AT&T Office@Hand

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Overview of Custom Answering Rules in AT&T Office@Hand
Article #71194

This article provides general information about the custom answering rules feature in the AT&T Office@Hand online account.

Custom answering rules, also known as advanced rules or custom call handling rules, is a feature that performs a specific call handling action based on the defined conditions set by the administrator or user. These actions are separate from the standard call handling settings configured in the extension.

Since the custom call handling action is only performed when the conditions are met, this saves administrators and/or users the time and effort of re-configuring their entire standard call handling settings just to meet these specific conditions which may be encountered only a few times. Below are some examples of practical scenarios when to use custom answering rules:

  • An employee is on their scheduled lunch; calls need to be forwarded to their voicemail until they get back
  • An employee will be on vacation; calls need to be forwarded to another employee in the interim
  • Company is closed for the holiday; a message needs to be played for all incoming calls stating that offices are closed and will resume after the holiday ends
  • Company has multiple phone numbers; each number needs to route to a different department
  • Company has a specific phone number for taking orders; calls to the number needs to route to an extension where customers state their order and contact details for someone to call them back for confirmation
  • Company runs different businesses under different phone numbers in the same account; account administrator wants to separate the calls and route them to different people depending on the phone number called

There are three steps involved when creating a custom rule: naming the rule > defining the call conditions > defining the call handling action. While naming the rule is a straightforward process, more steps are involved when it comes to defining the call conditions and call handling actions. The option to set up and configure custom answering rules is available in different sections in the AT&T Office@Hand online account. For more information, see Where Can I Set up Custom Answering Rules?


Custom answering rules offer the following features:

  • User-defined rule names for easy identification of its purpose/use
  • Multiple conditions and call handling methods available
  • Does not interfere with the existing extension or company call handling settings
  • Can be checked for validity and possible conflicts with other existing rules
  • Supported by different extension types

Call Conditions

Custom answering rules are triggered when the configured incoming call conditions are met. It is possible to define more than one condition in a single custom answering rule. The following are the call conditions available:

  • Caller ID – rule is based on the specific phone number of the caller
  • Called Number – rule is based on the phone number dialed by the caller
  • Date & Time – rule is based on the time and day of the week, or a specifically defined date and time range when the call is made

Call Handling Actions

Once you have defined the conditions for the custom answering rule, the next step is to define how the call will be handled when the conditions are met. The following are the standard call handling methods available:

  • Forward Calls – Calls are forwarded to your preferred devices or external phone numbers. In addition, there are available options to define greetings and voicemail configuration similar to configuring your extension
  • Take Messages Only – Callers are sent to voicemail directly. Options are available to configure voicemail settings
  • Play Announcement Only – Plays a pre-recorded message and immediately ends the call afterward
  • Unconditional Forwarding – Calls are directly forwarded to a different phone number while skipping all other settings. This option is commonly used to forward calls to third-party numbers

NOTE: Depending on the type of extension where the custom answering rule is set up, additional call handling options unique to that extension type may be available.

Get Started

Now that you have an idea of what custom answering rules are and their contextual purpose, you can now start to set them up in AT&T Office@Hand online account. Click the links below to get started:

  • Configuring custom answering rules for your company number
  • Configuring your custom answering rules
  • Set up Call Queue Custom Answering Rules

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