Voicemail for Auto Attendant & Call queueing

Occasional Contributor

Hello all, 


I really want to request that they add Voicemail to Call Queuing and Auto Attendant this is a important features for after hours calls for our helpdesk - is this possible to do?



29 Replies

Seems like you would need to have an email account with UM, Exchange 3 plan likely, and have a generic Voicemail AA account created. It is how we integrate with UM for 365 now with an Avaya On Prem PBX. After hours, it routes the call to the VM for call coverage/voicemail. Then users can listen the next morning to the voicemail in that other email account which you have assigned delegation rights to gain access to. Just like any user. I have 2 email/E3 accounts dedicated to handle to night AA's, which gives user an option to press 0, or stay on the line to leave a general message in the voicemail box. Or, after the greeting, if there are no options, I just route it to the voicemail box upon picking up, and play the actual voicemail box greeting and say leave a message, no AA greeting/file involved. Not sure how to do this with Skype AA though. Doing testing now.

I don't want to have to license department's voicemail in the cloud with licenses I just need something that just works seemless with Skype Online. We are 100% Skype for Buisness Online but cannot move our auto attendant or queueing till we have general voicemail access. 

I gotcha.  We are entirely Exchange Office 365 E3 customers.  Just doing testing with cloud PBX due to other issues with an OnPremise.


Just provding and option/solution to the issue.  It is the only way we can make UM/Exchange work so off hours there is a voicemail box, and in order for that, you need a full E3 license so you can assign UM/Voicemail functions to the mailbox.


Avaya and other phone vendors don't even offer this function/feature in their Avaya S8300/G450 VoIP PBX.  Auto attendant is built into one of the modules/cards in the PBX, but it can't do anything but then route the call, do options/coverage paths and of course, route it to an extension, which in our case is a generic email account with UM/Voicemail and extension assigned to it.


Then assign other user as delegates in Exchange to that email account, shows up in the Outlook listen/route/forward or delete voicemail as needed that way.


Where do you think this voicemail is going to land once it hits the AA and they have an option to do something like leave a message?  The mechanism to provide voice mail services anyway?  Just curious, because something/somewhere has to be able to take the voicemail from the caller, convert and store it someplace, like a send to email, or local voicemail server/service.  Which is Exchange Online in the Cloud pbx they offer.


Not sure how you can get around it.  I know, it is like $20 per AA to do this, but not sure what the other options are.  Been out of other PBX/UM/Auto attendant area for years though, maybe I'm just not familiar with other PBX/Cloud offerings and how they would handle a VM from AA.



I just really like to avoid having a Exchange Mailbox for this - I rather it be perhaps a Shared Mailbox - or a distro group you cannot forward the Auto Attendant to Voicemail after the person doesn't answer anyways even doing queuing this cannot work for us till we can do Voicemail after hours and during holiday's and when they are away from their desk. 

I second this request and just coincidentally posted something related yesterday, looking for a workaround in its absence. This issue keeps coming up with clients that are small businesses and 100% in the cloud.

Why can't we have a general mailbox that just emails users in a group that there's a voicemail and attaches the WAV that would just be too simple. 


Correction about the voicemail rule working.  As mentioned, the rules don't work but manually for VM in Exchange.  


Again, I'm not familiar with other auto attendants but Avaya's and NEC PBX systems, and Cisco CM/UM as well.  Someone shed some light what the thinking is here and what system is also going to act like the VM system?  The Auto Attendant function in Skype for Business PBX functionality will have voicemail?


Want to know more and what other systems offer to accomplish this as well.



RingCentral did this just fine for us looking for Skype to do this.

Gotcha.  I see what you are saying, some players like Ringcentral are putting a voicemail function built into the product to accomplish this feature for people that might not have a full onpremise, or Unified message/VM system.


Interesting feature then.  Thanks for that.


I'm evaluating replacing our onpremise, but auto attendant is required, so I have methods to kind of work around that now with Microsoft's AA and lack of this feature you say Ringcentral has.


Call queuing as well, along with 4 digit dialing, there are a whole lot of things that are just missing from Skype for Business PBX in the cloud that the on premise has I know.


Sounds like ti Need to keep looking at solutions like 8x8 or others until MS can get this all sorted and features.  Sounds like a 2yr timeframe at this rate from today?



Keith, one thing that I've tried but have been unable to do is set up a mail flow rule in Exchange to get the voicemail out of a generic E3 account into an actual user's email account.  It seems that the process of receiving the voicemail notifcation email is an internal process that bypasses the way Exchange normally captures and forwards emails based on mail flow rules. 


