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What Is a Dial by Name Directory?

by Joe DeBari

A dial by name directory provides an obstacle-free path that connects callers to your staff members.

- “Thanks for calling [your company’s name]! How can I help you today?”

- “Can you please transfer me to [specific employee’s name]?”

Do your business’s call agents or receptionists answer many calls like these, where callers immediately ask to be transferred to a specific employee? You’ll be happy to know that there’s a business call feature that can automatically handle those requests, saving time for your callers and call agents while also providing a better customer experience.

Dial by Name Directory Explained

A dial by name directory is a call feature that enables callers to find a specific employee and then be automatically transferred to that person.

Callers use the DTMF keypad on their phones to key in a few letters of a first or last name (for example, pressing 2 for the letters A, B, and C, pressing 3 for D, E, and F, and so on). When the directory matches those keyed in letters with an employee at your business, it will state the person’s name to the caller. After the caller confirms that is the person they wish to reach, the directory will automatically connect the caller to the employee.

This is a completely automated feature, so there is no human intervention needed to transfer a caller to an employee. Callers can find the person they want to talk to quickly, seamlessly, and on their own—they don't even have to wait on hold to speak with a call agent first.

And what’s more: Your call agents won’t have to spend valuable time fielding calls where they manually transfer a call to a coworker. That means they’ll be more available to help other callers with troubleshooting issues, setup questions, and bill payments.

How to Use a Dial by Name Directory at Your Business

Add to Your Auto Attendant Menu

The best way to use this business call feature is to make it an option in your business’s auto attendant. When someone calls your main phone number, they’ll hear the options presented by the auto attendant. After they select the prompt for your directory (“press 4 for our company directory”), they’ll immediately access the feature and can start searching for an employee.

Create Separate Directories for Your Separate Office Branches

If you have multiple offices, and different phone numbers for each of those branches, you can create different dial by name directories for each office. For instance, create a directory that groups all your New York City office employees in it and create another directory that groups all your San Francisco office employees in that one. Then, link the directories from the respective auto attendants that answer each phone number. When a person calls your San Francisco phone number, they can then access the directory that only has your San Francisco staff in it.

Ring All of a Staff Member’s Phones

Some phone services—including OnSIP—allow you to register multiple phone devices for each user (think a desk phone at your office, a desk phone at your home office, a softphone app on your mobile phone, etc.). When a caller uses the directory to connect to you, all your registered devices will ring. You can be sure that you won’t miss a call just because you’re not sitting at your desk.


Now that you know how to use a dial by name directory, learn about some tips and best practices for your auto attendant menu!

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