Setup incoming call handling

The Services Tab

Almost all of the settings that control how calls are handled, and how your phones and extensions behave, are under the Services tab. The rest of this article will be focused there.

How Incoming Calls are Handled

When you click on the Services tab, you’ll be taken to the list of phone numbers on your account. If you’re in a different section of Services, you can return to this list by clicking Phone Numbers on the left.

Click any number to set:

  • Caller ID (CNAM): The Caller ID Name associated with the number
  • If Holiday: Where to send calls to this number during holidays (explained later in this article). This can be blank (left set to “– Select –“).
  • Route To: Where to send calls to this number when it’s not a holiday.

The Route To setting is the most important part, as it defines what the first step in handling an incoming call will be.

Call Destinations

You can choose from the following options for where to send calls. These are the most commonly used options:

  • Caller ID Routing: Choose different destinations based on who is calling
  • Extension: Directly ring an extension
  • Phone: Ring a phone, ignoring the extension settings. You should not use this option unless you have a specific need – use Extension instead.
  • Mailbox: Callers are sent directly to a specific voicemail mailbox
  • Auto Attendant: Play a recording to callers, and allow them to choose from various options, e.g. Press 1 for Sales, Press 2 for Support. (Some systems call this an IVR.)
  • Time Frame: Choose different destinations for the caller based on time of day. Useful for setting different rules for after-hours calls.
  • Group: A Ring Group contains multiple Extensions which can ring all at once, or sequentially.
  • Conference Hub: The caller can enter a Conference Room number and password to join a conference call, if you have set one up.
  • Queue: If you have enabled the Call Center premium option, this option will send callers to a Queue you have set up.

There are also destinations which can be chosen directly in a Phone Number, but often make more sense as part of an Auto Attendant:

  • Company Directory: Callers can enter the first three letters of a person’s name using their phone, and be sent to that person’s extension.
  • Check Voicemail: Allows your users to check their voicemail remotely by entering their mailbox number and password.
  • Outside Number: Forwards the caller directly to another phone number.

Chaining Destinations

Many of these options have their own Route To settings just like your phone numbers do. For example, an Auto Attendant has one for each digit the caller can dial, as well as a “timeout” setting in case the caller doesn’t press anything at all. Each digit, as well as the timeout, can be set to any of the above options.

Likewise, a Time Frame has one setting for “During Hours” and a second for “After Hours.” And a Ring Group has a destination for calls if nobody in the group picks up.

An Example

To illustrate, consider a small office with a receptionist, a sales department, and a support department. The office is open from 9am until 5pm on weekdays, but support is available until 8pm. On weekends and holidays, nobody is available.

This office would create the following Auto Attendants:

  • All Departments Closed: A message that says we are closed, with an option to leave a voicemail.
  • Office Closed, Support Open: A message that says support is available but the office is closed,with options to be transferred to Support, or to leave a message for Sales or the general mailbox.
  • All Departments Open: A message that asks the caller if they would like to speak with sales, support, or the receptionist.

And the following Time Frames:

  • Office and Support Hours: 9am – 5pm weekdays
    • During Hours: Auto Attendant – All Departments Open
    • After Hours: Time Frame – Support Only Hours
  • Support Only Hours: 9am – 8pm weekdays
    • During Hours: Auto Attendant – Office Closed, Support Open
    • After Hours: Auto Attendant – All Departments Closed

And route calls as follows:

  • If Holiday: Auto Attendant – All Departments Closed
  • Route To: Time Frame – Office and Support Hours

With this setup, on holidays callers will get the “Closed” message. On regular days, Office And Support Hours will take callers to a recording that lets them choose who to talk to. After regular office hours, the Support Only Hours timeframe gives callers the option to reach Support if they want. And after Support hours are over, callers reach the Closed message.

The options to speak to Sales or Support would likely be filled in with Ring Groups or, if you’ve enabled the premium feature on your account, a Call Center Queue.