How to Update Your Availability via SMS (Text Message)

When considering call answering services, having a friendly, live Smith.ai receptionist to greet your customers and connect them with you is hard to beat. At Smith.ai, we want to optimize your workflow. To do that effectively, we need to be aware of your availability to take calls and interact with your clients. Whether you are on vacation or on the job, if you are unable to take calls, your virtual receptionist service can handle calls however you want.

Different modes for different needs

Maybe you typically prefer that your receptionists try live transferring all calls, but you know that you will be unavailable for a time to receive customer contact — we do not want to inconvenience you by attempting a transfer. Maybe it is just the opposite: you are expecting a particular call, or you just feel like answering your calls directly — our virtual receptionists can step aside. Whether you are indefinitely unavailable or just feel like fielding your own calls, no sweat. Just send Smith.ai a text message and give us a status update. We will handle your incoming calls accordingly.

We make it easy

While companies like CallRuby make their customers download an app to their phone, and others require you to update via a website, Smith.ai wanted to design a solution that would live where we know our pros are already looking — in the easiest place possible: text messages. Status updates via SMS require no new apps, no confusing, tedious web interfaces that require yet another login, and there is nothing new to wrestle with. Just shoot us a short text message; our virtual receptionists will take care of the rest.

How to update and check your Smith.ai status via SMS

There are five commands you can send Smith.ai to update or check your current status:

away

Do Not Disturb, and not available for live transfer

voicemail

All calls go to Smith.ai VM, bypass your Smith.ai receptionists

redirect

All calls go directly to you, bypassing your Smith.ai receptionists

normal

No away, no redirect -- Your usual receptionist service

status

Your current status (Away, Voicemail, Redirect, Normal), plus your stats, such as:

  • Number of calls taken this month
  • Spam/Sales/Wrong # calls this month

(Test it out! Try texting the word “status” (no quotes) to your Smith.ai number right now.)

It’s all in the timing

The away, voicemail, and redirect commands all have an optional time function associated with them. Seconds, minutes, hours, and days are the units of time Smith.ai recognizes. For example, if you wanted all of your calls to go directly to voicemail for 45 minutes, you would simply text “voicemail 45m” to your Smith.ai number. Alternatively, you could text “away 1h”, and for the following hour and a half, our virtual receptionists will know you are not available for live transfer.

Here are some examples:

"away 2h"

Do not disturb, and you are not available for live transfer, for two hours.

"voicemail 4d"

All calls go to your Smith.ai voicemail and bypass your Smith.ai receptionists for four days.

"redirect 30m"

For the next 30 minutes, all calls go directly to you.

What happens when time runs out?

After the indicated time frame has expired, your status will return to normal, and you’ll get a text letting you know service has resumed. This way, you do not have to remember to set it back.

You can still use the commands without a time modifier — just remember to set your status back to normal when you want your receptionist to process calls per your usual protocol.

You should try texting the word “status” (no quotes) to your Smith.ai number right now.

Use Case 1: Going on vacation

One of our Smith.ai clients recently went on vacation, and during that time she wanted to stop her virtual receptionist service. With Smith.ai’s new SMS status update feature, all she would have to do is send us a text message with the word “away.” This would prevent her from getting any phone interruptions. Maybe she still wants to keep tabs on her calls, but not talk to clients directly — that is okay, too! She would just send Smith.ai a text message with the word “voicemail,” and all of her calls would be rerouted to Smith.ai voicemail, bypassing her Smith.ai receptionist entirely until her status returns to normal. If your status is set to voicemail, one of our professional receptionists can transcribe the voicemail and send it to you via SMS, or you can receive a digital file and listen yourself, or both!

Now you may be wondering, what happens when I return from vacation? How will they know I am back? Easy. You have a couple of options here. You can use a time modifier with your away status (e.g., “away 2d”), and after two days your status will return to normal. Otherwise, just send us the command “normal” when you return, and, well, everything goes back to normal!

Use Case 2: Temporarily unavailable

A second Smith.ai client inquired as to how he could easily let us know when he was unavailable for live transfers. Usually he asks that all calls are live transferred directly to him. But sometimes when he’s on-site, he’d like to avoid the incoming calls.

With the new SMS feature, it could not be any easier! Just let us know when you are unavailable by texting us “away." When you are back and can receive calls, just send us another text with the command, “normal.” This will let your virtual receptionists know that you would like to resume receiving calls per your established, everyday protocol. (Remember, if you used a time modifier with your status update, Smith.ai will automatically set your status to normal once the specified time has expired.)

Use Case 3: Skip the receptionist

Have you ever played phone tag, or maybe just had to call someone back several times to exchange information adequately? It can be difficult enough just getting two people on the phone together; sometimes it is just easier to skip the middleman (or woman). If you would like your calls to go directly to you, without being routed through our great virtual receptionists, just text us the command “redirect.” If you choose to forgo setting a time frame for the redirect, just remember this: When you would like your Smith.ai receptionist to begin answering calls again, just text us with the command “normal.” We will be delighted to resume taking your calls and helping your business succeed.


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