So I’m posting this for the new folks; it may seem like an obvious thing for some, but maybe it will help someone.
Our situation here is the boss wants the phone answered by a human whenever possible; so we have IVR set up for hours when we are closed, OR if the operator can’t get to a ringing line in so many seconds.
But there are other things as well; such as holidays, bad weather, and so forth.
Here’s how I set things up.
I have a time group called “Normal Hours” that are the business hours. That one is a no-brainer. When we’re closed, send it to IVR, when we’re open, send it to the operator group.
So, a combination of a Time Condition and a Time Group makes that happen.
However, there are other reasons that the system may go to IVR. Holidays, closed due to weather, and so forth.
To make all this work, my time conditions are “Cascaded”. I have a time condition called “Bad Weather”. It has no time GROUP associated with it, so it never activates itself. I have one called Christmas, one called Thanksgiving, and one called Holidays (for the other holidays).
Each time condition has a feature code assigned to it (more on this later)
So, a call comes in and hits the first time condition… bad weather. If it’s on, send it to an IVR called “Bad Weather”, which plays a bad weather message, then takes a voicemail message.
If the “Bad Weather” isn’t active, it goes to the next time condition. “Thanksgiving”. If that one isn’t active, it goes to “Christmas”, then to “Holidays”, then LAST it goes to “Normal Hours”.
So, an incoming call looks like this:
Is it “Bad Weather”?
Is it “Thanksgiving”?
Is it “Christmas?”
Is it “Holidays?”
Are we open? (normal hours)
Ring the operator.
Now here is where things get cool. First of all, since all of these have a feature code, I set up a separate DISA number (with a strong password) so that the boss can say “Oh, we’re buried in snow…” and they can dial in and turn on the “Bad Weather”. Since that’s the first in the cascade, the system immediately switches over to the bad weather/voicemail setting.
Here’s the next cool thing… by programming those feature codes on BLF’s on the operator station, the modes can also be changed with a push of a button! Why would I want this? Well, one day (before a holiday) the boss let us all go home an hour early on Friday. No problem… touch the “Normal Hours” button on the operator station, and the system goes into the IVR mode, instead of ringing the front desk.
In this way, modes can be quickly and easily changed either with the push of a button at the operator station, OR by DISA. Bonus is that you can see what mode the system is in… so when we’re open, the “Normal Hours” BLF is green… when we’re closed, it’s red. If we’re getting sent home because of a blizzard, just touch the “Bad Weather” button on your way out, and the system is changed appropriately.
Anyway, I hope this helps someone. Took me a while to figure out the best way to handle it, but this way works well.
(Note: Whatever is “higher” on the list will have priority… in other words, if the “Bad Weather” mode is set, “Christmas” won’t ever get played)