Disappointed - Music on Hold**IDEAS.3CX.COM

Discussion in '3CX Phone System - General' started by captivateglobal, Apr 1, 2011.

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  1. captivateglobal

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    There was an amazing amount of discussion around Music on Hold in v9, in fact from v5 to v9 it is has been a topic of hot contention on the forums.

    Since it was such a huge topic on the forums, in fact one of the larger threads around (of course with alot of input from parties such as myself) and 3CX engineers were commenting on it taking ideas for simple additions/fixes to make life a lot easier, I had assumed we might see some action on Music On Hold, however, v10 beta is here, and not one single mention or change of MoH.

    Some great features such as full g.722 support and support for new Grandstream/Yealink handsets are great. Even the new 3CX MyPhone portal is a welcome addition.

    However I'm just sorely disappointed that it does not appear to be a concern of 3CX that they want to improve their Music on Hold capability. You can be sure for every person who is vocal about an issue there are hundreds more who feel the same way but won't bother to take up the issue. I have been personally told by resellers they have lost deals due to MoH.

    I have come in on every angle I can think of to convince 3CX that MoH is something that needs urgent action, not only so I can deliver to our customers who now use 3CX, but so they can increase the ability to sell to 'traditional PABX' owners. Yet even in brand new betas after an entire year of campaigning to have something done about this with multiple resellers backing me up - there is nothing, no mention at all.

    I had stopped posting on the forums as I thought enough noise had been generated to get something done about it, but evidently not. I would hope by the tenth version of this system they would have implemented External Music on Hold, something which is available in 95% of phone systems out there.

    Does anyone else feel a bit frustrated about the lack of traction on MoH?
     
  2. KerryG

    KerryG Active Member

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    Re: Disappointed

    There is an excellent thread on this here: http://3cx.ideascale.com/a/dtd/82355-9854
     
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  3. nb

    nb Support Team
    Staff Member 3CX Support

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    Re: Disappointed

    But in short what is the problem with Music on hold? What is missing?

    You have the ability to specify 5 different music on hold files.
    Plus you can choose to randomize them either per call or per day.
     
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  4. captivateglobal

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    Re: Disappointed

    I can give you a couple more examples of input methods and features which are missing from the MoH in 3CX.

    First of all, there's no external input whatsoever. There's a limit of five files and they all start from the same spot every time, which gets quite annoying for repeat callers. When we call a business and are put on hold, we expect to 'drop into' the on-hold, traditionally companies use an external media player such as a CD player for their on hold source, and usually have their marketing messages produced and given to them on CD.

    So the automatic argument is, just get them to send you the mp3 file. That's great, but not only do you then have to convert it yourself which takes some knowledge about codecs (great if you're the IT guy, probably not otherwise), but then it starts at the exact start everytime. The production will contain a bunch of messages but you'll hammer your callers with the same message every time in the same order.

    So then the argument is, split it into five files, and set it to random! Problem solved, right? Well, not exactly. Now you need to split your on hold production up, again requiring some audio production knowledge (and often it wont have gaps in which to split it) - which then is going to require your marketing company to give you five seperate tracks, either way the callers are most likely going to hear the same one straight away a few times.

    That first few seconds of being on-hold is important - it's where the caller is actually 'paying attention' before they tend to 'tune out' to being on hold and wait for a 'Hello?'. So even the five random files doesn't give you exactly what you want - which is to have the caller given a different onhold message each time they are put on hold.

    Allowing an external input via the system's sound card would be the optimal solution and is what exists in other platforms, allowing the customer to use their on-hold playback unit to its full effect.

    So then comes the selection side of things - say I have a business which has a sales and support component. I want to play an on-hold message to callers on the sales line which promotes products, to increase sales. However, it's pretty unlikely people who are calling for support will want to purchase anything, and I want to play an 'FAQ' on there to try and solve any FAQs before my agents have to answer the call.

    Add to this, I also want, if my services go down, to put that on my on-hold. I want to record it and 'slot it in' the playlist for the Support queue - don't want my Sales prospects to be told I'm having problems though.

    None of this is possible with 3CX as it does not support multiple input sources, any way to select which callers hear which of those sources, or indeed any form of playlisting for it's mp3 files, over and above the 'five random files' method which can only ever support a limited configuration.

    Put simply, it's missing external input, any form of multiple inputs and as a result lacks 'MoH Source Selection'. The ability to play music on hold is there, in it's absolute infancy, that's all. Anything more and that's exactly what 3CX is missing.
     
  5. nb

    nb Support Team
    Staff Member 3CX Support

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    Re: Disappointed - Music on Hold

    Thank you for your comments. It would be great to have these features separated in main points in Ideas.3cx.com.
     
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  6. captivateglobal

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    I did. However they were marked as off-topic.

