ACD queues (automatic call distribution queues) allow your company's representatives to handle calls one at a time while new callers wait in line for the next available agent. Call queues are great for high businesses that experience high volume customer calls, as they allow your representatives to effectively deal with each incoming call without losing other callers to busy signals or unanswered phones.
Your representatives, or agents, which want to handle incoming calls from the queue must log in to the queue in order to begin receiving calls. When your agents have finished for the day, or no longer wish to continue receiving calls from the queue they must log out of the queue. Logging in and out of the queue is done by dialing the queue's login extension. See below for an explanation.
Setting up a call queue for the first time may seem like a daunting task but is actually quite simple and is generally a one time process.
Creating an ACD Queue:
- Click 'Create New Application' at the top of the Apps page, then select 'ACD Queue' > 'Create a new ACD Queue'
- Enter the name for your queue, something descriptive like "Tech Support Queue" or "Billing Queue" is generally best
- Queue Channels: this is the maximum amount of queued up callers allowed in your queue. The monthly cost of your queue is related to this number. ACD Queues come with 5 channels for $19.95 and then $19.95 per channel thereafter.
- Caller Timeout: is the maximum amount of time you would like any caller to stay in queue before being automatically routed to the timeout destination
- Timeout Destination: this is the location to which timed out callers will be automatically routed to. Also, if no agents happen to be logged into the queue then this again serves as a failover destination.
- Member Timeout: the queue will ring each logged in agent according to the ring strategy for this amount of time, e.g. in the case of round robin each member will be rung for the amount of time specified here, before moving on to the next agent in the cycle
Ring Strategy: this determines the manner in which your agents will be delivered calls from the queue. Junction Networks offers four ring strategies currently:
- Round Robin: each agent is rung in succession beginning with the last agent succeeding the last agent to answer a call
- Fewest Calls: the agent to have answered the fewest calls thus far is delivered all calls
- Ring all: rings all agents simultaneously
- Random: randomly selects agents to send the next call to
- Member Delay: use this to allow an agent to accept a call from the queue, but still give them a few moments to prepare before connecting them with the caller
- Wrap Up Time: this value when set will be sure that the agent does not begin receiving new calls from the queue for this amount of time. If agents require a few moments to record notes or other final tasks then this value is useful
- Announce Hold Time: When set to 'yes' or 'only once' your callers in queue will be played status messages regarding their position in queue.
- Announcements Frequency: The interval at which to play announcement status updates to the callers in queue. This is only applicable when the 'Announce Hold Time' is set to 'yes'
- Report Hold Time: when set to 'yes', after your agents accept a call but before being connected to the caller will be told how long the caller they are about to speak with was waiting in queue.
- Only Indicate Ringing:This option only appears when you navigate to modify an (already existing) ACD queue, as seen in the screen shot below. This option allows a queue to seem like a ring group. If you set to "yes," callers will hear ringing, instead of announcements and/or music, as the call moves through the ACD queue.
For your agents to be able to log in to the queue and begin answering phone calls, you will need to provide your queue with a login extension.
- Click the name of the ACD Queue from the list of applications on the Apps page
- Under 'Login Extensions and Phone Numbers' click 'modify'
- Assign an extension for login
- Click 'save'
Logging Into the Queue:
To login to the queue, an agent must dial the login extension from a phone registered with OnSIP. Important: logging into the queue from an outside phone like a cell phone will NOT work. Once the agent has dialed the login extension they will be prompted to enter the login password, this may be found in the ACD queue details under 'Login Details'. Upon successfully entering the PIN the agent will be logged in and the queue will hang up the call. Now when callers begin entering the queue, the agent will receive calls.
Logging Out of the Queue:
Simply dial the queue login extension again from the phone that is logged in. If you are already logged in you will hear a message to the effect of 'Agent logged off', at which point the queue will hang up the call.
Important Notes and Suggestions:
- Unless all of your agents log out of the queue at the end of the business day, all callers calling into the queue will be waiting in line for the full caller timeout duration before failing over to the timeout destination. In order to avoid this please be sure that all agents log out when they are not answering calls
- Unexpected fail over - many people become surprised when queue calls begin ending up in their personal voice mailbox. This usually occurs when an agent is logged into the queue and has a setting to fail incoming calls over to another location after a certain period of time. If this length of time is less than the "member timeout" (see above) then the incoming queue call will fail over according to the user's incoming call preference. In order to avoid this either select a sufficiently short "member timeout" in order to subvert user timeout settings, or only log into the queue from "special" lines configured never to fail over in their incoming call preferences, this is the suggested approach.