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Now Available – Auto Attendant and Call Queues for Skype for Business Cloud PBX in Office 365

Customers around the world are replacing their traditional phone systems with our modern voice solution delivered in Office 365 with Skype for Business Online. Skype for Business Online provides end-users the ability to make and receive business calls in the office, at home and on the road using their phone, PC, or mobile device. As part of Office 365, we are able to innovate rapidly to deliver new capabilities to customers without the need to build out new servers or install software updates.

 

This week at Enterprise Connect, we announced exciting new capabilities that are now available for our cloud voice customers. Generally grouped under the category of “media services”, these new features operate completely out of Office 365 and provide new experiences for the management of phone calls, from answering to call treatment to queueing to routing. What it means is that Office 365 customers everywhere now have an option for a truly powerful set of communications capabilities all driven out of the cloud. 

 

Auto Attendant provides an automated system to answer inbound phone calls to a company, play prompts to interact with the caller and determine the destination of the call. Prompts can be made from uploaded pre-recorded material or using text-to-speech in 27 languages while replies from callers can be captured using DTMF (touchtone) or speech recognition in 14 languages. Callers can speak the name of an end-user in the tenant directory to be routed directly to that person or they can be presented with a customized menu to support routing to different departments.

 

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Auto Attendant

 

 

Call Queues implement an automated distribution system for calls that includes playing licensed music on hold for the caller and matching the caller with an available agent. Custom music on hold and custom prompts can also be uploaded to Office 365 for use with a customer’s Call Queue. Agents can be quickly configured for handing calls from a queue by using a simple distribution list, with calls routed in parallel to all agents who are signed in and configured to handle calls from the queue.

 

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Call Queues

 

Both Auto Attendants and Call Queues are managed from Office 365 and allow customers to have powerful call management functionality homed completely out of the cloud. To support this capability, customers can acquire both toll and toll-free phone numbers from over 90 countries around the world, all without additional subscription cost. The system administrator then simply associates the numbers to the Auto Attendants and Call Queues directly from the Office 365 Admin Center or automates the process through PowerShell scripting.

  

One of our first partners to take advantage of this new functionality with Skype for Business Online is Enghouse Interactive with their new attendant console. Utilizing the Skype for Business Client SDK, Auto Attendant, and Call Queues, their TouchPoint Attendant solution natively integrates into Microsoft’s Skype for Business Online and Office 365.

 

Want to learn more? Check out the new documentation for Auto Attendant and Call Queues to learn more about these key enhancements. @Sean Wilson@Marina Kolomiets recorded a broadcast on 4/28 on the topic, here.

 

With these new capabilities, now is the time to upgrade your legacy phone systems and/or to start with new users in the cloud. If you aren’t using our cloud voice solution, you can upgrade your existing Office 365 subscriptions to Office 365 Enterprise E5, add Cloud PBX to any other Office 365 Enterprise plan, or you can get your own tenant with Cloud PBX at http://aka.ms/e5trial.

15 Comments
Contributor

Does this work with CCE?

Microsoft

Hi @Trent Queen

currently Auto Attendant and Call Queues do not work with CCE -- though we plan to add this functionality. For all details on what you can do with Auto Attendant and Call Queues, please refer to our Academy session here: Call Queues and Auto Attendant trainings updated for General Availability

Contributor

@Thomas Binder if I have a cloud service number that people call that has a call queue setup can the 'receptionist' transfer those calls to CCE users?

Microsoft

@Trent Queen, no -- there is currently no support for having Auto Attendant and Call Queues co-exist. 

Contributor

Ok thanks

If you missed it, @Marina Kolomiets & @Sean Wilson recorded a broadcast on the topic last week.  Have a look at the recording, here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7n3-DKfYPCA&list=PLH5ElbTc1hWTvqa_CaVedTcqQQWQpdYmu&index=43

Occasional Visitor

If I have both a local number, and an 800 number, can I assign both numbers to the same Auto Attendant?

Hi @Seth Dykstra - From the experts:

  • You cannot assign multiple service numbers to Auto Attendant and Call Queues at the time of General Availablity (GA)
  • Giving multiple numbers is something we want to add to Auto Attendants and Call Queues in the future.
R d
Occasional Visitor

Is there any way to view the number of calls waiting in call queue?

Occasional Visitor

Can you use Cloud PBX (Call queues) in a hybrid solution for a E3 subsciption for call hunting for Canadian users?  We have various support 1800 numbers that would would like sent to various members of teams at the same time. 

Are there any way of delegating administration of a OAA and call queue(s) to a specific user or set of users, so these users don't get Skype for Business Administrator priviliges??

 

/Kenneth ML

Hi Thomas

 

Whats the latest - on CCE and Call queue compatibility, it we have several offices around thw world, and some offices utilize CCE some run PSTN Main Numbers (Service number assigned to Call queue) , will the Office that run PSTN Calling be able to utilize Call queue like that - whiule others are on CCE  ?

 

Or is it alerady so that even the CCE offices can use Call queues ?

Kindes regards

Thomas

Contributor

The Business hours only allow lots of 30 mins and our office closes at 5.15pm daily - how do you suggest we handle this? if we set it to 5.30 then anyone that calls between 5.15 and 5.30 will be in the queue but never get answered.

Occasional Contributor

@Trent Queen - Unfortunately it doesn't look like a quarter-hour end/start time is possible.  I initially thought that you may be able to do this in PowerShell (that the GUI didn't expose 15 minute increments), but the cmdlet used for the time range (New-CsOnlineTimeRange) is hard-coded for 30/60 minute intervals:

 

NOTE

  • The start bound of the range must be less than its end bound.
  • A time range must be aligned with 30/60-minutes boundaries.
  • A time range can span from one minute to 24 hours.

 

I think in this scenario, you are better off to set the end time as 5 PM and not 5:30.  IMHO, it's better (and less maddening) for someone to try and call at 5:05 PM and get a "closed message" than have someone try to call at 5:20 and sit endlessly in a Call Queue because no-one is around to answer.  In the latter scenario (Call Queue), you could take advantage of the queue timeout and forward the call back to your lead auto attendant.  However, you would need to cautious with the timeout value....you cannot make it too low - especially if that same Call Queue is used for your business hours operation, which likely could not handle a significantly low value, such as 30 seconds.

New Contributor
Hi there, are there news about this functionality coming to CCE or hybrid deployments with on-premises calling? Thanks