The audio format of the voice prompt will need to be in the 3CX supported audio format. The format is a WAV file, encoded as PCM, 8 kHz, 16 bit, MONO.

A recording can also be recorded from a phone provisioned on the PBX. If you record from one of the PBX provisioned phones, the audio will be in the supported format.


From the Management Console, select Digital Receptionist and click “Add”

Give the Digital Receptionist a name. Choose a descriptive name as this name will possibly be used for routing calls from other Digital Receptionists. Having multiple Digital Receptionists can get confusing, so good descriptive names help to simplify the process.

Choose whether to import a pre-recorded prompt, or you can opt to record a prompt from one of the phones. This is the audio prompt which will be played to the callers, informing them of their options.

You can choose a different language than the default system prompt language. This will override the default system prompt language for the rest of the specific call. All other calls which do not pass through this Digital Receptionist will continue to use the default system prompt language.


The options which are available to the callers are the following:

  • Connect to Extensions. This will give you the list of extensions on the PBX which can be chosen to transfer the call to.
  • Connect to Ring Group. This will give the list of all available Ring Groups in the PBX.
  • Connect to Queue. This will give the list of all available Call Queues in the PBX.
  • Connect to Digital Receptionist. This will allow you to create multi level Digital Receptionists. For example, you may have the 1st Digital Receptionist as the choice of language in a PBX. The choices for each language will then go to a 2nd level of Digital Receptionist which will allow the caller to choose the department they wish to speak to, with the system prompts in the chosen language.

This will not affect the recorded prompt, as this will be in any language you record it.

When creating complex digital receptionists, please keep them as complex as is absolutely required, as the callers may get either confused or bored and hang up the call. A list of all available digital receptionists will be shown.

  • Transfer to Voicemail. This will allow you to transfer a call to the voicemail box of an extension in the PBX. The caller will then be directed to leave a voicemail in the voicemail box of this extension.
  • Nothing. The PBX will continue to wait and will not respond to a key press.
  • Repeat Prompt. The intro prompt will be repeated from the beginning, informing the caller of their options.


Another option, which was shown in the screenshot of the previous slide but was not mentioned, is the “Call by Name” feature. This feature provides the caller with the option to call an extension, even if they do not know the extension number.

The dialing is done based on the configured last name of the extension. The caller will be prompted to enter the 1st 3 digits of the last name of the person they wish to contact.

This provides small companies, without DIDs, to have smart dialling capabilities, where they will be able to be contacted directly, without needing to go through a receptionist.

To enable the Call by Name feature to dial an extension, you will need to record Self Identification Prompts via the voicemail menu of an extension. The user will be able to record their name, to be used in the identification of the extension in the call by name menu.

The Self Identification Prompt will only play when there is more than one match for the 3 digit number the caller entered.

For example:

David Smith and Wayne Rogers both have surnames that can be accessed by dialing 764. In this particular case, their Self Identification Prompts will be read out and the caller will be prompted to select which person they need to speak to.

The Call by Name functionality has a limitation of 10 users, as the options to speak to a person are 0 to 9.


A caller can also dial an extension at any time within a Digital Receptionist. A menu option is not required. There is an interdigit timeout of 2 seconds, so the caller will need to enter the extension digits within 2 seconds, otherwise the Digital Receptionist might consider this to be an invalid option, or an option of the Digital Receptionist.

This functionality can be disabled globally across all Digital Receptionists, as some companies do not wish people to call in and start dialling extensions indiscriminately. Contacting 3CX Technical Support, you will be able to ask for the procedure to disable this functionality.


After the Digital Receptionist prompt is read out, the PBX will wait for the configured options to be entered. If no input is detected after the configured timeout, the PBX will forward the call based on the configuration. The normal menu options are available in this case, as mentioned in Slide 5.

When an invalid option is entered, for example someone tries to dial an extension from the direct dialing functionality, and dials an invalid extension, the PBX provides the option to transfer to either an Extension, a Ring Group, another Digital Receptionist, or, to repeat the prompt.


The Holiday Digital receptionist, is a predefined digital receptionist, that is triggered automatically on global holidays.

The menu options available for the holiday digital receptionist are the same as any digital receptionist defined in the PBX.

During a holiday, two different call flows are available:

The first is when a holiday prompt is defined in the PBX Holiday settings. When defining a holiday, if a holiday prompt is defined, this prompt will be played, and when the call is transferred to the holiday digital receptionist, the prompt for this digital receptionist will not be played, but the options, and timeout will be in force.

If a holiday prompt is not played, then the holiday digital receptionist prompt will be played.

In summary, only one of the two prompts will be played, with a priority given to the holiday prompt in the PBX Holiday settings.

More info on the configuration of global holidays can be found in the Time Based Scheduling module.

[SLIDE 10]

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