    I didn't bother to post them up again, I asked Kerry if he could post one (live stream) ability as I have mentioned it's the best 'bang for buck' feature. Luckily his idea was not marked off topic or deleted, and has got some 63 votes. Has been 'Disagreed' by 'stepanyer' who I believe is a 3CX engineer, however.

    I must admit I'm getting really frustrated.

    Do you suggest I go to the trouble to type this all out again? I spent hours typing the original ideas in clear, concise ways. Honestly, all you need to do is look at a system such as Asterisk to see how MoH should be handled. It's plain as day. They all do it like that. Why should I have to write these massive 'feature definitions' only to have them marked off-topic, or in the case of the forum thread I started in v9, just disappear one day?

    Anyway, there's clear support for the feature on the boards. I've outlined how to deal with MoH contexts and other input sources in the 'missing' thread which you can find using Google Cache. I'm not going to paste the link here, because that wouldn't feel right.

    What is most frustrating of all, is nothing ever happens. I just see 'Thanks for your comments' and 'Please explain more' and never see anything happen. Searching the forums there are posts as far back as 2008 or even before, with people complaining about the MoH. I can tell you that I know a number of FRUSTRATED 3CX users, who have moved onto 3cx, are finding 90% of the features amazing, but really, really fuming about the lack of MoH support. Search the forums to find many more.

    And this has been going on for years, and years, and years. And nothing is ever even done. Last version 3CX expanded so you could have 'up to 5 files' - 'big woop'! They still start the same, even if you set them to random. This section of 3CX does not represent the great quality and attention to detail that is present in most other sections of 3CX.

    So splitting these 'features' into seperate main points in ideas.3cx.com is going to go nowhere, as I already did it, and it went nowhere (literally, into nowhere). I'm disgusted that 'Nick Galea' would mark a feature request for MoH as 'off topic'. The fact the replacement MOH Stream idea (posted by Kerry G) is still alive is probably only because he's a large reseller of 3CX products.

    At the end of this, I'm just left frustrated after putting alot of effort into trying to push this forward, 'Stepan Yer' seems to think it's a joke. Yet there's hundreds of posters on this forum whom are demanding the ability at least for live streaming. Context/source selection would be an added bonus.

    Why don't 3CX do something about this?
     
  7. KerryG

    KerryG Active Member

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    Many existing systems here in the US have equipment for playing Music on Hold music. Some of it is over-the-air, some of it comes into a box over the internet, and some of it is a special CD player. In all of these cases the output is a line out port that could easily be plugged into the line in on a soundcard. I understand that this may be a pain in the but in terms of DirectSound and other technical issues so actual sound card model support may need to be limited. Regardless, when we are forklifting out an existing system that already has a MoH system that the customer is happy with and need to move to a far less capable system, this is a problem point. Even the low-end Cisco UC320 has a line in port.

    I will argue the point the some of the commercial Asterisk system do not inherently support streaming in. trixbox Pro and SwitchVox have no interface for this even though Asterisk supports it.With trixbox Pro I know this has been a major complaint point but at least they can solve it by adding a line into your config template if you open a support ticket.
     
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  8. captivateglobal

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    A new post on the IdeaScale board today commenting on this idea:

     
  9. instantexpert

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    I'm going to add my voice here. I'm not a reseller and my need for better MOH is not that great. The one MP3 we have sort-of covers us but the "start at the same place" problem still bothers us greatly.

    Quite simply, if I told my boss that 3 years after buying into your product, that the MOH issue still would not be resolved, he would have chosen another path. A single line-in would solve our problem.

    3CX engineers have dismissed this idea as irrelevant, customers haven't.
     
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  10. KerryG

    KerryG Active Member

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    You have to be very careful when generalizing statements about users and customers. When people don't like something, they are highly vocal about it and while I would love to see advanced MoH, I also want to see lots of other features that have a higher priority to me than MoH. Given a set of finite developer resources, features have to be prioritized. Improvements to the Assistant, FollowMe, Security, Scalability, Provisioning, EMail Notifications, Recording Prompts from phones, Improved Conferencing, Improved Queues, G722 Support, and many others are all considered to be high priority to different people. I do not believe that it is because 3CX doesn't care or thinks something is irrelevant (specific developers excluded) its an issue of having a huge list of features that people are asking for and not having an unlimited budget to hire programmers. There are absolutely things that I have begged for that are not coming in v10 but the overall package is still getting better and better with each new rev and the feature set is growing at an acceptable pace.
     
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  11. instantexpert

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    Kerry,

    I would agree with you that there are a great many features that are important to others. I would not have said what I did if, in this very thread, 3CX staff had not shown a distinct lack of understanding of why their MOH system is inadequate.

