How to Manage the Main Line
The Keyword is Customization.
Your Main Line settings will be different from every other company.
Consider that this is generic training that may vary from your specific settings. We’ll go over possible options and popular settings here. Many features and settings can be changed on the ClearStar Administrator Portal. You want to be cautious because changes you make are permanent and there is no “undo” button. When in
doubt, call 611 for support.
Time Schedules and Holiday Schedules
At the start of exploring Time & Holiday Schedules, call 611 for training and/or support. You can make unexpected changes that may impact the call routing without knowing it. Time Schedules are used to Route calls to Business Hours or After Hours settings. They can also be used to have calls ring to a person during business hours and forward directly to an Auto Attendant at night and on weekends.
There are two themes for Time Schedules:
1. Open or Business Hours, and
2. Closed or After Hours.
In most cases, the Business Hours schedule will be used with an Auto Attendant and the After Hours schedule will be used with a Hunt Group.
Also, you can build a schedule in an Enterprise, in a group or on a single user. We recommend schedules be built in the Enterprise.
- An Enterprise schedule is available to all groups and users.
- A group schedule is available only to that group (and all its users inside that group).
- A user schedule is only available to the single user.
Let’s look at Enterprise schedules.
- At the Enterprise>>Profile click Schedules.
- To edit an existing schedule, you must be in the top level of that schedule (enterprise, group or user). To edit, click the schedule.
For this example, let’s assume Business Hours are Monday-Friday 8:00 am-5:00 pm.
- The Business Hours Schedule typically has only one Event: Weekdays.
- Add weekend days as needed.
- Add weekdays separately when the schedule are different.
For this example, After Hours are Monday-Thursday 5:00 pm-8:00 am and weekends starting Friday at 5:00 pm and ending Monday morning at 8:00 am.
After Hours schedules are edited the same way as Business Hours, but can be confusing. You’ll have multiple Events: Weeknights and Weekends.
1. Add Time Schedule After Hours.
2. Add a new Event (inside the After Hours Schedule) called Weeknights.
- Start on Monday at 5:00 pm and end the next day at 8:00 am.
- Recurs Weekly.
- Select Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday only.
- Ends Never.
3. Add a new Event (inside the After Hours Schedule) called Weekends.
- Start date is a Friday.
- Start time is 5:00 pm.
- End date is the following Monday.
- End time is 8:00 am.
- Set Recurs to Weekly.
- Select only Friday.
- Ends Never.
If you have many schedules, Business Hours may not be descriptive enough. You could use Schedule names and Event names like:
- 5p-5a M-Th (After Hours Schedule)
- 5a-8a M-F (Business Hours Event)
- 10a-1p Sat (Business Hours Event)
- You can use any name that makes sense to you and your team.
Usually you can make just one Holiday Schedule and just keep adding new dates to it. You can add them annually or one off. Perhaps you are always closed on January 1 and July 4 so those can be put in to repeat annually automatically. Whereas some years you’ll be closed the day before or after a holiday, so those can just be built one by one and will not repeat. Holiday schedules can be used with both Auto Attendants and Hunt Groups.
Start at the Enterprise. These schedules can be used in any of the groups. At the Enterprise>>Profile click>>Schedules.
- Be sure to edit an existing Holiday Schedule.
- Do not make new Holiday Schedules.
- Make new Events in the existing Holiday Schedule.
- Click the Holiday schedule.
- Click Add to add an additional holiday.
- Set it up to occur one-time on a particular date, or to repeat annually.
- Thanksgiving and Christmas repeat, but Good Friday for instance changes annually.
Repeating Holiday Schedules
These are the conventions for American Holidays that Impulse uses
- New Year’s Day-Always January 1
- MLK Jr. Day-Third Monday in January
- President’s Day-Third Monday in February
- Memorial Day-Last Monday in May
- Independence Day-Always July 4
- Labor Day-First Monday in September
- Columbus Day-Second Monday in October
- Thanksgiving- Fourth Thursday in November
- Christmas Day-Always December 25
- New Year’s Eve-Always December 31
Non-Repeating Holiday Schedules
These holiday do not follow a repeating pattern that can be automated. You’ll need to build each of these every year. You can build them five years in advance or even more. You could also build them a few days or hours before.
- Closing early the day before a holiday. Companies decide this often at the time of closing. You maybe able to use Hunt Group Busy.
- Easter Sunday, Easter Monday, Ash Wednesday, Good Friday.
- Floating Independence Day holiday-Since the day of the week changes, companies decide year by year to close the day before or after.
- Day After Thanksgiving-if always closed, include in Thanksgiving as a 2-day event.
- Chanukah (Hanukka)
- Floating Christmas holiday-Since the day of the week changes, companies decide year-by-year to close the day(s) before or after.
