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What's new for Auto Attendants and Call Queues in July 2017?

We are always working to improve Auto Attendants and Call Queues in Skype for Business, and we are excited to tell you about the latest features and updates rolled out in General Avaliability in July 2017!

 

Users can now receive Auto Attendants and Call Queues calls on Mac, iPhone, iPad and Android Skype for Business clients:

    • Mac Client (16.8.196)  - you can download the latest Skype for Business client for Mac here

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    • iPhone (6.16.0)
    • iPad (6.16.0)
    • Android (6.16.0.9)

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Admins can now use O365 Groups (both public and private) to limit the scope of users reachable with Dial by Name feature in Auto Attendants.0365 Groups in Dial Scope0365 Groups in Dial Scope

The maximum size of the name list supported for name recognition with Speech has been increased from 50,000 to 80,000 users in Auto Attendants.

 

Improved accuracy of recognition for similar-sounding names for name recognition with Speech in Dial by Name feature of Auto Attendant.

 

To protect user anonymity,  Admins can now use PowerShell to enable users to make outbound calls on behalf of an Auto Attendant or Call Queue using a policy called CallingLineIdentity (also called a Calling Line ID):

 

New-CsCallingLineIdentity -Identity "UKSalesQueue" -CallingIdSubstitute "Service" -ServiceNumber 14258828080 -EnableUserOverride $False -Verbose

Grant-CsCallingLineIdentity -PolicyName UKSalesQueue -Identity AmosMarble@contoso.com

 

You can find more information on setting Caller ID for a user here.

  

Auto Attendant has been updated with an enhanced English (US) Text to Speech voice in July, 2017. Note that an enhanced Text to Speech voice for English (UK) has been rolled out in April, 2017.

 

We encourage you to take the next steps to start using these latest features:

 

  1. Download the latest Mac client here and check for the latest updates for your mobile client in your mobile App store.
  2. Let us know your feedback on these features here.

 

22 Comments

Looks great @Marina Kolomiets!

Contributor

Excellent to see this important upgrade. The feature differential between mobile and desktop as causing confusion and it is great to see that issue evaporate. We will be able to create high quality employment opporunities for people who - for whatever reason are only able to work for limited periods. With a BYOD device and call queue functionality I can, for example, recruit a pool of native speakers from different countries to act as first line call handlers and it is super economic for us to provision the SfB licenses, let them use their own device and then work, largely as and when it suits them.

Occasional Contributor

Hi Marina, 

 

Thanks for all the work on SfB!

 

Is there a way to control call queues ringing SfB clinets on ios on and off? I have one user that has been receiving call queue calls on her ios device at all hours of the day. We have been trying to figure out how it got turned on, and how we can turn it off. I even have an open support ticket! 

 

No other users are receiving call queue calls on their ios devices, so we may need to figure out how to turn it on for them. Is there documentation available? 

 

Again- A huge thanks to you and the team for constantly rolling new features! 

 

Contributor

Rodger,

 

What probably happened with your ios user is that she updated to the latest version of the ios client which came out in the past few days . That now supports call queues. In the older version call queues didn't work with mobile clients. So looks like you have users on two different versions of the client. As others upgrade the ios client you will have the same problem with them.

 

You will probably have to reconfigure the way your call queues works (which should be relatively easy) so that you have different call queues for different shifts and the Auto attendant routes to those different call queues if you want the user to be able to have her SfB device still logged on but not recieve calls originating from call queues.  So, your user might be in call queue X (early shift ) but not in call queue X (late) and the Auto attendant will switch betwen which call queue it routes to automatically.

 

I agree it would be a good feaature to have an ability at the client end to subscribe or unsubscribe from different call queues  rather than have to log off the client in order to remove themselves from the queue. 

 

I hope that is helpful

Regards,

Nicholas

 

Big updates Thanks! 👍keep them coming 

Contributor

A further thought about unsubscribing from call queues at the client end. This should ideally be on a call queue by call queue basis. For e.g. I might be part of the externally facing technical support call queue but I am also a first aider and the company could set up a call queue for all first aiders - essentially an internal 911. If I am at a meeting I would want to unsubscribe from the tech support call queue but would remain part of the internal 911 call queue 

 

