OnSIP Tip: Using Call Groups and Business Hour Rules to Unify Offices in Different Time Zones

Business Hosted PBX platforms allow companies much flexibility in setting up their phone systems. Chuck Dunne, OnSIP Senior Account Manager, made OnSIP Hosted PBX work to a customer’s advantage in addressing a rather intricate situation. This customer had 2 offices in different time zones, and wanted to have everyone’s phones ring upon an incoming call, but only when each office was open. Here’s how he helped the customer accomplish this:

Chuck utilized 3 call groups and 3 business hour rules (BHRs).

Step 1: Create 3 groups.

While logged into the Admin portal, select the Groups tab, then select Create New Group. Chuck helped the customer create 3 groups with simultaneous ring strategies:

  • East Coast Group: all employees working in the East Coast office were added as members of this group
  • West Coast Group: all employees working in the West Coast office were added as members of this group
  • All Group: all employees working in BOTH offices were added as members of this group

Step 2: Create 3 business hour rules.

Select the Apps tab, then Create New Apps. Select the Business Hour Rule icon, and then select Create a New Business Hour Rule. Chuck and the customer created 3 business hour rules (please note, the below times are Eastern Standard Time- you are free to choose a different time zone if you wish):

  • East Coast BHR- they made the “Open” times 9AM and the “Close” times 12PM for Monday through Friday
  • All BHR- “Open” times were 12PM and “Close” times were 5PM Monday through Friday
  • West Coast BHR- “Open” times were 5PM and “Close” times were 8PM Monday through Friday

For the open/closed call routing destinations, they set them as follows:

  • East Coast BHR- when open, calls would be sent to the East Coast Group, when closed, they would go to the All BHR
  • All BHR- when open, calls would be sent to the All Group, when closed, to the West Coast BHR
  • West Coast BHR- when open, calls would be sent to West Coast Group, when closed, to the After Hours attendant menu

With this structure in place, the company’s particular need was met. Depending on the time of the incoming call, the different BHRs would route the call to one of the 3 groups. The groups would ensure that all employees’ phones in each (or both) of the offices ring simultaneously. And when all BHRs were “closed”, the calls would failover to an attendant menu, so no calls were lost.

For further efficiency, failover locations for each of the 3 groups could be set to a general voice mailbox- if no one in the groups were able to answer the call, this would allow the caller to leave a message. And to drill down even further, you can set up the general voice mailbox so that messages are emailed to an address attached as a .WAV file! If you created an email address that went to a distribution group (say, allstaff@acme.com), any messages left on this voice mailbox would be emailed to all of the staff at your company.

VoIP has the ability to transform a company’s phone system into an active part of the team, offering new abilities that will enhance employees’ productivity. VoIP functionality is malleable, and can offer a great deal of flexibility to companies that employ it.