Many companies utilize an Auto Attendant (AA). It is also known as a virtual user. It will answer incoming calls with a greeting like, “Thank you for calling Company ABC. If you know your party’s extension, you may dial it at any time. For Sales press 1…”
There are a few components for an AA. You should make sure you fully understand the changes you want to make before you make them. If you have questions, call Customer Support by dialing 611.
- Write or update a script. For example, “For Sales press one, for Support press two.” You may have received a starter script from Impulse when you started your services.
- Update the routing in the tree. Be sure it matches the script, i.e. 1>>sales 2>>support. These could be a single person’s extension, a ring or Hunt Group extension, a mobile phone number, an answering service phone number, or voicemail box. Record the greeting. The instructions are in your Welcome Binder from Impulse.
- Be sure you are using any necessary time schedules. To navigate to Enterprise>> Groups>> CompanyABC-01 (AA is almost always in your group 1) >>Options: Services>>Auto Attendant. Click the AA you want to view or edit.
NOTE: Never uncheck the Active Box. If you do, the AA will simply be busy. Click on Profile. This is the main page and AA is basically a greeting, a routing tree and a time schedule.
The AA should already be set up when you log in. You may need to make changes as your needs change.
- Start with the existing script.
- Write out all the changes.
- Consider including in your script office hours, address, email, website, or fax number.
- Consider whether you need different routing or options at night. Most companies can use the identical routing day and night.
- If you want one greeting/routing tree for open hours and one for closed hours, you’ll use both the Business Hours Menu and the After Hours Menu.
- You can use a third menu for Holidays as needed.
- You may choose to have layers, but it should be kept to a minimum. (For English Press 1, For Spanish, press 2.)
Thank you for calling ABC.
If you know your party’s extension you may dial it at any time.
For support press 1
For sales press 2
For billing press 3
For a dial by name directory please press 4
For the receptionist, press 0
To repeat this menu press the star key
Implementing The AA
You need an audio recording of the script (called a greeting) and a matching routing tree. The best way to record the greeting is by calling into the voice portal from a phone from Impulse. See your Welcome Binder for detailed instructions. The routing tree will be a translation from a single digit option to the actual extension or
- For example, 0 goes to user extension 100.
- 1 goes to hunt group extension 200 and so on.
NOTE: Inside the ClearStar Portal>>Auto Attendant, you need to have one and only one option to be Transfer to Operator. This allows people who don’t make a selection to get transferred. If you have more than one option or no option set this way, people who do not make a selection get disconnected.
Menu vs. Schedule
There are three primary menus: Business Hours menu, After Hours menu, and Holiday menu. The Menu contains the routing options and greeting. The Menu refers to a schedule. The schedule determines which Menu is used based on the current time.
The Business Hours Menu is located here Admin ClearStar Portal>>Group>>Services>>Auto Attendant>>Choose an AA>>Menus>>Business Hours Menu.
The Time schedule used in the AA are located here: Admin ClearStar Portal>>Group>>Services>>Auto Attendant>>Choose an AA>>Menus>>After Hours Menu. Under Business Hours choose the Business Hours (not the After Hours.) If you are not using an After Hours greeting/routing, this menu will have the Business Hours set to Every Day All Day. This is the most common setting used.
The Holiday schedule used in the AA are located here: Admin ClearStar Portal>>Group>>Services>>Auto Attendant>>Choose an AA>>Menus>>Holiday Menu. Under Holiday Schedule choose the Holiday Schedule. If you are not using a Holiday greeting/routing, this menu will have the Holiday Schedule set to None. This is the most common setting used.
In general, Business Hours & Holiday schedules can be utilized on the Auto Attendant.
In gneral, the After Hours schedule is not utilized on an AA.
During Business Hours Greeting. Anything outside those days/times, the After Hours greeting will play. If you utilize a Holiday schedule, during the Holiday the Holiday greeting plays. See Time Schedules for more info.
Hunt Groups (HGs) are sometimes called Ring Groups. There are used for two main reasons to use HGs:
1. Simple Call Distribution
Simple Call Distribution will allow several people to answer calls into a single published number or AA Option. Sales is an excellent example of a group of
individuals who share similar tasks and knowledge.
2. Call Routing
Call Routing will send calls to another number, AA or voicemail box. For example, you could send calls for your main line to a receptionist during business hours and to an AA or voicemail after hours.
Hunt groups will be set up by Impulse for you. You may want to make some changes including the number of rings at each extension, specific extension included or excluded, and a voicemail destination. We’ll outline settings and recommendations. Located here: Admin ClearStar Portal >>Enterprise>> Group 01>>Options:Services>>Hunt Group. Click the one you want to view or edit.
NOTE: Never uncheck the Active Box. If you do, the HG will simply ring busy.
Click on Profile. This is the main page.
Hunt Group Profile
Located here: Admin ClearStar Portal >>Enterprise>> Group 01>>Options:Services>>Hunt Group. Click the one you want to view or edit. Click Profile.
