Standard Call Center Set-up

How to set up and Manage Standard Call Center Queues

The Call Center product allows the CAP Administrator to manage call queues, which are Automated Call Distribution algorithms that allow callers to get directed to an agent, when one becomes available, while remaining engaged during the hold process.

To jump to specific sections:

Queue Profile Tab

Call Routing Tab

Users Tab

Announcement Tab

Thresholds Tab

Standard Call Center Set-up

 The queues can be created and managed in the Call Center section. As long as the PBX contains at least one call center license of any type you can create queues. Like hunt groups, there is no practical limit to the number of call center queues. You can create new queues with the green button at the top labeled +Queue, which will open the dialog box to edit the new queue. For existent queues, the Action column allows you to Edit or Delete the queues with the appropriate icons.              

Queue Profile Tab

The first tab within Edit Queue allows you to set up the basics of the call queue. These settings will be in a default mode when you make a new Queue.

At the top there is a section that lays out the identity of the call queue. Parameters such as Queue Name, Caller ID names, and Extension are definable. The Time Zone is most relevant for reporting and scheduled call routing (which is found in the Call Routing Tab).

Call Distribution Type will determine the order in which the agents are offered calls. Some of these are based on the order in which the agents are listed in the Users Tab, which will be covered later.

  • Circular: this will offer calls to each agent, in order, and will continue this order on each successive call. This is a useful method to share offered calls amongst your agents.
  • Regular: like Circular, it will follow the order of the agents to offer the call but will always start at the top of the list. This is great if you have one primary agent and then backups.
  • Simultaneous: this method will offer calls to all available agents at the same time. This is a form used by sales teams and other groups that are self-motivated to answer the calls.
  • Uniform: this method most closely resembles the classic call center protocol. It offers the agent with the longest idle (the one who has gone the longest without a call) first, then moved down the list if it is not answered.
  • Weighted Call Distribution: this method is seldom used but has its purposes. Once selected, you can assign weights to each agent (in the Users Tab), so long as all of the weights add up to 100.

On the left side, below, are Call Center (Queue) Settings, which help define certain features of the queue itself.

  • Queue Length: This is the maximum number of calls that can be handled by the queue (agents on active calls, plus calls on hold awaiting available agents) before new calls are handled as overflow (see Call Routing Tab). This will vary by the number of agents and types of calls they take, but a general rule of thumb is 2x the number of agents you expect to have staffed.
  • Play ringing when offering call: This tells the algorithm to play a ringing sound to the caller when the agent is being offered the call.
  • Allow caller to dial a set number to escape the queue: This activates a number, that if pressed anytime during the hold process, will engage the busy forward function. If there is a voicemail assigned to this call center, for example, it will route there.
  • Reset caller statistics upon entry into the queue: When enabled, the call length (the amount of time since the call was originated on this PBX) will be reset to 0 seconds. This comes into play in the Call Routing Tab later, specifically for “Overflow after a set amount of time” calculations.
  • Distinctive Ringing Pattern for Call Center Calls: You can enable and select a special ringing pattern with this selector.

On the right side are Agent Settings, which influence how the queue interacts with agents.

  • Allow agent to join Call Center: loads a tag onto the phone associated with the agent that allows them to use ASIGNIN and ASIGNOUT to log in and out of call centers, respectively.
  • Allow Call Waiting on agents: when activated, agents will be presented with calls from this queue even if the agent is currently on another call.
  • Enable calls to agents in wrap-up state: when enabled, this will allow the algorithm to send calls to the agent even though that agent is still in a wrap-up state.
  • Automatically set agent state to set value after call: an administrator can set what state the agent will enter immediately after the termination of a call center call. If Wrap-Up is selected, the next timer is important.
  • Maximum ACD wrap-up timer (mm:ss): this sets the amount of time the agent will remain in wrap-up as set above, unless they voluntarily exit that state early.

Call Routing Tab

While the Queue Profile Tab covers the basics of routing and layout, and the Users Tab will assign agents, the Call Routing Tab deals with what to when the users cannot handle the volume. There are four handling features on this tab, to cover calls that Bounce, those that are Stranded, those that Overflow, and even how to handle calls outside of regular business hours.