One step further would be to manage it by configurable profiles - there is not much point in me getting the internal 911 call if I am at home 20 miles away but I might still need to be contactable so don't want to log off. So, in meeting, off site, off duty, on holiday, profiles with different call queues subscribed to under the different profiles would be great but you are obviously getting into quite sophisticated use of the system at that point and end users that know what they are doing. However, I can see that for a major industrial facility or a hospital or something of that nature it could be a pretty efficient way of managing different incident response groups - where the call "Queue" is really being used to call 20 different phones at once and you don't care who picks up just as long as a first aider, or cardiac specialist or whatever picks up the phone.  You could even have it so that if no one picks up after 20 rings the call gets routed to the site Public Address

Contributor

Another further thought about being able to selectively unsubscribe from call queues. If call queues could be put into the client as contacts in the different categories and would respect the category settings then in the example above my tech support role call queue would be at the colleague levelin contacts  and if I set my availability to do not disturb calls will not route to it. 

However, in my first aider role the call queue is a member of my workgroup contact category and a call from the internal 911 call queue would still route to it as workgroup contacts get to ignore the do not disturb availability setting.

I don't know if it is possible to set call queues up as contacts in that way but it might be a very quick and easy way to allow sophisticated control of call queue routing by end users who need to temorarily remove themselves from call queue but don't want to log off completely. Users control that, so they can even move call queues from one category to another for fine grain control - They could even move a call queue to the blocked contacts category and then back to the colleague level when they want to rejoin the queue. 

Occasional Contributor

Nicholas, 

 

Thanks for the ideas. We're all on the same verion of the ios SfB app, with the same version of ios, the same iphone model, and in the same call queue. We tested uninstalling and re-installing the ios app, new call queues, etc. One rings with the call queues, the rest don't ring. 

 

Even if I set up a different call queues for day and night, imagine your mobile ringing constantly, all day, during from doors open to doors close, in meetings, in the car, out for a walk, at the dentist, the airport, even on the airplane! - it's maddening. The only solution so far is to remove the ios app or leave the call queue. 

 

I am hoping that there is some as of yet undocumented setting that controls this. 

Contributor

Rodger,

 

Yes I can certainly see that this is a serious problem that will need to be addressed quickly.  Sorry my ideas don't provide an immediate solution for you. I look forward to seeing what solution you do end up with as I anticipate making quite extensive use of the call queues on mobile solution. It has great potential, but as you are experiencing, if has the possibility to go wrong quite easily - it just be like standing in front of a fire hose of calls that you can't turn off.

 

Regards,

Nicholas.

Regular Visitor

How does Exchange Online Auto Attendants work alongside or integrate with the new Cloud PBX SFB Online ones.

Do we have to Migrate from UM to the Cloud PBX option?

Can we script it?

Unfortunately, it looks like Call Queues are currently broken with the Mac client (16.9.37) and the iOS client (6.17.0.1): neither of these clients ring for a call queue.  We have tested multiple devices on multiple networks.  However, the Windows client (16.0.8326.2073 64-bit) and a Polycom VVX 300 hard phone both work correctly.

Contributor

We also still have the same problem. It was supposed to be fixed with the last update of the mobile client's (have you unistalled the mobile client's and tried reinstalling them from scratch). We still can't get it to work. Also, particularly with mobile clients there needs to be a user initiated way of unsubscribing from call queues. At the moment you are either online and availiable thus any call queue you are a member of comes to you or you are not available - period and calls to your direct line / SfB address that are not call queue originated cannot reach you (although maybe the workgroup privacy option could be used to control this to a certain extent as an interim measure).

 

The system needs for example to allow users to toggle their membership of a particular call queue  on and off (covering reception for someone else while they take a break)  - otherwise, if you have a busy 24 / 7 call centre, if the person is a member of that call centre call queue they are standing in front of a fire hose of calls 24/7 with no way to shut it off when actually they may only need to be a member of any particular call queue for an hour during peak traffic time. Another example is if it only makes sense for them to be a member of a call queue if they are physically on site. First aid is a good example of this - set up a call queue as a kind if internal 911 - it will call all first aiders on all devices at the same time . Excellent !! However, it is not much good if the first aider you are connected to is working off site today. 

@Nicholas Plant We have uninstalled and reinstalled both the mobile and the Mac client, but neither work.  At this point, I believe there is a service issue with Skype for Business.  As for toggling membership in a call queue, I can see the merit in your proposal.  However, I also see an issue: an employee could use your feature as a way to avoid work.  In either case, it sounds like a feature enhancement that you should bring to Microsoft.

