Configuring Call Queues
On this topic
Call Queues allow calls to be queued whilst agents (members of a call queue) answer calls. Calls do not go unanswered but wait in a queue until an agent is available to take the call.
For example, you can define a group of three sales people, and have the general sales number route to a sales call queue. If all three sales people are busy, callers will be kept in the queue until the next sales person is free.
When you create a call queue, you also assign it a virtual extension number. This will be the number used by the phone system to “address” the Call Queue.
Creating a Call Queue
To add a Call Queue:
In the 3CX Phone Management Console, select “Call Queues” > “Add Queue”. Now enter the call queue options:
- Virtual extension number – Optionally change the suggested virtual extension number. Note that this extension number will be automatically created. Do not specify an existing extension number.
- Name – Enter a friendly name for the Queue.
- Polling strategy – This option allows you to choose how calls should be distributed to agents:
- Hunt random start – 3CX will randomly choose an agent to distribute the call to. This will evenly distribute the calls to each of the agents.
- Ring All – The phones of ALL the agents will ring.
- Prioritised Hunt – 3CX will distribute the call according to the order specified in the Queue members section. All calls will go to the first agent first, and only if this agent is busy, it will go to the next agent. This strategy can be used to set up skills based routing, by ordering the agents according to their skills.
- Ring timeout – Indicate the timeout in seconds, i.e. for how long the phone should keep ringing before it considers the call unanswered by that agent.
Configuring Queue Options
You can configure advanced queue options such as destination if no answer, maximum queue length is reached and maximum queue waiting time is reached.
- In the “Destination if no answer” section, you can define what should happen if the call does not get answered by an agent. If no agent is logged into the queue, this option gets triggered immediately. In addition, this option gets triggered if the caller presses the ‘*’ button on his phone. This gives callers an option to exit out of the queue and leave a message.
- In the “Other options” section, you can specify a custom introduction prompt and a custom music on hold file. You can now choose whether to play the full intro prompt before the system starts to call queue agents. You can also decide whether you wish to announce a caller’s position in the queue and what the maximum wait time should be.
Now go to the Agents tab to specify the extensions that should be part of this Call queue.
- Click on the extensions and click on “Add” to make them a member. Move the extensions up or down to configure the priority of an extension.
- To add an Agent that is connected via an external number click the “Add” button next to “Add External Agent Number”. Fill in the external agent’s details (an extension will also be created for the external agent). Click “OK” when done and the external agent will be added to your queue.
In addition to being a member, an extension/user must also login to start answering calls routed to this call queue. Users can login to a call queue using the login button in the 3CXPhone or via a schedule using the Office Hours Schedule.
Advanced (PRO Edition)
3CX Phone System Pro Edition adds additional Call Centre like features. No further installation is required – you just purchase the module, reactivate your existing key and the additional call queue features will become available.
Additional Queue Strategies
With the Pro edition, you have these additional Queue strategies:
- Longest Waiting Time – Will forward a call to the agent who has been waiting the longest to take a call.
- Least Talk Time – Will forward the call to the agent with the least total talk time.
- Fewest Answered – Will forward the call to the agent that has answered the least number of calls.
- Hunt by threes prioritized – Will forward the call to the top 3 agents (as configured in the call queue agent section simultaneously).
- Hunt by threes random start – Will send call to 3 random agents simultaneously.
- Round Robin – Will target only active agents, that are logged into the queue, in round robin manner, i.e. first call will be sent to agent 1, the second call to agent 2 and so on.
Additional Queue Options
In the PRO edition, you have additional options that you can configure:
- You can enable a Callback option – This allows callers to hang up and get called back when it’s their turn. This option requires that you specify an outbound rule to which the configured prefix, matching the rule, is used to trigger the call. The Callback option can be requested by the caller (Option 2) or it can be offered, if the timeout of the queue is reached.
- You can specify the wrap up time in seconds – This gives the agent time to enter notes into the call record after taking a call.
- You can specify the maximum number of callers in the queue – When this is reached, the caller will be routed according to the setting in the “Destination if no answer” section.
- Reset Queue statistics – Detailed statistics for the queue, such as average call time, average wait time and so on are visible through the Presence and Queue Monitoring function of 3CXPhone. You can reset the Agent Call Statistics for the Queue by clicking the “Reset” button. This is also available in 3CX Wallboard.
- Call statistics can also be reset automatically using a preconfigured schedule.
- Priority Queue – The administrator can configure this queue as a priority queue. This is useful when the same people are part of two queues, and calls on one of the queues should receive priority over calls in the other queue. For example, a support team might have one line (and one queue) for normal support calls, and another line (a different queue) for VIP customers. Both queues are serviced by the same people. The queue for VIP customers will have the “Priority Queue” feature enabled.
- Give Caller ability to opt out of recording: This gives the option to the caller to press DTMF 3 to stop being recorded during a call.
- Configure SLA Time .
- Queue Notifications – Various notifications can be enabled so that the Queue Manager is notified when certain conditions are encountered, such as the SLA time has been breached, or a call in the Queue has been lost.