How To Manage Answering Rules and Time Frames

Though Answering Rules and Time Frames are separate tabs, they are so interconnected that describing them together makes sense.

Time Frames

Time frames allow you to control the scheduling of the system. You configure time frames using the Time Frames page. To display this page, click the Time Frames icon at the top of the page:

Three common time frames are:

  • Open Hours (for example, M-F 9am-5pm)
  • Holidays (Independence Day, Thanksgiving, New Year's, and so on)
  • Closed Hours (all other times)

Time frames can be both shared (system-wide and set by the administrator) or personal to your extension. You can add a time frame to your extension by clicking the Add Time Frame.

To add time frames

  1. From the Time Frames page, click Add Time Frame.
    The Add a Timeframe page appears.
  2. In the Name field, enter a name for this time frame.
  3. Next to When, select the time period when the time frame will be applied:
  • Always = select this option if the time frame will always be applied. Click Save to complete the procedure.
  • Days of the week and times = select this option to select days and times when the time frame will be applied. Proceed to "If you select Days of the week and times" on page 19.
  • Specific dates or ranges = select this option to specify a specific date or range of dates. Proceed to "If you select Specific dates or ranges" on page 22.

If you select Days of the week and times

Options appear for selecting days and times when the time frame will be applied
(see Figure 2‑8).

Figure 2‑8. Setting Days of the Week and Times

  1. Using the check boxes next to the name of each day of the week, check the days when the time frame will be applied. A blue line to the right of checked day shows the default hours for this time frame (9:00 AM through 5:00 PM).

    Default operating hours

  2. To change the start time, drag the button on the left side of the blue bar either to the left to begin the start time earlier or to the right to begin the start time later.
  3. To change the end time, drag the button on the right side of the blue bar either to the left to shorten the end time or to the right to lengthen the end time.
    Hint : To fine-tune start and end times, click start time or end time button, and then use the left and right arrow keys on your keyboard to change the time in 5-minute increments.
  4. By default, each day is made up of one time period. However, you can use the icon to define two time periods per day. For example, the figure below shows a setup for an office that answers calls in the morning and afternoon, and then transfers calls to an answering service over lunch, on Monday through Friday. By doing this, you would create two time frames (for example, one from 8 to noon and another from 1:00 to 5:00 PM).
  5. Click Save to save your selections.

The time frame appears as a row on the Time Frames page.

Hint : Moving the pointer over the blue text in the Description column shows the settings for that timeframe.

If you select Specific dates or ranges

Fields appear for entering dates or ranges (see Figure 2‑9).

Figure 2‑9. Setting Dates or Ranges

  1. 1. Click in the left field, and then select a starting date and time from the pop-up calendar.
  2. 2. Click in the right field, and then select an ending date and time from the pop-up calendar.
  3. 3. To specify additional ranges, click the icon to display another row of fields, and then repeat steps 1 and 2 in the new fields. Repeat this step for each additional date or range you want to specify. To delete a date or range, click the icon next to the appropriate row.
  4. 4. Click Save to save your selections.
  5. The time frame appears as a row on the Time Frames page.


Hint
: Moving the pointer over the blue text in the Description column shows the settings for that timeframe.

Answering Rules

After you set up your time frames, you can create different answering rules for your time frames. You configure answering rules using the Answering Rules page. To display this page, click the Answering Rules icon at the top of the page:

The left side of the Answering page has a Rings for n seconds drop-down list that allows you to specify the maximum ring time (one ring is generally 5 seconds). When that time expires, the caller will be forwarded to the Call Forward When Unanswered rule if defined; otherwise, the caller will be forwarded to voicemail if enabled. The right side of the Answering Rules page has buttons for adding answering rules, and specifying allowed and blocked numbers.

Figure 2‑10 shows examples of answering rules. In this figure:

  • The extension has a rule to simultaneously ring many desk phones during Open Hours.

    • Cell Forward rings many desk phones and a cell phone simultaneously.
  • Holiday and closed hour rules go straight to voicemail.

    The active rule is the topmost rule that matches the conditions in the corresponding time frame. In Figure 2‑10, for example, the time is around 1pm on Friday, so both Open Hours and Cell Forward rule match the time/day condition, but Open Hours is active because it is the topmost rule. You can change the order by using the arrows at left of each rule to drag the rules.

