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Skype for Business 2016 on Windows: Consultative Transfer

Based on feedback Microsoft received from customers, we are making user interface improvements to how calls can be transferred.

 

Current Skype for Business Consultative Transfer behavior

When screening calls, Assistants may often wish to consult with their executive before agreeing to transfer a call to them. Skype for Business enables this today by providing assistants with the ability to place an incoming call on hold, initiate a new call or chat with their boss to check on their availability, and either transfer the call or take a message.

 

While past versions of Skype for Business provide all the tools necessary to accomplish this task, we’ve received customers feedback that the current process is cumbersome and inefficient – requiring assistants to juggle multiple call windows and dialogs to perform the task.

 

New Skype for Business Call Transfer behavior

With the introduction of Consultative Transfer, we address these concerns by providing a new, streamlined workflow for conferring with an executive before transferring a call. In our new model, assistants can click a new “Consult” button from the call window, choose who to consult with, perform a consultation and complete the transfer in a single window.

 

Consultative Transfer workflow

To initiate a consultative transfer, click the “consult” button from within the call window or under call controls depending if you are currently on a PSTN or Skype for Business call.

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A dialog will open, enabling you to search for the person you’d like to consult with. If the call was received on behalf of an executive, the executive’s name will be pre-selected. Once the person you would like to consult with is selected click on “Consult”.

 

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After you click on “Consult”, an IM window will automatically open, enabling the assistant to confer with the executive via Instant Message or initiate a voice call by clicking on the call button. When the assistant has concluded their consultation, they can complete the transfer with a single click of the blue transfer button in the upper right hand corner, or return to the original call to talk the caller by clicking on “Back to Call”.

 

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Consultative Transfer design

When we designed consultative transfer, we wanted to be sensitive to the fact that different organizations have different protocols for handling calls. In the United States it’s not uncommon for assistants to consult with their executives over IM, while In Europe executives and assistants prefer to talk on the phone.

 

To ensure that consultative transfer meets the needs of your organization we’ve provided settings enabling the organization to set how an initial consultation should occur – either over IM or by phone. It’s simple to configure and ensures that Skype for Business can meet your organization’s unique needs and cultural preferences.

 

When will this feature be available?

All dates are an estimate and subject to change. Depending on feedback we receive on new features, features might also change or not be released at all.

 

Office 365 ProPlus Channel

  • Insider Fast: Currently available
  • Current Channel or First Release Deferred Channel: February 2017
  • Deferred Channel: June 2017 

In order to see this consultative transfer feature users must be running a minimum Office 365 ProPlus build of 16.0.7766.2000 and later.

 

For more information on how the update channels for Office 365 ProPlus work, please see the following page: https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/mt455210.aspx

 

I would encourage you to provide your feedback and submit questions in the Skype for Business Tech Community at the following address: https://techcommunity.microsoft.com/t5/Skype-for-Business/ct-p/SkypeForBusiness

 

Customers using Skype for Business 2015 or Skype for Business 2016 (MSI) will not see any changes to their current notifications at this time.

17 Comments
Senior Member

"To ensure that consultative transfer meets the needs of your organization we’ve provided settings enabling the organization to set how an initial consultation should occur – either over IM or by phone."

 

Does anyone know where this setting is located, in the S4B client?

@Stuart Waddington - that configuration option will be released in an upcoming update.

Senior Member

@Richard T Schwendiman This feature isn't the same as the existing method of consult transfer or how it is acheived in say attendant pro, in that it does not merge the ongoing call with the call on hold, it disconnects the call and then presents the transferred call to the next user. It would be better to simply merge the call rather than presenting a new call toast prompt to the next user as this adds extra steps to the person receiving the call who have already indicated verbally that they wish to accept the call.

Frequent Visitor

Hi,

 

I agree with @Stuart Waddington, this new consult button does not work correctly.

 

If you perform a manual consultative transfer as per the instructions here: http://www.tobiefysh.co.uk/2015/04/performing-consultative-transfer-using.html you , can speak to the person you are transferring to, and then seamlessly connect the calls together. This is the way any other PABX would work.

 

The consult button starts the transfer, "I have Jimmy Bob for you", "Ok please put them through", on pressing the complete transfer button, the call abruptly ends and their phone starts ringing again with the first caller. This will confuse most of our users. They will think there has been a problem with Skype for Business. They may not answer this second call, losing the customer.

 

Please can this be improved to seamlessly join the calls toether?

 

Many thanks,

Finn

ICT Analyst

Dorset County Council

Occasional Contributor

Hi,

 

Do you know when this feature will be available for Volume licences skype for business 2016 client, not Office 365 customers ?

 

Thank you

Arnaud

Established Member

The article states that this new feature could be available in a June 2017 general release.   Are you still on target for release this month?