Contributor

I get your point about the ability to toggle off membership of a call queue potentially giving a way for an employee to shirk off work.  I guess that can either be dealt with by giving the adminstrator certain controls over the toggle swithc and also by logging the toggle into or out of the call queue thus making it a management issue based upon the reports.

Occasional Visitor

(Unfortunately, it looks like Call Queues are currently broken with the Mac client (16.9.37) and the iOS client (6.17.0.1): neither of these clients ring for a call queue.  We have tested multiple devices on multiple networks.  However, the Windows client (16.0.8326.2073 64-bit) and a Polycom VVX 300 hard phone both work correctly.)

 

I completely agree with Greg.  It is happening with one of my client end as well. Call queue with Mac cleint(16.9.37) is not working at all. It only rings at polycom phone doesn't show any notification in Skype for Business but on another side it works with windows well. After checking all settings, we removed anmd re-installed SFB client from portal again but nothing changes.

@Vagish Bhatt and @Greg Glockner - please contact Support if you see that Mobile and Mac clients are not ringing Call Queue calls, and also encourage you customers to open a ticket with Support as well. There is a great variety of network setups, and more data will help Support with toubleshooting, and they might also suggest a workaround/fix, if relevant.

Also, please note that we currently support only purely Online SfB users as Call Queue Agents - CCE users and users homed on Prem SfB/Lync deployments are not curently supported at General Avaliablity level.

As for Agent Opt In/Out feature disussed on this thread (Agents can temporarily opt out of having calls from a specific Queue(s) been sent to them), we get a lot of customer feedback consistent with the scenarios you are describing (thanks for the drill down on the corner cases!), so this is firmly on our radar (though there no ETA I can share). 

Regular Visitor
Do call queues support video? In other words: if a video-call goes through a call queue, will the agent receive a video-call and can he answer with video?
Contributor

@Marina Kolomietsvery happy to see that the feedback on call queues is creating blips on your radar and looking forward to seeing the product evolve over coming updates (hopefully there will be a new release soon - at Ignite maybe ) One thing that is needed is to be able to (consult) / transfer to a call queue. Some callers, particularly if they are repeat callers will just hit the transfer to operator button regardless rather than go through the selections on the auto attendant. The human being doing the operator role then needs to be able to transfer to the appropriate call queue that the caller could - IF they had followed the menu operations - have transferred to rather than being forced to select a particular person. 

 

I have just checked the O365 roadmap https://products.office.com/en-us/business/office-365-roadmap#abc and the only item on the in development tab for skype for business is "update to ip phone firmware". It would be good to see some of these points appearing in the roadmap. These things affect how one might arrange business activities to fit with the technical facilities comign online and being pretty sure that something is coming down the pipeline would be a big help.  Slighly off topic but more of a roadmap for when PSTN calling will be available would be helpful - even some sort of aspirational territory map with Top priority, secondary priority tier would be good : if you know that it is supposed to be coming down the pipeline even if up to a year away one can make informed decisions. I understand how difficult getting PSTN calling set up is - largely due to regulatory issues but it does seem to be going VERY slowly and with very little information available. At this rate it will take a decade just to get PSTN calling rolled out EU wide. 

+1 for the suggestion from @Nicholas Plant.

 

Two more suggestions from my users today:

  1. An optional pre-announcement for a call queue, ex: "Thanks for waiting, we will try to connect you with an agent". (As a workaround, I can do this with an additional Auto Attendant, but that requires another Service number)
  2. An optional time-out action for a call queue; in our case, after a caller has been waiting N seconds/minutes in a queue with no agent accepting the call, we want that caller to go to a voicemail box, so that we can capture the request and route it to the appropriate employees

@Marina Kolomiets: Yes, we have two open support tickets with Office 365 support, but progress is slow.  We recently determined that Lync for Mac version 14.4.3 does work correctly with Call Queues. We'll notify our support tickets about this news, and we will try using this old version of Lync while we wait for a fix in Skype for Business for Mac.

 

Edit: As of 2:45pm PT on Tuesday August 29, 2017, everything seems to be working correctly again - Skype for Business mobile and Skype for Business for Mac are now receiving calls from Call Queues.

Microsoft

@Geert VH, currently Call Queues are build for PSTN calls coming to Skype for Business, not for Skype for Business to Skype for Business calls. By the nature of PSTN calls, video is not in scope. 

 
Occasional Contributor

Set Caller ID is not working to all telco providers... is this a Dutch issue?