988 National Suicide Prevention Hotline coming July 16, 2022
This functionality is in production as of July 16, 2022. The content below is informational.
OfficeSuite UC to enforce 10-digit dialing everywhere
The Federal Communication Commission (FCC) adopted 988 as a new three-digit short code number to be used nationwide to connect callers to the National Suicide Prevention and Mental Crisis Hotline, starting July 16, 2022.
For 988 to work with OfficeSuite UC, 10-digit dialing will be implemented for all customers as of July 15, 2022.
To complete all external calls you will need to dial the full 10-digit number (area code and number). This applies to all calls, e.g. local calls, you may otherwise have previously dialed as 7 digits.
Dial 9-1-<10 digits> beginning July 15, 2022. If your business uses 8 as the escape digit to obtain an outside line with OfficeSuite, then dial 8-1-<10 digits>.
Windstream began notifying customers of this pending change beginning in April 2021 via bill notices in your invoice. You also may have noticed since October 2021 that some services began enforcing 10-digit calling already. As of July 15, 2022, all external calls must be dialed as 10 digits.
For OfficeSuite customers this means two things:
1. Starting Saturday July 16, 2022, all OfficeSuite users may dial 988 (no prefix) in order to reach the National Suicide Prevention Hotline. Users that are accustomed to always dialing an escape digit (9 or 8) may dial 9-988 (or 8-988 as the case may be) to reach the hotline.
2. As of Friday July 15, 2022, all dialing of external numbers by OfficeSuite UC users requires the full 10-digit area code and number. Dial 9-1-<10 digits>. If your business previously had been in an area of the US that permitted 7-digit dialing, e.g. 9-<7 digits>, that capability will no longer function as of July 15, 2022. Note: If your escape digit for OfficeSuite UC is 8, then dial all external calls as 8-1-<10 digits>.
What you need to do in preparation for OfficeSuite 10 digit dialing
In preparation for July 15, inform your users to start using 10 digits for all external calls. Tell them to check any programmed speed dials or call forward keys on their OfficeSuite phones and advise they reprogram them with the area code.
OfficeSuite Administrators should check the Emergency Override field for all OfficeSuite phone numbers at the Incoming Call Routing page in the WE Connect portal and revise any external numbers to include the area code.
Edit any calling lists used with OfficeSuite Contact Center Services outbound queues to include the area code.
Mental Illness and Suicide Prevention Resources
Until such time as the 988 National Suicide Prevention Hotline is in service, anyone suffering from mental illness, depression, and/or suicidal tendencies may call 1-800-273-TALK to speak with a counselor or dial 911 for your local Police Department.
Learn more about mental illness here: National Institute of Mental Health
Frequently Asked Questions
What’s happening and when? On Friday July 15, 2022, all external numbers dialed by OfficeSuite UC users must contain the full 10-digit number (area code and number). Dial external calls as 9-1-<10 digits> (or 8-1-<10 digits> if your business uses 8 as the escape digit with OfficeSuite). Then, on Saturday July 16, 2022, the National Suicide Prevention Hotline is available via 3-digit short code 988. Users accustomed to always dialing an escape digit may also dial 9-988 (or 8-988 as the case may be) to connect.
Why is OfficeSuite UC making this change? 988 short code dialing is an FCC mandate. All US carriers must be compliant as of Saturday July 16, 2022.
Why does 10-digit dialing have to be enforced and 7-digit dialing eliminated? Because some areas of the country used 988 as the first three digits of 7-digit numbers, e.g. 988-1234, the FCC had to enforce 10-digit dialing everywhere in order to avoid confusion with the new 988 short code. Imagine, for example, your largest client’s phone number is 988-5000. As of July 16, 2022, if you called by dialing only 7 digits, you’d reach the National Suicide Prevention Hotline. Therefore, as of July 15, 2022, you must dial 10 digits (area code and number) to ensure correct routing.
How and when was I informed of this change? Windstream sent bill notices to all affected customers, whether they were OfficeSuite UC customers, or customers of any of Windstream’s multiple voice services, beginning with invoices dated April 2021 as the industry began preparing for the change. Sample notice.
What should I do in preparation for this change? First, inform your users of the new 988 short code for the National Suicide Prevention Hotline. If they need the resources the hotline provides, absolutely they should call. If they dial 988 mistakenly, they should stay on the line to inform the counselor of the error and thus avoid call-backs from the hotline. Also, review all of your Emergency Override numbers programmed at the Incoming Call Routing page of the WE Connect portal to ensure external numbers are listed as 10 digits and not 7 digits. No change is needed for extensions used as Emergency Override numbers. Inform your users to do likewise with any speed dials or call forwarding keys they’ve programmed on their OfficeSuite phones.
My business uses 7-digit dialing today. What do I need to do? Inform your users to change any programmed speed dial and call forward keys on their OfficeSuite phones to include the area code. OfficeSuite admins should review and revise any Emergency Override numbers found at the Incoming Call Routing page to be the full 10 digits. Call center managers should edit all numbers used with OfficeSuite CCS outbound queues to ensure they include the area code.
My business never had 7-digit dialing with OfficeSuite, what do I need to do? Inform your users of the new 988 National Suicide Prevention Hotline available as of July 16, 2022, but otherwise nothing. Your business was in an area of the country, like most US businesses, that didn’t support 7-digit dialing, so your programmed speed dials, call forwarding numbers, emergency override numbers, and outbound call queue lists should already be programmed on OfficeSuite as 10-digit dialing.
What will happen if I dial 7 digits instead of 10 after the effective date? You’ll hear a network message informing you the call cannot be completed as dialed. Hang up and dial again using the full 10-digit number including area code. If it happens the 7-digit number you dialed begins with 988, you’ll be connected to the National Suicide Prevention Hotline.
I dialed a Toll Free (888) number and was connected to the hotline. Why? If you dial as 9-1-888- xxx-xxxx then your call will connect normally. I suspect you may have attempted to dial without the 1. If you dialed 9-888-xxx-xxxx then the first three digits, 988, will connect to the Suicide Prevention Hotline.
OfficeSuite UC Resources: