Service flags give companies flexible methods for handling callers who call after normal business hours. These options include:
- Night service, which redirects callers to the extension or phone number of the person covering the business during closed hours
- Voicemail, which allows the customer to leave a message and the company to respond as necessary
- A recording of important information (e.g., hours of operation, directions, contact information).
Service flags have a wide range of features:
|Automatic or manual||Service flags can be operated either automatically or manually. When service flags are used manually, users must press a button or dial the service flag account number to activate or deactivate it.||Automatic mode allows businesses with consistent closing hours to have the service flag activate on its own. Manual mode is useful for businesses with irregular closing times and for those who want to control it at a moment's notice.|
|Hunt group and agent group control||Several hunt groups can be used for different situations (normal operation, extra busy day, shorthanded staff day), and their activation can be controlled with manual service flags.||Quickly shift between plans to reallocate calls, services, and staff. Advanced planning allows you to prepare for the call load.|
|Controlled access to flags||Users can switch the service flag on and off.||Service flag control can be limited to managers at any on-site or remote location.|
|Auto attendant control||Auto attendants are used to answer incoming calls and direct them to other destinations. Service flags let you control the greeting that is used and where the calls are directed.||Use several auto attendants to reduce the risk of losing business. Create one for day, lunch, and night (or prepare one in advance for unexpected closures) and switch as needed. Turn them off/on from a remote location by phone or via the Internet.|
|Simultaneous multi-account activation||The same service flag can be used for multiple accounts (e.g., hunt group, agent group, and auto attendant). All accounts using the flag will switch on or off simultaneously.||Prepare several complete business communication scenarios, and switch to any one of them quickly.|
|Visual indication||When a service flag has been turned on or off, the system sends a message to selected phones. When the service flag has been activated, a designated LED on phones that are configured to receive this indication will light.||Viewing the service flag activity can be limited to managers at any on-site or remote location.|
|Cell phone control||Cell phones can be linked to service flags. If an extension has subscribed to a service flag, then any calls made to that extension will be sent to the user's cell phone when that service flag is on.||After-hours calls can be sent to a manager's cell phone automatically. By using multiple after-hours service flags, calls can be sent to the appropriate manager on different days of the week.|
Service flags have two modes: automatic and manual.
Creating a Service Flag
- Go to your selected domain in the Vodia PBX web interface.
- A pop up window would give you a chance to enter the details in the new GUI.
- Go to service flags by clicking on Service Flags under Accounts as shown above.
- On top, click the tab Create to create a new service flag.
- In the Account Name field, enter an extension number and/or alias, i.e., a DID number. When entering an alias in addition to an extension number, use the following syntax: 667/9781234567.
Note: If you use a space instead of a slash (667 9781234567), you will create two separate accounts that will be unrelated to each other.
- To create multiple accounts at the same time, use a space between the numbers: 667 668 669
- The service flag(s) will be created which you can see in the “service flag list” or in “all accounts list”, where you can enter each service flag just by clicking it, in order to modify it if you want, as explained below.
Configuring a Service Flag
Once you've created a service flag, use the following information to configure it.
- Go to your selected domain in the Vodia PBX web interface.
- Go to Service Flags.
- Click on any service flag from the list that you want to change.
- Here you can configure the settings. You can also go back to the list of Service Flags, if you want, by clicking on the List tab above.
Explanation and Use of Some of the Settings
Account Number(s): This field takes extension number(s) and/or DID number(s). The number of DIDs that can be entered into this field is unlimited.
- Mode: The service flag can be controlled either manually or automatically.
- Manual: Three methods are available for activating/deactivating a manual service flag: Dialing the service flag account number from the phone, configuring a service flag button, and using the Current State setting from the service flag account page.
- Automatic: This service flag is controlled automatically according to a set schedule. When creating your schedule, use the following guidelines (a sample schedule is shown below the table):
Topic Description Format You can use either of the following formats; however, both formats require start and end times (e.g., HH:MM-HH:MM):
- 24-hour format (e.g., 21:00 for 9:00 p.m.)
- English AM/PM style (e.g., 9:00P for 9:00 p.m.)
Multiple time segments To specify more than one time segment, use a space between the two segments:
- 9:00-12:00 1:00P-7:00P
Holidays To specify the days on which you do not want the schedule to be activated, such as a holiday or any other day, use the holiday field:
- To specify one day, use the MM/DD format (e.g., 11/24 for November 24).
- To specify two days, use the MM/DD format with a space between the days (e.g., 12/24 12/25 for December 24 and 25).
- You can also specify the year in the format MM/DD/YYYY (starting after version 56). This way you can specify the exact dates of upcoming holidays over the next years.
- You can also specify a range in the format MM/DD-MM/DD or MM/DD/YYYY-MM/DD/YYYY (starting after version 56). This makes it possible to easily specify date ranges, e.g. summer holidays.
Noon time To specify time during the noon hour (between 12:00 and 1:00 p.m.), you can use 12:00, 12:00P, or 12:00PM. All are treated as day time 12 o'clock. Midnight To specify midnight, use either 00:00 or 24:00, depending on the start and end times.