    Figure 2‑10. Sample Answering Rules

    To add an answering rule

    1. 1. From the Answering Rules page, click Add Rule.
      The Add an Answering Rule page appears. From this page, you can create rules to screen callers, forward calls, and ring multiple numbers simultaneously.

      Figure 2‑11. Add an Answering Rule Page

    2. 2. Complete the fields in the Add an Answering Rule page (see Table 2‑3).

    3. 3. Click Save.

    Table 2‑3. Fields in the Add an Answering Rule Page

    Field Description
    Time Frame Select the time frame when this answering rule will apply.
    Do not disturb No phone rings, goes straight to voicemail if available.
    Call screening Prompts caller to say their name, lets you screen the call before accepting.
    Call Forwarding Always Immediately forwards to the number specified. See "Call Forward Drop-down Options" below.
    Call Forwarding On Active Forward calls to the number specified when you have one or more calls active. See "Call Forward Drop-down Options" below.
    Call Forwarding When Busy Forwards calls to the number specified when your extension has used all available call paths. See "Call Forward Drop-down Options" below.
    Call Forwarding When Unanswered Forwards calls to the number specified if the call is not answered after the specified ring timeout. See "Call Forward Drop-down Options" below.
    Call Forwarding When Offline Automatically forwards if your desk phone loses communication (such as during a power outage). See "Call Forward Drop-down Options" below.
    Simultaneous Ring Rings many phones at once. Check box options allow you to:
    • Include the user's extension.

    • Ring all your user's phones.

    • Use the option "Answer confirmation for offnet numbers" to ensure that a person - and not voicemail - answers simrings to a cell/landline by prompting the answering party to press 1 to accept the call. An icon to the right of this option allows you to specify a ring delay.
    Note: A simring rings handsets, not users. So, for example, if 111 is listed, the simring will ring handset 111. If user 111 has a call forward set to their cell, however, the simring will not occur at the cell since simring rings handsets, not users.
    Just ring user's extension Rings just your phone.

    Call Forward Drop-down Options

    When entering an extension as a call forward option, a drop-down list allows you to forward the call to specific resources associated with that extension. Table 2‑4 describes the options. Some options may not appear, depending on the features associated with the extension.

    Table 2‑4. Call Forward Drop-down Options on the Add an Answering Rule Page

    Field Description
    Handset Bypasses the user answering rules and forwards to the handset associated with the specified user.
    User Forwards to the user at that extension and follows the user's answering rules.
    Voicemail Forwards to voicemail at the specified extension.
    Queue Forwards to the queue associated with that user.
    Autoattendant Forwards to the auto attendant associated with that user.
    Conference Forwards to a Conference bridge

    Ring Timeout

    At the top of the page is the ring timeout selection. This option specifies the number of seconds that your phones will ring, or forwarding rule before going to voicemail (when available).

    Allowing or Blocking Callers

    The Answering Rules page has an Allow/Block button that allows you to permit or block calls from certain numbers. Using this feature, you can block unwanted calls to your phone, as well as calls from anonymous and unwanted numbers. Allowed numbers bypass user Do Not Disturb and Call Screening rules to ring through immediately.

    1. 1. From the Answering Rules page, click Allow/Block.
    2. The Allow/Block page appears. This page has two lists, one for allowed phone numbers (on the left) and another for blocked phone numbers (on the right).
      Figure 2‑12. Allow/Block Page

    3. 2. To allow phone numbers, perform the following steps under ALLOWED NUMBERS:
      1. a. Click in the Enter a number field.
      2. b. Enter the number you want to allow.
      3. c. Click the button. The number appears in the ALLOWED NUMBERS list and a brief message tells you the allowed number was added.
      4. d. To add more numbers, repeat step 2.
      5. e. To remove a number, click the button next to that number.

      Examples of allowed numbers

      Figure 2‑13. Example of Allowed Numbers

    4. 3. To block phone numbers, perform the following steps under BLOCKED NUMBERS:
      1. Click in the Enter a number field.
      2. b. Enter the number you want to block.
      3. c. Click the button. The number appears in the BLOCKED NUMBERS list and a brief message tells you the blocked number was added.
      4. d. To add more numbers, repeat step 3.
      5. e. To remove a number, click the button next to that number.
    5. 4. To block anonymous calls and calls from unknown numbers, check Block anonymous or unknown.

      Examples of blocked numbers

      Figure 2‑14. Example of Blocked Numbers

    6. 5. When you are finished, click Done.
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