An inbound call is a phone call that comes “in” towards a phone number, & in our case, our AI assistant will be there to pick up the phone call.

There are 4 steps we will cover to handle our first inbound phone call:

  1. Create an Assistant: we will create an assistant & instruct it on how to conduct the call
  2. Get a Phone Number: we can either import existing numbers we own, or purchase one through Vapi
  3. Attach Our Assistant: we will put our assistant behind the phone number to pick up calls
  4. Call the Number: we can then call the number & talk to our assistant

Vapi’s Pizzeria

We will be implementing a simple order-taking assistant that receives customer calls at a pizza shop called “Vapi’s Pizzeria”.

Vapi’s has 3 types of menu items: pizza, sides, & drinks. Customers will be ordering 1 of each.

Customers will order 3 items: 1 pizza, 1 side, & 1 drink. The assistant will pick up the phone & take the customer's order.

Assistant Setup

First we’re going to set up our assistant in the dashboard. Once our assistant’s transcriber, model, & voice are set up, we can call it to place our order.

You can visit your dashboard by going to

Get a Phone Number

Now that we’ve configured how our assistant will behave, we want to figure out how to call it. We will need a phone number that we can make phone calls to.

There are 2 ways we can get a phone number into our Vapi account:

  1. Purchase a Number Through Vapi: we can directly purchase phone numbers through Vapi.

    • Vapi will provision the phone number for us via Twilio
    • This can be done in the dashboard, or via the API (we will use the dashboard)
  2. Import from Twilio or Vonage: if we already have a phone number with an external telephony provider (like Twilio or Vonage), we can import them into our Vapi account.

Attach Your Assistant

Now that we have a configured assistant & a phone number, we will put our assistant behind the phone number to pick up incoming phone calls.

In the Inbound area of the phone number detail view, select your assistant in the dropdown under Assistant.

Your assistant will now pick-up calls made to this phone number.

Call the Number

You can now make a phone call to the number. Your assistant will pick up the phone & manage the order-taking conversation. Happy ordering!

Your assistant won’t yet be able to hang-up the phone at the end of the call. We will learn more about configuring call end behaviour in later guides.