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MVP Live Blog: BRK3036 Understanding Call Queues & Auto Attendants

Marina Kolomiets and Irena Andonova gave an overview of Call Queues and Auto Attendants and "What's Coming Soon".

 

Since there are some name changes, I might just start out by designating old and new names of some key items talked about in this session: Phone System = Cloud PBX, Audio Conferencing = PSTN Conferencing and Calling Plans = PSTN Calling.  Advanced voice features like Voicemail (VM), Auto Attendant (AA) and Call Queues (CQ) are included in Phone System.

 

Marina and Irena started out by noting that Office 365 Phone System is included with E5 and E1, E3, etc. need "Phone System" as an add-on.

 

Currently CQ and AA are GA'd for pure cloud users and are "coming soon" for CCE, OPCH and split domain.

 

Enabling users for Phone System means assigning a Calling Plan license or using this PowerShell example: "Set-CsUser -identity "Amos Marble" -EnterpriseVoiceEnabled $true". Of course the -EnterpriseVoiceEnabled setting doesn't enable calling to PSTN numbers.

 

Caller ID can be customized using csCallingLineIdentity PowerShell. User caller ID can be forced to be a Call Queue or it can be set to give the user the option to switch between anonymous or theirself.

 

Call Queues provide automated call distribution for incoming calls. They can provide music on hold while users are waiting, have up to 200 calls in the queue, have up to 50 agents for the queue, and calls are distributed on FIFO basis.

 

Configuring a Call Queue involves these steps: Assign a Service Number, Tolled or Toll-Free, Create Greeting and choose Music on Hold, Add Agents – people who will receive the calls from the Queue, Select maximum Queue size and what happens when the Queue gets full (Overflow options) & Set the longest allowed wait time for a call and how to escalate it (Timeout options).

 

Attendant Routing method will ring all Agents that are not in DND or Offline. IP Phone, Mobile and Mac users can be Agents.

 

Auto Attendant provides automated call answering.

 

Configuring an Auto Attendant involves these steps: Assign a Service Number, Tolled or Toll-Free; Greet and route calls based on Business Hours; Provide Interactive Voice Response Menus (IVR); Use Speech Recognition or keypad entry (DTMF) to navigate; Direct calls to other Auto Attendants, Call Queues, Users or Voicemail, etc.;Perform Directory Search, breakout to an Operator.

 

Auto Attendant allows Dial Scope exclusion list. This means you can exclude specific groups of users and individual users.

 

Improved quality of text to speech for UK and US English has already been released and French is coming soon, and more languages are planned. Also speech recognition has been improved by using heuristics and confidence levels.

 

Marina and Irena did a live "sneak peek" demonstration of Auto Attendant transferring a call to a Microsoft Teams user. I think this was using Skype for Business to Teams interop mention in some of the other sessions.

 

Features Coming Soon to Call Queues & Auto Attendants

  • Agents can be CCE, On Premise & split domains
  • Ability for Agents to Opt Out of a Queue
  • Search & Transfer to CQ and AA without Service Numbers
  • Agents can Opt In or Out of a Queue
  • Serial Routing Method with Agent Ordering
  • Auto Attendant Holidays & Import Holidays as .csv
  • Adding Turkish and Catalan Languages additional voice to text voices
  • New AA and CQ Management UI

 

Some Q&A

  • RBAC to change the audio prompt of a CQ or AA? This is on the radar.
  • Can Mobile be excluded from CQ even if PC wants to receive calls: User should Opt Out
  • When will Teams users be enabled? its coming, no time
  • Routing Round Robin? On the list for the future
  • Automatic languages recognition? at this time it is 1 for Spanish, 2 for french…
  • CQ and AA in SfB Server 2019? Hybrid is how it would be
  • Has Call Delay been ended? We know about it, Teams will likely have no delay
  • Accept calls on PSTN when data not good?
  • Call Queue Caller ID on PC currently shows GUID, will be fixed soon

 When is "coming soon"? This calendar year.

 

It good to see the progress with Call Queue and Auto Attendants, and especially the upcoming list of items. After Exchange AA and RGS were fairly static for a long time it is good to see AA and CQ are being thoughtfully and regularly improved.