At the top left is the Bounced Calls Settings. Bounced calls occur when a call is presented to an agent and it is not accepted. This of this as a “no Answer” situation. Bounced calls return to the queue at the highest priority, so they are the next call presented when an agent becomes available.

  • After a set number of rings: established how many rings should alert the agent’s device before it is considered bounced.
  • If agent becomes unavailable while routing the call: this bounces the call immediately when the agent is not available after the algorithm decides to present the call.
  • After being held by agents for longer than a set time: this will bounce the call back to the queue in the event of a long hold initiated by the agent.

To the right is the Stranded Calls Settings. Stranded calls are ones where there are no agents available despite the call reaching the queue. The Call Center Administrator can determine how to handle calls that are stranded due to no agents signed on, and a separate treatment for a not available situation. The options for both conditions are the same.

  • Perform busy treatment: this will follow the busy treatment of the call center, which is a busy signal by default, but may route to a dedicated shared voicemail box if one has been added to this service.
  • Transfer to phone number: this will send stranded calls to the phone number, extension, or voicemail box designated by the administrator.
  • Leave in queue: this setting does not route the call at all, and will continue the regular queue treatment even though there are no agents available or logged in.

Within the Unavailable portion, you can assign a code in the Call Center Settings that will permit even a single agent to “close” the queue by going into a specified status.

On the left middle lies the rules for Overflow Settings. Overflow is a condition that occurs when the total number of current calls being handled and on hold exceeds the queue length that was assigned on the Queue Profile Tab.

The handling of the Overflow calls is assigned first.

  • Perform busy treatment: this will follow the busy treatment of the call center, which is a busy signal by default, but may route to a dedicated shared voicemail box if one has been added to this service.
  • Transfer to phone number: this will send stranded calls to the phone number, extension, or voicemail box designated by the administrator.
  • Play ringing until caller hangs up: this setting will present ringing to the caller indefinitely, even if the queue eventually opens back up. Once this call has been placed in overflow status, it is effectively out of the queue.

Below these settings are additional handling features.

  • Play announcement before overflow processing: when activated, this will either play a default message or a predefined one that can be uploaded below.
  • Overflow after a call waits a set amount of time: this will set another condition for overflow, specifically when the call timer exceeds the set time. NOTE: this refers to the total length of the call from the time the PBX accepted it, unless Reset caller statistics upon entry into the queue has been enabled in the Queue Profile tab.
  • Custom audio file: enabling this setting plays the selected audio file when the call is sent to overflow.

At the bottom of the tab lies the Scheduled Call Routing section, which can divert calls from the queue entirely if set scheduled conditions are met. Scheduled Call Routing must be enabled with the slider before any of the scheduled events will be followed.

Details about how to manage schedules can be found in this article. Call centers use the same style as hunt groups.

You can add new rules with the New Rule button on the right. There is no practical limit to the number of rules you can have in place, and they will be checked from top to bottom. Only when none of the active rule conditions listed have been satisfied will the call go into the queue. The fields that can be assigned for each rule are as follows.

  • Name: you can define a name for the rule, which makes troubleshooting easier.
  • Schedule: this drop-down allows you to select from the schedules that have been set up in the Customer Administration Portal under the Schedules section.
  • Forward to: this is the field where you will enter the extension or number to handle the call in place of the call center if the conditions of the schedule are satisfied.
  • Edit: there is an edit button (denoted by a pen and paper) to open the rule line for changes.
  • Delete: the delete button (marked by a red trashcan)

Users Tab

The Users Tab is where an administrator assigns agents and supervisors to the call queue.

The available users with agent client licenses are listed in the Available Agents, while users with a supervisor license will appear under Available Agents as well as Available Supervisors. Those who have been assigned are found in the Assigned Agents and Assigned Supervisors sections. To move the assignments between the Available and Assigned sections, use the right facing and left facing arrows.

The order in which the assigned agents appears can be relevant, depending on the Call Distribution Method selected in the Queue Profile tab.