    So, yes, *everyone's* pet feature is most important to that individual person. Based on what I've read, however, it seems that the 80/20 solution would be to accept audio from the default audio input and let customers manage it themselves. Multiple sources for multiple queues and other advanced features could be delayed until the future.

    The thing that blows me away about MOH is that great effort goes into rewriting the assistant to be Silverlight but a feature that should take a very small amount of time to implement in a good-enough fashion for most people is ignored for years. I don't think people are saying "I lost sales because the assistant wasn't Silverlight" as often as "I lost sales because a basic feature common since the 80s is missing".

    That said, everything I've seen is anecdotal so I could very well be quite mistaken.
     
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  12. captivateglobal

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    3CX's input to date has been to say that there is no plans to dedicate any resource to Music on Hold in the future, and basically I was told to stop talking about it.

    Some time ago I asked if I could tell this directly to my customers, I was told that it would be unprofessional and that 3CX would not appreciate this. I still, to date, have given my customers and resellers the line of 'it's currently in discussion at 3CX' however I've been saying this for well over a year now, and I still have nothing else to say except negativity - which at 3CX request I have not told anyone that they can effectively kiss an effective MoH implementation goodbye.

    The title of the thread sums up everything I feel about 3CX. There are some amazing features in 3CX as I have always said but Music on Hold is sorely lacking and the company is downright rude and obnoxious towards their resellers and customers asking for the feature.

    You only need read one of the many 'PLEASE GIVE US BETTER MOH' threads in the community forums from v5 onwards to see the appalling responses provided by 3CX. I don't understand when they are great at delivering cutting-edge features that hit the mark for what the customers are asking for, why they can't do the same for Music on Hold.

    My only conclusion is that there has been a massive overlooking of MoH and in fact the system is incapable of delivering MoH without a complete restructure of it's call handling methods - which obviously is not going to happen.

    I want 3CX to come clean and tell their customers and resellers what they plan to do with Music on Hold, though I guess they already have and we're just clinging to the hopes of getting decent MoH since the system is so great in many other areas.

    And can I take this opportunity to express my dissatisfaction with the 3CX engineer Stepan Yer's communications on this issue. He has been downright derogatory towards those seeking to deliver a professional service to our customers. I don't care what company you work for or what you do, you should not be telling people they're silly for paying attention to what happens when a customer is on hold.
     
  13. KerryG

    KerryG Active Member

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    Early one as I started using 3CX and regularly read through the forums I found responses from certain people at 3CX to be less than professional. It didn't take long to figure out that most of these were from 3CX programmers, not managers. Add to that the cultural and even language differences and you have a situation that is very easy to misinterpret how someone is meaning to say something, and things said in a way that might not be appropriate.

    Things said in this forum from 3CX developers are often said without any filter as they would be if only a community director or upper management person was the only person posting. So when I see one of the developers make a comment that is not very professional I understand that this is that person's comment and not the official word from the company. When it happens and I see it I try to point it out to the right people at 3CX to help get things clarified.
     
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  14. captivateglobal

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    I don't mind engineers and developers commenting on the forum, but I find it extremely odd that a developer is commenting against developing something. It's worrying, to say the least, that the internal staff don't care about what happens to calls when they're not talking to someone or inside an IVR.

    Considering you spend a lot of time on the phone NOT talking to someone - transfers, holds, IVR, ringing and the like, it would be nice to see some attention paid to that side of a phone system. At the moment it's just, here's a noise so you don't feel like you've been disconnected.

    It would be nice if the developers cared about the quality of their product. All this Silverlight control panel wank-factor is great, but as has been pointed out plenty, getting the basic functionality of an 80s analogue phone system should not even be a question, in fact it's stunning that this functionality isn't there, given the competitors in the market.

    3CX is an on-site PBX, sure you can set it up as hosted, but it's not a tightly controlled hosted environment such as TB Pro. As was pointed out in the IdeaScale comments, there are no direct competitors to 3CX (on-site PBX setup) that fail to offer this functionality. Only hosted systems offer no line-in functionality - however they commonly offer mp3 or other forms of streaming input.

    So it's safe to say that 3CX is the only PBX in it's class that does not offer any functionality for Music on Hold outside the fact that there is something playing on hold. There are no contexts, no playlists, no 'loops' and definately no fun.

    I just wonder if the community would like to see replies I've received from 3CX staff about this - and from no less than the top dog. I'm sure it's unprofessional - but I'm a man of my morals, and I think people would think twice about doing business with 3CX had they seen the way in which our approaches for integration have been treated.

    Kerry, you were a member of the thread which was deleted. You would have seen the posts from me detailing everything possibly needed to know about MoH setups. I've even offered our direct support for development of MoH. We believe we have ready-to-insert .NET objects that can specifically deliver this functionality for 3CX without them needing to develop it themselves.

