We moderators regularly need to contact a CM, for example because we have a question about a particular issue or we need someone with more abilities and tools at their disposal.
The most common way to contact a CM is to ping one of them in the moderator chat room. There is a bot that helps finding a CM, a typical response from this bot looks like the following:
I'm aware of 14 community managers. Currently in this room: Shog9, Pops, bluefeet, JNat. Not currently in this room: Jon Ericson, Gabe, Robert Cartaino, animuson, Grace Note, Jaydles, abby hairboat, samthebrand, jmac, Ana.
The problem with this is that the response isn't all that helpful without additional knowledge, it is even a bit misleading. If this is morning in the EU timezones, pinging Shog9 in this case wouldn't be the best option, he's very likely to be sleeping. I know this because I have a rough idea in which timezone many of the CMs are, but that shouldn't be necessary.
Another issue is that not all CMs are equal. There are a handful that tend to handle most of the communication with the moderators, and other that tend to do other stuff that isn't talking directly with the moderators. Pinging a CM that very likely won't handle the issue themselves just introduces another delay and another step before the right CM is notified.
There are two ways to solve this, either making the bot a bit smarter in recommending who to ping, or converting the whole thing into a queue where CMs can pick which ping to respond to.
The first and simpler option would be to take timezones and recent activity into account and let the bot make a better suggestion on who to ping. The activity graph for users in chat already exists and can show the typical activity of a user, using that information for the bot could help avoiding pinging CMs outside their timezone. The bot should probably also use any available way to check if a CM is actually active on the computer, the "present in chat room" check is pretty much useless. And as a third point, the bot should maybe also prioritize the CMs that are specifically tasked with moderator support over the CMs that have other responsibilities.
The other option would be to switch the bot to a "ping any CM" action. So we mods wouldn't ping a specific CM, but request any of the CMs to respond. This ping would either be in their regular inbox, or some other queue visible to all the CMs. A CM can then pick a specific ping and respond to it, which removes it from the queue for all other CMs.