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"Who's On Call This Weekend?" Create An Internal Help Hotline

by Nicole Hayward

Does your business have someone on call after hours and on the weekend? Create an internal help hotline with OnSIP!

Tips for On-Call Systems Administrators, Engineers, and Other Staff

Does your business have someone "on call" after hours and on the weekend? Many businesses do thanks to our heavy dependence on technology and the expanding American work week — 47 hours and growing. Your on-call staff could include: a systems administrator, engineer, client services manager, consultant, or even your business owner. 

Whoever your escalation point(s) may be, how does your team remember their cell phone numbers in the event of an emergency? If being on call is a rotational or shared responsibility, this can get even trickier.

OnSIP can assist. With OnSIP, you can add external phone numbers as resources to create and customize your own internal "help hotline" with routing rules. Here's how: 

Add External Numbers to Your OnSIP Account

For each person who is potentially on call, add their cell phone numbers to your OnSIP account. You can do this by creating an External Phone Number in the Admin Portal. See this Knowledgebase article for a step-by-step guide.

OnSIP Admin Portal External Phone Number
Add an External Phone Number in the OnSIP Admin Portal

Turn an On-Call Cell Phone Number into an Extension 

If you have just one or two people who are typically on call, you might simply assign their external phone numbers an extension. Then you can communicate to your team, for example, "Our System Admin Off-Hours Extension is 9001." To do this:

  1. Login to the Admin Portal.
  2. Click Resources and find your phone number resource
  3. Click to modify the extensions and phone numbers. Assign an extension and save.
OnSIP External Number Resource - Assign Extension
Assign an Extension to an External Phone Number

All your team will need to remember going forward is, if I see an issue over the weekend, I can dial 9001 from my OnSIP phone, or I can dial our main number and press 9001.

Create an On-Call Hotline

If you have more than two people on call, and/or you rotate the responsibility, you can customize a sophisticated help hotline that rings cell phone numbers. Here are a few ideas:

  • If you have the same 1-3 people on call every day, create an "On-Call" Hunt Group with Simultaneous Ring strategy. Add the external numbers to the group, and then direct your hotline extension and/or phone number to the group. There are some limitations with this approach, however: Only 3 external phone numbers can be added to a group. And, if someone's cell phone rolls over to voicemail, this is considered a pickup and the ringing in the group will stop.
  • If you rotate your people or departments on call daily, create a help hotline extension or phone number that leads to chained business hour rules. OnSIP Business Hour Rules (BHR) are simple logic: If open, route to X destination. If closed, route to Y destination. By chaining business hour rules, you can create, for example:
    • Monday BHR: If Open, Route to Jane. If closed, route to Tuesday BHR.
    • Tuesday BHR: If Open, Route to John. If closed, route to Wednesday BHR
    • and so on...
  • If you rotate your people or departments on call weekly, monthly, randomly, or using escalation rules specific to your company, you might consider creating your help hotline with Attendant Menu options that fit your needs. Here are two examples:
    • Client-Based: "This is the Acme Consulting Internal Hotline, for Acme Consulting employees only. If this is an issue affecting Client A, press 1. If this is an issue affecting Client B, press 2." 
    • Escalation Order: "This is the Acme Software Internal Hotline, for Acme Software employees only. If you're seeing a network issue, start with Bob. Press 1 to reach Bob. If you've already tried him, press 2 to reach Alice. Press 3 for David...." 

There are many possibilities! If you need help creating your own "on-call" hotline, contact our Customer Success Team. 

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