OnSIP Tip: Please Leave a Message! How to Play Different Unavailable Announcements Using BHRs

One of the major advantages of using OnSIP at your company is the flexibility that it gives you to meet your business’s needs. As we wrote about in a previous post, you can use its cloud phone system features in many unique ways. For instance, you can unite phones that are in different offices under one ring group, and you can add sayso on your website, enabling site visitors to call your business using only their web browser windows.

Chuck Dunne, OnSIP’s Channel Support Manager, recently helped a customer use OnSIP to meet a specific business need that they had. This customer wanted one voice mailbox to play a different unavailable message based on the time of day. Read on to learn how Chuck helped him to accomplish this.

Using Announcements and Business Hour Rules (BHRs) to Play Different Unavailable Messages

Our customer wanted one voice mailbox to play three different voicemail greetings depending on which situation was met or what time of day it was:

  1. If all staff members were busy helping other callers, he wanted the voicemail greeting to say, “Sorry, we are all on the phone, please leave a message.”
  2. If the office was closed for lunch, he wanted the greeting to say, “Sorry, we are at lunch, please leave a message.”
  3. And if the office was closed for the day, he wanted the greeting to say, “Sorry, we are closed, please leave a message.”

With OnSIP, you can record a temporary voicemail greeting (“I am currently away on vacation…”) that will play in place of your regular greeting (“You’ve reached Joe’s voicemail…”) for a certain period of time. This is a convenient option that will keep your callers informed when you’re away on vacation, out for jury duty, out sick for the day, etc.

However, a temporary voicemail greeting was not the best, or most efficient, option for our customer to use. He would have to stop what he was doing multiple times each and every day to record different temporary greetings at different times of the day.

So Chuck helped him to use announcements and business hour rules to accomplish his requirement.

Step 1: Create a General Voice Mailbox

Creating a voice mailbox in the OnSIP Admin Portal

  • While in the admin portal, click on the Resources tab, Create New Resource, the Voice Mailbox icon, and then Create a New Voice Mailbox.
  • Fill out the voice mailbox settings according to your needs, and then click on the Confirm button to create it.
  • Once it’s created, you’ll need to record one second of dead air for its unavailable message, accomplished through OnSIP’s voicemail manager. This is needed so that callers will hear a beep after the announcement plays.

Step 2: Create Three Different Recordings (to Use in Your Announcements)

  • Record three separate messages for the above three greetings (“Sorry, we are all on the phone…”). This can be done by using OnSIP’s recording manager or by using a third-party application to record the messages and save as .WAV files.
    • If you're using a third-party app to record messages, upload those recordings into the admin portal: click on the Resources tab, Create New Resource, the Recording icon, and then Create a New Recording.
      • Name the recording, attach the appropriate file, and then click on the Confirm button.
    • If you're using OnSIP's recording manager, your messages will appear in the Resources list once they have been recorded.
  • Repeat these steps so that you have three recordings on your account for each of the three voicemail greetings.

Step 3: Create Three Different Announcements

Creating an announcement in the OnSIP Admin Portal

  • Click on the Apps tab, Create New Apps, the Announcement icon, and then Create a New Announcement.
  • Make the announcement name something like “Busy Announcement” and attach the appropriate recording.
  • Set the Transfer to destination to the general voice mailbox that you just created, then click on the Confirm button to create the announcement.
  • Repeat these steps so that you have three announcements for each of the three greetings: “Busy Announcement,” “Lunch Announcement,” and “Closed Announcement.”

Step 4: Create One Ring Group

Creating a call group in the OnSIP Admin Portal

  • Click on the Groups tab and then Create New Group.
  • Give the group a descriptive name (say, “Ring All Staff”), select the Simultaneous Ring strategy, set your Failover to location to be the “Busy Announcement,” and add employees into the group.
  • Click on the Save link to create the group.

Step 5: Create Three Different BHRs and Link Them Together

Creating business hour rules in the OnSIP Admin Portal

  • Click on the Apps tab, Create New Apps, the Business Hour Rule icon, and then Create a New Business Hour Rule.
  • Create an Afternoon BHR:
    • Rule Name- “PM BHR”
    • Select your preferred time zone
    • For Monday through Friday, set the Open hours as 1:30 PM to 5:00 PM
    • For “If open route calls to:” select the “Ring All Staff” group
    • For “If closed route calls to:” select the “Closed Announcement”
    • Click on the Confirm button to save the BHR
  • Then, follow these steps to create two more BHRs:
    • One for a Lunchtime BHR: Name = “Lunch BHR.” For Monday through Friday, set the Open hours as 12:30 PM to 1:30 PM, when Open, send calls to the “Lunch Announcement”, when Closed, send calls to the “PM BHR”
    • One for a Morning BHR: Name = “AM BHR.” For Monday through Friday, set the Open hours as 9:00 AM to 12:30 PM, when Open, send calls to the “Ring All Staff” group, when Closed, send calls to the “Lunch BHR”

Step 6: Direct Your Business’s Phone Number to the BHR

  • From the Resources tab, select the phone number that you want to use (your main business number or your sales number, for instance)
  • Select Modify in the Phone Number Details box, and set the destination to the “AM BHR.” (Set the other fields as you wish.) Save your changes.

With this setup, callers will be able to reach one of your staff members or be sent to the main voice mailbox after hearing an unavailable greeting based on the time of day. Any voicemail messages that are left can then be retrieved by any member of the group for review and follow up with the caller.

Obviously, any of these parameters can be changed to fit your business’s unique needs: You can change the BHRs’ open hours to fit your hours of operation, or you can make the announcements say whatever you wish. You can also enable voicemail-to-email to automatically forward any voicemail messages to an email address. This is especially helpful for your employees because they won’t have to dial into a voice mailbox to review messages—they’ll be able to listen to them right from their email inboxes.

Related Blog Posts: Use OnSIP to Meet Your Unique Business Needs

Do you have a unique business need or scenario at your company? Chances are, OnSIP will be able to successfully—and efficiently—meet it!

Check out these other blog posts for more tips on how to make OnSIP work for your employees:

Topics: VoIP Solutions, sayso, VoIP Phone System FAQs, OnSIP-features-announcements, onsip-features-business hour rules, onsip-features-voicemail