- The Name is used in searching on the Web Portal.
- The Calling Line ID Last Name and Calling Line ID First Name is what shows on the ClearStar phone for an incoming call from the HG.
- If the name is too long it will take up too much space and the incoming caller ID of the caller will not be shown.
- Allow Call Waiting on agents will allow for HG calls to come in even when a user is already on a call. If you have lots of agents and only a few calls, do not use this feature.
- Hunt Group Busy allows end users to Turn on Night Mode for meetings or closing early. It enables the Busy and calls get forwarded to the Call Forward Busy destination. To enable this, check Allow members to control Group Busy. Do not check Enable Group Busy.
Group Policy is the ringing option for incoming calls to agents in the hunt group:
- Circular – Incoming calls hunt through agents in the order they appear in the list, starting with the agent following the last agent to receive a call. When the search
reaches the end of the list, it loops back to the top and continues until it has tried all agents.
- Regular – Incoming calls hunt through agents in the order they appear in the list, starting from the top each time.
- Simultaneous – Incoming calls alert all agents at the same time. The first agent to answer handles the call.
- Uniform – Incoming calls hunt through all agents in order, starting with the agent who has been idle the longest and ending with the agent who most recently answered a call.
- Weighted Call Distribution – Incoming calls are assigned to idle agents based on percentages you assign on the hunt group’s Profile – Weighted Call Distribution page.
- Skip to Next Agent and Forward call after waiting __seconds can be used together or separately.
If you use Simultaneous Group Policy, you may want calls to ring on all phones for 20 seconds and then go to voicemail.
- That would look like this: X Forward call after waiting 20 seconds.
- Calls Forward to *55100 (voicemail box of extension 100)
If you use any other ringing option (Not Simultaneous) and you have three or fewer agents, you may want it to ring twice for each agent then go to voicemail.
- That would look like this: X Skip to next agent after 2 rings.
- Calls Forward to *55100 (voicemail box of extension 100)
If you have many agents and are not using Simultaneous, you wouldn’t want to have ringing go on indefinitely. People won’t want to hear just ringing for more than 15 or
18 seconds. You’ll set ring each agent twice, with a maximum timer that forwards calls to voicemail.
- That would look like this:
- X Skip to next agent after 2 rings.
- X Forward call after waiting 20 seconds.
- Call Forward to *55100 (voicemail box of extension 100)
NOTE: If you need to do a call forward always, simply enter Forward call after waiting 0 seconds and enter a destination at Call Forward to.
Assigning users is easy. Search for Available Users by entering a group number, or first or last name then click Search. Or Click Search to view all users. Click a name to highlight, and Click Add to move them from the left column Available Users, to the right column for Assigned Users. You can also remove users, and reorder users with Move Up and Move Down.
There may or may not be features in Hunt Group Options>>Incoming Calls. If Incoming Calls is missing, then none of the below features have been assigned for this Hunt Group.
Call Forward Busy is used in the event all agents are on the phone and you are not using Call Waiting. Or if all agents are in Do Not Disturb (DND) or Hunt Group Busy is enabled, Call Forward Busy will engage. If CFB is not enabled, callers then may get a busy signal.
Alternate Numbers is used when you have multiple numbers for the same hunt group, like a toll free number, or multiple area codes for customer convenience.
Call Forward Selective allows Call Forwarding of certain numbers, during certain times, etc.
- If you are using the HG for call distribution you might want calls to go to voicemail at night.
- If you are using the HG for call routing, you may want to send calls to the receptionist by day and the AA by night.
- To enable CFS, add a destination number, then click apply. Click Add. Name the forwarding something that makes sense. Examples are “Meeting to AA”, “Night CF to AA”, “Holiday CF to AA”, and so on.
- Choose a time schedule and choose any additional settings as needed.
- Click OK to save that.
- Now you can turn the feature on.
- You can add several schedules and call forward destinations as needed.
- Sometimes a company has an all-hands meeting.
- During the meeting you turn on the forwarding by checking the box in front of the “Meeting to AA” and clicking Apply. When the meeting is over, Uncheck the box and Click Apply.
- See Time Schedules for more info.
Hunt Group Busy
Can also be enabled with Features Access Codes (FAC)
- Hunt Group Busy Activation #51.
- Hunt Group Busy Deactivation #52.
- Hunt Group Busy Interrogation #53.
General Voicemail Box
A general voicemail box might be used for messages that come in during high call volume or when the company is closed. Sometimes a person shares a voicemail box with the General Voicemail. In this case the greeting should be generic enough to work for both.
A sample general voicemail greeting is
“You’ve reached the general voicemail box for Company ABC. Please leave a message and we will return your call during business hours. To try the receptionist again, press 0. Thank you.”
For recording instructions, review your Welcome Binder.