Seasonal system configuration options

PBX summary screenWhether you or your clients are closed over the Christmas period, closed on the Bank Holidays only or working with a reduced staff, there are a number of ways that VoIPCortex UC solutions can help businesses to maintain a professional image this holiday period. Don’t leave it until the last minute – some quick planning now will make sure you’re worry free and able to relax on Christmas Eve.

Here are our techies’ top picks for seasonal configuration changes that will keep your customers informed during the next week or so.

Creative IVR/Auto attendant

Setting the right expectation with customers as to the availability of staff, whether relating to one department or company wide, is quick and easy to do with auto attendant. Record a new welcome message, either from your handset or as a .wav file on the computer, explaining your operating hours or any key information that will have an impact on the service that they would regularly receive.

Call and hunt groups

The VoIPCortex PBX offers a wide range of ringing patterns and flexible groupings. If a company is operating a skeleton staff rather than company wide office closure, make sure that the extensions included in these are still relevant and helpful – it’s no use having a call ring the sales team for 10 seconds before diverting if none of the sales team are there as this will only serve to frustrate the customer. Try configuring the extensions of users or groups known to be present during the holiday period to reduce waiting times for callers.

Night mode

The night mode feature is a simple way to schedule different extension or group behaviours on a time/day basis. The PABX supports 10 different night mode schedules – a summary of which can be viewed on the “Night mode” page under the “PABX” tab. It’s a feature that’s incredibly valuable throughout the year, not just for unusual closures, so if it’s not currently being deployed then now is an excellent excuse to learn all about it.

Here’s some of our most basic, but effective, ways to use night mode.

  1. Create a new night mode separate to any currently active schedule to cover the holiday season and alter the main extension(s) to use this schedule. Whether this means just the bank holidays or an extended period of closure, it’s most effective in conjunction with a custom auto attendant – including a message stating when normal service resumes, as well as a menu that can direct them to leave a voicemail for the right person or the right department.
  2. If you’ve already got a generic night mode schedule in place – for example, for actual overnight behaviour – and the behaviour matches what you’d like to see over the closure period then your job’s even easier. Simply schedule the same configuration to switch on before the office is closed, and switch back off again when the office is open – all in advance, and all automated. Easy.
  3. For some businesses, it’s not as simple as just closing down over Christmas. However, those companies operating unpredictable hours over the holiday period have a simple solution too. Quickly and easily enable night mode on the fly by dialling **8 to take it off, and **9 to put night mode back on the schedule. You can even use **8x and **9x to alter the behaviour of a specific night mode from your handset, but we’d recommend preparing your schedules in advance for a stress free Christmas period!

Additional tips and this morning’s Google hangout

This morning, our CEO Rob Pickering ran a hangout detailing additional tips and tricks for the holiday period. View the recording below to learn about:

  • Using personal diverts from the web user interface
  • Hard forwarding of calls to external numbers as part of a dialplan
  • Combining with Night Mode schedules to forward to different numbers over the holiday period
  • Using IVRs to set expectations and pre-filter calls before forwarding
  • Combining Night Mode with IVRs to setup different call options depending on time of day

.. and to enjoy bonus footage of Rob in his Santa hat!

About Matt

Matt is a long standing member of the development team, having joined ipcortex in 2007.
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