Omnichannel & Operating Hours

I’ve recently been spending time looking at, and talking about, how we can handle company hours within Omnichannel. This has covered both how to use them within chat (Handling Company Hours) as well as being able to change the chat widget functionality (Handling ‘Out of Hours’).

Imaging my surprise therefore when someone asked me ‘how do we go setting them up properly?’. When I originally looked at how to use them within chat, I used the Quick Create functionality. I had meant to come back to looking at it in more detail, but that somehow fell by the wayside. So, I’m now going to make up for it!

As a quick recap – Operating Hours are what we set to show when the company is ‘open’ (or for our purposes, active). This doesn’t need to reflect the actual store hours that might exist – customer support could well start before/end after the normal store times. It’s also the case that we usually can’t just set blanket times – we’ll need to handle holidays, seasonal occasions, etc. This is where Operating Hours really comes into its own.

So to start off, it’s simple to enter operating hours. Really simple. We go to the navigation area, select, it, and click ‘New’:

We’ll create a new record, and click Save:

Once we do that, the magic starts to happen – we get to see the ‘Working Hours’ tab. Clicking on it will give us the following screen (which I can only describe as absolutely amazing!):

I don’t know about you, but I’m loving being able to see the hours for each day in a calendar-style view. It’s so much easier than needing to scroll down a list of records, trying to find a specific date. It’s also much simpler for the eye to follow/see.

At the top, we can navigate between dates, change the view to switch between a specific day, week or month, and enter new information:

There are two options for inputting new settings here:

  • Working Hours
  • Holiday

For working hours, we can input the times, whether it repeats or not, and whether it’s a full day event or not:

We can also edit an existing Working Hours entry simply by clicking on it to change it. When we do this, we get the option as to whether to modify the single item that we’ve selected, or the entire series:

It’s important to note that we’re not limited to entering just a single range per day. We can enter multiple records for a single date, or a date range, to fit what we’re actually trying to do.

For Holidays, we don’t need as many options. We assume that by setting holiday, the company is closed. We’re therefore prompted just for a date (range) to then set this:

So what we then do is build up our calendar. This will result in (hopefully!) a full overview of our company, that we can then use.

What’s important to remember is that we could have different dimensions to our company though. We may allow Sales to be open 20 hours, but Customer Service to be open only for 12 hours.

We’d therefore create multiple Operating Hour entries for each requirement, and point each channel towards to the applicable record. If we only have a single scenario that we need to handle, we can point multiple channels towards the same operating hours record – that’s not a problem at all.

So with this, we can really tweak operating hours as we need to, for each possible usage. It’s really powerful, so easy to set up, and gives us full control over things.

Have you ever struggled with something like this? How did you overcome it? Drop a comment below – I’d love to hear!

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