Announcement Tab

Within the announcement tab the administrator can tailor the experience that the caller has while waiting for an available agent. The audio management tools are vastly improved over the one in the standard PBX, allowing an administrator to layer multiple .wav files to better provide a pleasant experience for your callers on hold.

Entrance Message can be enabled to play an announcement before the call comes to the hold music.

  • Entrance Message: This enables the entrance message.
  • Message is mandatory when played: Enabling this setting will force the entrance message to be played even if there are agents available and the call will not go on hold. This is useful to establish rules for the interaction “This call may be recorded...”
  • Custom audio file: if this is disabled, the entrance message is a default message. When enabled, clicking the Browse button will enable you to decide what message will be played from your audio library.

Music on hold controls the content of the on-hold file the caller will hear as they wait, either for an agent or once an agent has put the caller on hold.

  • Music on Hold: This enables the message on hold to be played when the caller is on hold. If disabled, dead air will be presented instead, which will almost certainly increase the number of calls that abandon the call.
  • Custom audio file: if this is disabled, the music on hold is played from a default file. When enabled, clicking the Browse button will enable you to decide what message will be played from your audio library.

Use alternate audio for internal calls can provide alternate on-hold music when the calls originate from a user within the PBX.

  • Use alternate audio for internal calls: This enables alternate audio handling.
  • Custom audio file: if this is disabled, the alternate audio is played from a default file. When enabled, clicking the Browse button will enable you to decide what message will be played from your audio library.

Estimated Wait Messages provides vocalized interrupts to remind the caller where they are in the queue or provide an estimated wait time. These messages have no custom audio selection because the messages will need to be generated on a case by case basis. The vocalization for these messages will be in English.

  • Estimated Wait Messages: this will enable these messages
  • Message interval (seconds): determines how often during the hold procedure the music on hold will be interrupted by the wait message vocalization
  • Message type: this drop-down will allow the administrator to decide between Announce Wait Time and Queue Position
  • Play message to callers with a wait time lower than (minutes): sets the upper limit of hold time where this will be presented. Callers on hold longer than this are treated to the High volume message, if enabled.
  • Default handing time (minutes per call): this helps the vocalization algorithm to more accurately estimate the wait time.

Comfort messages are set to interrupt the music on hold at a given interval to play a message of empathy for the long hold time.

  • Comfort message: this enables the comfort message protocol.
  • Message interval (seconds): establishes the amount of time between each play of this message.
  • Custom audio file: if this is disabled, the comfort message is played from a default file. When enabled, clicking the Browse button will enable you to decide what message will be played from your audio library.

When you press a Browse button in Custom audio file in this tab, you will be presented with the Choose Custom Audio File window.

  • Upload New Audio File: this button lets you browse your local machine for an appropriate .wav file to upload. When a file has been uploaded, it will appear in the Uploaded Audio Files box.
  • Uploaded Audio Files: this box displays the names of all of the files that have been uploaded. Regardless of which Custom audio file section you used to upload the file, they are available to all categories. You can use the button at the top to trash (delete) any files you no longer want to use
  • Assigned Audio Files: lists the files that will be used in this section, in the order in which they will be played. Use the arrow buttons to move files from Uploaded to Assigned as desired.

Thresholds Tab

Thresholds allow the admin to set up real time alerts when certain parameters are met.  

The Threshold section, on the left, lets the admin set up yellow and red alerts for any of the five metrics listed. The top two, Current Calls in Queue and Current Longest Waiting Call are gathered in real-time, while the other three are based on averages of averages over intervals throughout the day. The Estimated Wait Time, Average Handling Time, and Average Speed of Answer will become more accurate as the day goes on and there are more data points with which to compute the averages. If there is an active Supervisor Client Dashboard monitoring this call queue, it will discolor the particular metric according to the thresholds it has met.

On the right side is the Notification section, which sends out email alerts to up to 6 defined addresses as soon as the queue meets any given threshold. The email entry fields are open; they do not need to be associated with a user in the Customer Administration Portal. You can even place a distribution list address in one of these fields.