    However you know the result of that is that the thread was deleted. And most likely, this thread will be deleted too, for mentioning the fact the other one was deleted (along with all the ideas we started and garnered votes on).

    So the responses from the 3CX programmers are fine. They don't agree, but that's one issue. The responses from 3CX management? Well, the response has been to DELETE the discussions. That would definitely be judged as unprofessional, if not draconian in nature.

    Perhaps you could point out to 3CX that people aren't -that- stupid, and this kind of conduct will ultimately never gain them business (who's going to see this and think, oh cool, I like these guys), and will probably end up in lost renewals.

    Just google for 3CX MoH or 3CX Music on Hold, you'll see what I mean. Link one goes to this Live MoH idea, link two goes to the API idea, which was marked off-topic by the moderator..

    If I'm doing serious research on what system to replace my current one with, and I have a Music on Hold player of some description with my valued (and often expensive) professional marketing productions on it, I'm going to do searches like this, and I'm going to uncover these pages of unhappy customers and ranting forum posts.

    You can delete them all you want, but people will continue to be vocal about it. This will NOT go away until 3CX does something about it. 3CX might be the best thing since sliced bread for a number of reasons, but it's useless as far as marketing goes. No reasonable marketing manager would allow their phone system to be installed without some form of MoH control.

    *EDIT: Interesting reading from Google:

    http://3cx.ideascale.com/a/dtd/Music-on-Hold-Live-Feed-Stream/75419-9854
    http://3cx.ideascale.com/a/dtd/Create-API-for-MoH-Suppliers/81149-9854
     
  15. Fatboy40

    Fatboy40 New Member

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    Quote of the day there my friend, and I absolutely agree !.
     
  16. SY

    SY Well-Known Member
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    I posted this information a long time ago.
    The problem is not how to provide/to feed MOH, there are hundred methods/tricks to do it, and billions may be developed. The problem is how to manage it (intuitive user interface)
    to be honest, "play list of sound files", "SIP/RTP tricks with temporary redirection of media streams" and "linein" are not much better then 5 sound files. It is my humble opinion.

    I know that spacecrafts are already working on the Earth orbit, but, alas, they don't make us closer to the stars...

    if cultural and lingual barriers are not allowing us to understand each other even in discussion about (really) small technical thing, then we are definitely talking about different things when discussing MOH... "morals", "language" and "culture" are too generic definitions and they should not be mentioned in this context

    Thanks for your attention and sorry for my poor English.
     
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  17. captivateglobal

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    This is the problem here SY, it appears you and the 3CX management in general believe that five wave files with no way to manage whom is played what is able to service MoH requirements for everyone. This is simply not true.

    I have provided what you are asking to you before, a snapshot of user interface and how to manage it, along with general explanation of how to handle MoH in a phone system (context / source selection etc). This was in the thread that got deleted. Do you want me to post it again?

    Do this: take line input, and allow it to be used as MoH source. That is ALL you have to do to please a lot of people. I can't believe you are still arguing that you need 'intuitive user interface' - you could just put an extra button: 'Use Line In for MoH', and be done.

    If you want to get more advanced with MoH, then allow multiple sources to be created as per the outline I gave you before hand, then have each extension/trunk with a setting for MoH source. This is not a feature that is new by any stretch, multiple MoH source have been around since before IP Telephony.

    If it's not difficult to implement, like you say, why don't you do something? I don't think the user-base care what it looks like, as long as they can guarantee to their users and prospects they can do it, they're fine. Setting up multiple sources and making a snazzy management panel can come later! Just get line-in working.
     
  18. igor.snezhko

    igor.snezhko Active Member

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    I am not a professional programmer, but as I remember from the colledge, you can add Windows Media Player Control at any .NET application
    http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/dd564585(v=VS.85).aspx

    Then you have to deal with WMP playlists an etc.. , and not have to develop any interface at 3CX...

    Microsoft will develop interface for you :)
     
  19. instantexpert

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    SY,

    If people were using linein by just playing a looping CD, then it really isn't much better. However, I can come up with several reasons this is dramatically better in many cases:

    1. My administrative assistant can manage the music as CD, radio, marketing materials without ever touching your admin console. This is big. The person who manages the phone system is not always going to be the person managing the MOH.
    2. The audio stream doesn't start at the same place each time.
    3. If I really wanted to, I could write my own audio management routines for my linein source.
    4. You would have caught up with the 1980s.

    Leon
     
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  20. KerryG

    KerryG Active Member

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    Even the low-end Cisco UC320 has a line-in port. Managing it should be fairly simple. Wherever there is a MoH option as there is today, a checkbox next to it says "Use Line In", if that is checked then the rest of the components gray out since they would not be needed.
     
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