What is a Call Queue?
A Call Queue is a feature that allows callers to be automatically put on hold when all colleagues (that are in a Call Group behind the queue) are engaged. A caller will be put on hold until a phone in the Call Group becomes available.
Make sure that each phone that answers calls that go through the queue has the 'Caller Waiting' function switched OFF. The queue will not function correctly otherwise.
To configure and activate a Call Queue, we need to do 5 things:
STEP 1 - Add and configure the Call Queue
Log in to Freedom
Go to 'Admin' >> 'Queue' (under 'Advanced options')
Name: name your queue for easy reference in the dialplan
Description: for your reference
Maximum time: Maximum hold-time after which a call is automatically disconnected.
Maximum size: Maximum amount of callers on hold in the queue after which an extra call automatically gets disconnected.
Notify frequency: The time in seconds between two notification messages.
Notification based on:
Option 1: 'Number of callers in queue': Caller is informed: "You are caller number ..."
Option 2: 'Expected waiting time': Caller is informed: "The expected hold-time is ..."
Message settings: Select the preferred language and gender for the notification messages.
NOTE: If you haven't uploaded Queue messages yet, follow the directions under 'STEP 2 - Upload messages' below.
Welcome message: Select your welcome message here. E.g. "Welcome to Always Right Attorneys. All lines are currently busy. Please hold for the next available operator."
Time exceeded message: Select the message that you would like to play for the caller when the 'Maximum time' is exceeded. E.g. "We are experiencing extreme call volumes at the moment. Please try again later."
Size exceeded message: Select the message that you would like to play for the caller when the 'Maximum size' is exceeded. E.g. "We are experiencing extreme call volumes at the moment. Please try again later."
Wrapup time: The minimum time allowed between ending a call and receiving a new call on a given phone.
STEP 2 - Upload messages
To select the Queue messages (i.e. Welcome message, Time exceeded message and Size exceeded message) in the Edit Queue page, we need to save the audio files first:
Go to 'Admin' in the Main Menu >> Click on 'Sounds' under 'System management' >> Click the Add button
Complete the fields under the 'Sound description' section
Check the 'Create message' box (so as to have your sound automatically added to the Messages module, saving you the double-work of adding it later)
Under the 'Sound file' section, select Record file (you will be prompted to start recording your message after you have enabled your Microphone). Or select Upload file to upload a message file (in mp3 or WAV format) that is already recorded and saved on your PC for instance.
Click the Save button and your message is uploaded.
STEP 3 - Disable Caller Waiting
IMPORTANT: Most VoIP Phones have multiple lines, which means they can receive more than one call at the same time. While the phone is engaged, a second (or third etc) call can come in. This is not desirable, because this will result in the call not going into the queue but waiting behind another call on the phone instead.
For the queue to function properly. All phones that will answer calls that come through the queue must have 'Caller Waiting' disabled. (Depending on the brand of phone, the exact term used might vary.)
STEP 4 - Configure Call Group
Here we select which phones will be available to answer calls that come in via the Call Queue.
Go to 'Admin' in the Main Menu >> Click 'Call group' under 'Call forwarding'
Enter an 'Internal number' (A 3-digit number used in the Dialplan for internal use later. E.g. 401, 402 or 403) This internal number must be unique and not used on Freedom yet.
Enter a Description for easy reference e.g. Sales Team
Under 'Ring method', select All (for all extensions to ring at the same time) or Random.
Advanced settings (optional) - 'Ignore call forwarding': Check 'Ignore call forwarding' - we recommend doing so as this ensures that call forwarding set on a VoIP phone can not be performed. This means that each selected member of a call group is always available to receive a call.
Advanced settings (optional) - 'Confirm calls type': Select 'None', 'Default' or 'Custom' (this is your preferred prompt language and gender). Select 'Custom' to use your own custom prompts. By selecting 'Default' you will be prompted to dial 1 to answer an inbound call or 0 to reject it. The advantage of this option is that you will know if you are receiving a business or personal call. Another benefit is that the caller will not hear your private voicemail. This is the case where your cell phone has been selected as a destination.
Destinations - 'VoIP accounts': Select the phones that must be behind the Queue here.
STEP 5 - Update your Dialplan
The final step is to add the Queue to your Dialplan. The Dialplan is where you set what must happen when someone calls your number.
Go to 'Dialplan' in the main menu
Click on the phone number that you want to add your Queue to
Empty your Dialplan or add the Queue as the last step in the Dialplan
Click Add step
Select Queue from the first drop-down menu
Select the desired Queue from the second drop-down menu
Under the first sub-step, add the Call Group that you created in 'STEP 3 - Configure Call Group'
In the empty step Max. size or time exceeded select what must happen. (This should relate to Time exceeded and Size exceeded messages that you added in 'STEP 1. Add and configure the Call Queue'). In the screenshot below, the customer has decided to select Disconnect call
If you want to play audio (between the notification messages) while a caller is waiting you can add Music on Hold as a step before the Queue in the Dialplan.