@Richard T Schwendiman

 

The "must be running a minimum Office 365 ProPlus" is misleading. You need Office ProPlus + Office 365 Enterprise E1 + CBX or alternatively Office 365 Enterprise E3 + CBX, not only Office 365 ProPlus.

 

Best regards,
Torsten

Occasional Visitor

I want to further stress the point Finn Sloss and Stuart Waddington made with the - let's say it - stupendous call drop + redial after completing the transfer.

Further prompting ridicule, consider this: someone is transferred to an external nr. or cell. The drop+redial is immediate and so likely reaches someone else on the external nr. or voicemail on the cell. The classic SFB consultative transfer method didn't have to do the drop+redial, various attendant solutions don't have to either, why does this? No wait, don't answer that, just don't release any features that bring SFB down to less than a high quality enterprise product.

 

Best Regards,

 

Bastian

Occasional Visitor

@Richard T Schwendiman  Has anything been done with the feedback from @Stuart Waddington and others?  It seems an odd peice of design to drop the call, it is messy from the users perspective and opens up the possibility of two call coming in at the same time, and picking up the wrong one.  You have asked for feedback and there seems to be concenous that droping the call is not the way forward.  It would be helpful for Microsoft to feedback to us whether you are taking this on board and whether changes will be included in a later release. 

 

When will the consultative transfer changes be avaialble to on-premise volume licencing customers?

Regular Visitor

I also do not like the way the consultive transfer is working.

When I want to transfer to a Dect phone It sometimes does not work at all. This is because the dect phone is busy for a few seconds after the first call, so when the new call comes in right after the initial call, the dect phone is still busy.

 

Regards

Frank

Frequent Visitor

Hello Team,

 

Will this feature work for organizations on Lync 2013 Servers yet?

 

Best Regards,

Chetan Kattarmal

Contributor

How do you change it from IM default to call default?

 

To ensure that consultative transfer meets the needs of your organization we’ve provided settings enabling the organization to set how an initial consultation should occur – either over IM or by phone. It’s simple to configure and ensures that Skype for Business can meet your organization’s unique needs and cultural preferences.
Senior Member

Hi!

 

As Finn Sloss has already written, the current transfer function is not exactly user-friendly. When the call is first announced and then rebuilt again, it confuses the called party.
If the remote station (the transfer destination) is a Skype client, it treats it a bit smoother and smarter than an external destination (mobile phone).
It is unreasonable that the mediator must first explain to the called person that he will terminate the current call and put it through again - even if this happens automatically in the background.
Is there any news or customization options?

 

Kind regards, Jens.

Regular Visitor

Hi All,

 

I tell my customers to use the "old" way to transfer.

I have a call with A, and want a consultive transfer to B. I just make a new conversation with B which automatically places A on hold.

I talk to B and then select the normal transfer button on conversation window with B and select the session  with A. No redail takes place.

 

Regards,

Frank Verharen

Senior Member

Thanks for the reminder! That's right, this works from the Skype client and would be a workaround, but it's still not nice.

 

However, I have now found my mistake. I had forgotten to specify the internal mediation server for the Skype Cloud Connector Edition.

 

Set-CsHybridMediationServer -Identity <DisplayName> -Fqdn <MediationServerFQDN> -AccessProxyExternalFqdn <EdgeServerExternalFQDN>

Link: https://technet.microsoft.com/de-de/library/mt740651.aspx#Konfigurieren von Einstellungen f%C3%BCr e...

 

After this customization, call transfer and merge work fine from the Skype-Client and from the Polycom VVX phone. :-)

New Contributor

@Jens Collasch, still does not work even with the powershell you mentioned. Interesting that it works for you. Can you elaborate a bit more on your environment. Is the original caller number updated to the receiving party after the call transfer (merge way)? What version of the S4B client are you using? on my ip phones (yealink) the merge functionality works as expected, only the s4b client interrupts the call and issues a new one to the receiving party after transfer which is odd.

 

As a workaround for merging if the user is still consulting he does not click transfer from the upper right corner of the window but instead clicks again on transfer in the middle of the windows which opens up a new window where the current call can be transferred by merging.

 

 

 

 

Senior Member

Unfortunately, once again I had to change the name for the user of the mediation server how i described above and had set up again two other accounts for the two CCE in the high availability-cluster, it comes back to problems like Thomas Oeser described too.

 

The call transfer from a Polycom VVX works perfect - without interruption.
When transferring from a Skype client (USer B), the call to User C is interrupted and rebuilt. In this case, although the number of User A is displayed, but that is not really relevant. For the participants it is more pleasant to stay connected. And i'm sure it had worked fine in both cases.

 

Ok, even with the workaround to transfer via two call-windows, it works, but then you can save the button "Consult" also. :-(


I have also opened a ticket to MS, because I suspect with the change of Mediation server users somewhere still the old user in it and that's what it comes to these effects. Because there is no command like remove-cshybridmediationserver. I hope that can still be resolved.