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What Are Business Hour Rules? Send Calls to Different Destinations Based on Your Open/Closed Hours

by Joe DeBari

Business Hour Rules are a handy VoIP phone system feature that uses your hours of operation to automatically route calls to pre-selected locations.

A hosted VoIP phone system gives you the controls to your business’s phone system; you won’t have to get a service representative to configure each feature for you. Not only can you set up essential features like voice mailboxes and ACD queues, but you can also set calling rules that determine how and where to send your business’s inbound calls. An example of this type of phone system feature is Business Hour Rules (BHRs).

Yes, We’re Open! Use Open and Closed Hours to Direct Calls

BHRs are a commonplace and effective calling feature that let you control how your organization’s incoming calls are handled. With this feature, you can route incoming phone calls to different destinations in your phone system based on the time of day and day of week.

How to Set Up Open & Closed Business Hours

When you set up BHRs in your VoIP service’s web admin portal, you choose the open and closed hours of your business for each day of the week as well as the time zone of where your business is located. Typically, you would just use your business's regular open/closed hours for each day so that these rules mirror your company’s daily operating schedule (but you don’t have to—it depends on how you want to use your BHRs). So if your business is open on Monday from 8 am to 6 pm, you would select the “Open Time” for Monday to be 8 am and the “Close Time” to be 6 pm.

You can set different open/closed hours for each day of the week, if you wish. Say your business is open Monday through Thursday from 8 am to 6 pm, Friday from 9 am to 3 pm, and Saturday from 9 am to 12 pm: You would simply select those specific open/closed times for each day in your BHR. If your business is closed on a particular weekday, you’d select the closed option for that day.

How to Set Up Your Call Destinations

The last bit of information to set in your BHRs are the destinations of where to send your inbound calls. You have to choose two different call destinations—one for your open hours and another for your closed hours.

For example, you can set the destination of calls that arrive during your open hours to be your main auto attendant menu (you may have also heard the term “virtual receptionist”—it’s another word for an auto attendant). Continuing the above example: When calls arrive on Monday between the hours of 8 am and 6 pm, they will be sent to your auto attendant menu. The caller will be greeted by your automated recording and be able to choose the most appropriate menu prompt for their needs.

And for the call destination during your closed hours, you can select your general voice mailbox. When calls come into your business before 8 am on Monday or after 6 pm (your BHRs closed hours on Monday), they will be immediately sent to that voice mailbox so the caller can leave a message.

Your call destinations can be as distinct as your own business's needs. You can set your open hours call destination to be a receptionist (so that inbound calls during your open hours will ring your receptionist’s phone directly), a call queue, or even an external phone number (if you needed to send work calls to your smartphone number, for instance).

And your closed hours call destination can be an external number (if you have an after-hours call answering service) or even a second auto attendant menu, one announcing that your business is closed and providing the caller with a separate set of menu prompts.

OnSIP’s BHRs Let Your Phone System Flex With Your Daily Operating Schedule

With an OnSIP account, you create your Business Hour Rules in the Administrators tab of the web app. If you have a main company phone number, just remember to set your BHR as the destination for that particular phone number. That way, when calls come into your main number, your BHR will route them to the appropriate destination, whether it’s an auto attendant, a specific user, a queue or ring group, etc.

Once your BHR is created, you can modify it in real-time, at any time. You can change the time zone, the open and closed hours, and the call destinations whenever you need to, and the modifications will take effect instantly.

Call destinations for your BHRs can be almost anything in your OnSIP account: Users, groups, Enhanced Queues, voice mailboxes, external phone numbers, auto attendants, announcements...the options go on and on. You can make your BHRs fit your company’s unique requirements.

Business Hour Rules are just one of the many features that make OnSIP, and other hosted VoIP systems, a flexible solution for business calling needs. To see all of the other features, apps, and integrations that are available to you with an OnSIP account, check out our UCaaS and business VoIP Features Guide.

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