- To start a time period at midnight, use 00:00 (e.g., 00:00-08:00).
- To end the time at midnight, use 24:00 (16:00-24:00).
Important: The automatic service flag will be active according to the logic ("Specify time when flag is active / inactive" drop down option) that are set in the service flag. For example, if the service flag is set to 09:00A-5:00P, the status of the service flag will show Set for all times after 5:00 p.m. and before 9:00 a.m. If night service is being used, calls will be routed to the indicated extension.
- Inverted Logic: With this switch you can define if the times that you specify turn the flag on or they turn it off.
- Display Name: This setting allows you to enter a small description of the service flag to distinguish it from other service flags.
- Current State: This setting is reserved for the manual mode only. Choose Set to activate the service flag and Clear to deactivate it.
- Confirmation Tone: Choose the confirmation sound you would like to hear upon turning the service flag on or off.
- Beep tone: The system will play a short beep to indicate that the service flag has been set or cleared.
- Service active/inactive
- Extensions that may change status: Enter the extensions that are permitted to change the service flag. An asterisk indicates that all users are permitted to change the status.
- Permissions to monitor this account: This setting defines which extensions may monitor the status of this account, for example with a BLF button. By default, all extensions are allowed to see the status of an account. The setting is a list of extensions and wildcard patterns, seperated by space characters. If the list element contains a "np" (no pickup) flag after a colon seperator, then the monitoring will show only if the account is idle or busy. An example for this settings would be "41 42 5* 61:np 70*:np". The "np" flag was introduced in version 61.
- Timezone: The time zone for this service flag (since version 5.4.2). The default is to use the time zone of the domain.
- PIN code for changing state: Instead of listing the extensions that may change the state, a caller may change the state of the flag by entering a PIN code. This is useful when calling from outside where the PBX does not associate an extension with the caller.
Sync Google calendar to import holidays
This feature allows you to sync a google account with a service flag, so that it can sync the holidays into the "List of holidays" field (shown above) from your google calendar according to the calendar name you have set.
Before you can sync a service flag in a domain with your google account, you have to obtain the client id and client secret for that domain and enter it in the PBX domain settings. The process is explained in detail at https://doc.vodia.com/googlecontacts under the heading "Obtain Client ID and Client Secret".
- Exact name of the google calendar to sync: Here you can enter the exact name of the calendar in your google account that you want to sync and get holidays from. For example, "Holidays in United States". If you want to sync your custom calendar from your google account, just enter your email address, so that it syncs your calendar. In Google calendar, there is no option to set some day as a holiday, therefore the "All day" events created in your google calendar will be treated as holidays. Whenever you change this setting, save it first and then you have to sync your account again by simply pressing the "Get Auth Code" button below.
- Google account to sync for the calendar: Click the "Get Auth Code" button to authenticate and permit your google account from which you want to sync holidays. A new pop-up window will appear asking you to sign in with your google account. Then, it will ask your permission to sync calendar from it. Simply press "Allow" to give it permission and your account should be synced. Now any holiday change you make in your selected calendar will be synced (imported into the "List of holidays" field above) every 10 minutes.
- Calendar logout: Click "Logout" to disconnect from your google account and logout.
Calling a Service Flag
It is often easier to call the service flag instead of logging into the web interface and change the flag from there. Both in automatic and manual mode, the state of the service flag can be changed from the phone (since version 5.4.2). Using a PIN code for the service flag makes it easy to control who can change the service flag state, in addition to listing the extensions that are allowed to change the state without PIN code.
- In manual mode calling a service flag simply toggles the state. Depending on the state, the PBX plays a different confirmation tone. If a device has subscribed to the service flag state, it will change the LED color.
- In automatic mode things are a little bit more complicated. The PBX will offer a menu where the caller can set the beginning of the day, the end of the day and set the hold day as a holiday (or not). Those changes apply only for the current day; the next day the service flag will continue using the automatic settings from the web interface. When entering the start or the end of the day, the caller needs to enter the time in 24 hour format; it will change the start of the first segment or the end of the last segment. This is useful if there are lunch breaks that will remain unchanged.
Linking a Service Flag to an Account
Once you have created a service flag, it can be used to redirect callers to a night service number or to an account that will just play a message (e.g., a night message indicating that you are closed).
To redirect callers to a night service number, use the Service Flag settings from within the account (e.g., auto attendants, hunt groups, agent groups, and dial plans). In the example shown below, callers will be redirected to extension 501 during active service flag hours (external numbers are also permitted). Note: The same service flag can be used with multiple accounts at the same time.
You can use service flags to forward callers to multiple destinations depending on the time of day (i.e., different destinations for different shifts):
To redirect callers to a night message, use the IVR link from the auto attendant account. From this link, you can provide callers with a single message or multiple messages. Create the necessary service flags, then record the required greetings for each of the service flags using the *98 star code. The audio files are listed under Current File: