Consistent productivity is challenging when your work hours fluctuate. Even if you’re a busy business owner, there are times when you availability to answer your phone is limited. Maybe your business hours change seasonally or you’re closed over certain holidays. Even with fluctuations in your work times, you can still be reachable when you need to be and redirect calls automatically.
With the Time Frames feature of a cloud phone system, you can automate your Answering Rules no matter how your schedule varies. (We explained the benefits of Answering Rules and how to use them in “Answering Rules: Increase Focus & Accessibility At Work”.)
Customizing Time Frames according to your schedule and needs enables you to get the full benefits of the Rules you create. Here’s a tutorial of how it works.
A rule of thumb is to start with 3 time frames:
There’s a good chance the administrator for your organization has already set up similar time frames for use by everyone in the system. If not, you can create your own.
Users can click the Time Frames icon to go to the Time Frame page. You’ll see a list of existing time frames with the names on the left.
Hovering over the description of a time frame will pop up a window showing a summary of the hours it covers.
Let’s say you’ve arranged to work an extra hour Monday to Thursday during the summer so you can take Friday afternoons off and enjoy a longer weekend.
When you later create an Answering Rule based on this time frame, you’ll decide how calls are handled when you’re in the office. Enable the rule at the start of July and then disable it when summer is over. See Answering Rules: Increase Focus & Accessibility At Work for more information.
Now that we’ve gone through the process, we’ll delete this time frame. You can edit or delete a time frame by selecting the row and clicking on the “pencil” or the “x” icon.
If you’re taking the whole summer off, you can create a time frame that covers the full two months.
The final option for time frames is Always. A time frame set to Always covers any time – 24/7/365 (the Default mentioned earlier is an example of this.) Any calls not processed by other rules will be processed by a rule based on the Default(Always) time frame.
One final factor for time frames is precedence. Answering Rules take effect from the top down, with the rule at the top of the Answering Rules page being applied first. So when you have two rules with overlapping time frames, the one closer to the top of the Answering Rules page takes precedence.
For example: A Default(Always) rule overlaps with the Open Hours rule with the 9am to 5pm time frame. Putting Open Hours at the top of the list ensures it will process calls when the office is open. Any calls outside of office hours will get handled by Default
If the Default rule is at the top, it will take precedence, and since its Time Frame setting is Always, it will process ALL the calls. Calls will never reach the Open Hours rule.
Remember, it’s the order of the associated Answering Rules on the Answering Rules page that’s important. The order of the time frames on the Time Frame page is irrelevant and can’t be changed.
Take a look at Time Frames and Answering Rules and see how you can use them to make your work day more productive.
Got questions about these features? Contact us today. We’d be happy to help!
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