I can delegate out the generic mailbox to users but they still have to remember to go look for it since it isn't in their primary inbox.


In your post it sounds like you were able to forward these out.  Where you able to confirm this works?


This seems like a glaring feature that is missing from AA.


You know, I think you are right.  If I recall, if you setup a rule for something like, Subject: Voice Mail, which the system shows, the only way the rule worked was when it was manually run.  It didn't seem to be a server rule that understood the voicemail function and would never route it/forward it automatically.


We just delegate access to the receptionist, she see it in her Outlook on the left pane, and she can view/forward/listen etc do what is needed.  Last resort, login to the OWA account for the general voicemail user we created that the night calls get routed to after the AA.


I see where this is definitely a useful and needed function, and would prevent wasting an E3 license for every auto attendant, especially if you have like 5-10 of them that needed to route to a VM for different areas.  End up costing $1000/yr+ just to handle some voicemails after the auto attendant did it's thing after hours.







I watched "Skype Academy: Auto Attendant" (Link to YouTube Video) published March 28, 2017 on YouTube and it contradicts what I've been seeing with regards to AA and VM.


Verbatim from a slide in the video prezo: 


"Auto Attendant - provides automated interactive system for incoming calls...Can have an Operator or Voicemail as backup"


The speaker then indicates, in a subsequent slide, that after business hours, you can give callers an option to leave a voice mail from the Auto Attendant. 


On that same slide, he also says that the "Operator can be Cloud PBX enabled user, Call Queue, Auto Attendant, or Voicemail"


Is it possible this is a planned feature? 





I understood that if you select Transfert to  "Person in your Company" and select a user if this user doesn't answer will automatically go to voice mail if this user was enable for VM


Yes, believe this was covered earlier, or in another thread.  Basically need to have a user with UM/Voicemail enabled in your O365 tenant, then the AA routes to a "person".  So it will costs you a full E3 license to enable UM/Voicemail.


What happens to the calls after the greeting?

-Redirect call
-Play menu options prompt


If you select Redirect Call, the options are Route to a Person In your company, Call Queue or AA.


If you select the person, of course, they need to be UM/Voice enabled and have the mailbox setup.  We do this currently with another PBX that integrates with Exchange UM features in the cloud.



What I am needing is this.



If a user calls into a queue and its the IT Helpdesk and nobody is available I need it to go to a general our IT Group.


If someone calls the HR department and nobody answers it needs to go to the HR general mailbox


If someone calls into our company and doesn't answer we would like our CEOs assistant and our front desk person get the voicemail. 

Any updates to this?

As of now it looks like you need to add another cloud and PTSN user license. Which at $20 each is a lot for simple voicemail.

I don't see any different solution when you need it to route to voicemail box when not answered/or after pressing a button.


You still need a mailbox enabled with voicemail features to take a voicemail.  That is an Exchange UM function.


Skype for Business in General, even a hosted 3rd party solution I was looking at didn't even seem to have that function either.  They utilize Exchange UM/AA features.  Maybe there are some other companies that can do this, Mitel etc..I know can.  But Skype doesn't seem to have that in general across any platform. 


They would have to implement an auto attendent function prior/outside of any other AA/Exchange UM function, that can take/implement a custom greeting you store, and then keep/store a voicemail in a format that is accessible or routable to somebody via SMTP.


This more of a traditional and newer cloud PBX feature that I've only found a few providers can do. MS Skype doesn't seem to be one of them unless a custom third party has implemented a work around for it, and none I've talked to have.


Good luck.  I'm looking at hosted 3rd party Skype, not MS Cloud.  Or somebody like Mitel cloud who can do these things.  And some things are still not able to be met, like 4 digit dialing, except Mitel.

I agree that for now it's needed but MS needs to look into adding support for Shared O365 Email boxes being enabled to recieve voicemail. This would allow teams to use the same shared mailbox as a central location for email and voicemail. It also removes the requirement for a e5 or cloud PBX license plus the additional cost of Cloud PTSN for every shared Voicemail. The cost for a general voicemail box makes SfB Cloud uncompetative with most other cloud offerings. 


Most companies only have a requirement for 1 or 2 group or shared VM's so utilizing the same concept as shared mailboxes in O365 seems like a no brainer. 



Any update on this?


It's a lot of bucks for features that should have been availabled from day 1 when AA was GA!


I didn't find anything on O365 roadmap either. At least, if we could have a confirmation that's it's coming...