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Call Queues enable calls to be queued whilst agents (members of a call queue) answer calls. Instead of calls going unanswered, the call is queued. 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 are kept in the queue until the next sales person is free to take the call.
Creating a Call Queue
To add a Call Queue click on the “Call Queues” function in the 3CX Management Console and:
- Click “Add”, enter a friendly name for the Queue and select a virtual extension number.
- Select the Polling strategy – defines how calls are distributed to agents:
- Hunt random start – randomly choose an agent to distribute the call to. This evenly distributes the calls to each of the agents.
- Ring All – ring the phones of ALL the agents.
- Prioritised Hunt – distribute the call according to the order specified in the Queue members section. All calls go to the first agent first, and only if this agent is busy, the calls 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 – specify the timeout in seconds, i.e. for how long the phone should keep ringing before the call is considered unanswered by that agent.
- Now optionally assign one or more DIDs to the queue. Calls to this DID are to be routed directly to the queue. Alternatively, you can assign an IVR menu option to the queue.
- In the “Destination if no answer” section, you can define the action to perform if the call remains unanswered within the maximum wait time. If no agent is logged into the queue, this option gets triggered immediately. This option also gets triggered if the caller presses the ‘*’ button on his phone, to give callers an option to exit out of the queue and leave a message.
- Specify a custom Music on Hold audio file in the “Music on Hold” section.
- Specify a custom introduction prompt in the “Play Intro Prompt” section and choose whether to play the full intro prompt before the system starts to poll the agents.
- In the “Options” section you can also select to announce a caller’s queue position and the specify the prompts language for the queue.
- In the “Click to Call / Click to Meet” section, you can set a user-friendly URL to enable callers to easily request remote control sessions. See how this can help your contact centre here.
- On the “Agents” tab, click “Add” to specify the member extensions for this Call queue. Move the extensions up or down to configure their priority in the queue.
- Click “OK” to create the queue.
Note: You can add external agents by creating an extension for them and configure it to “Ring Mobile Simultaneously” in “Extensions” > “Forwarding Rules” > “Options”.
Important: In addition to being a member, an extension/user must also login in this call queue to start answering routed calls. You can configure this to be linked to the “Available” or “Away” status profiles, or allow users to login manually.
Advanced Queue Features (PRO)
3CX Pro Edition includes additional Call Centre features. No further installation is required – you just upgrade, reactivate your existing key and the additional call queue features become available.
Additional Queue Strategies
With the Pro edition, you have these additional Queue strategies:
- Longest Waiting Time – forwards a call to the agent waiting the longest to take a call.
- Least Talk Time – forwards the call to the agent with the least total talk time.
- Fewest Answered – forwards the call to the agent who answered the least number of calls.
- Hunt by Threes Prioritized – forwards the call to the top 3 agents (as configured in the call queue agent section simultaneously).
- Hunt by Threes Random – sends the call to 3 random agents simultaneously.
- Round Robin – targets only active agents logged in the queue, in round robin manner, i.e. first call is sent to agent 1, second call to agent 2 and so on.
Additional Queue Options
In the PRO edition, you have additional options that you can configure:
- “Callback” option – when enabled this allows callers to hang up and get called back when it’s their turn. To use this option you need to specify the “Callback Outbound Prefix” that triggers an outbound rule to make the call. The “Callback” option can be requested by the caller, by pressing “2”, or it can be offered when the queue timeout is reached.
- “Wrap-Up Time” (seconds) – when specified, gives the agent time to enter notes into the call record after taking a call.
- “Maximum Callers in Queue” – when this number is reached, the caller is routed according to the settings in the “Destination if no answer” section.
- “Queue Statistics Reset” – Detailed statistics for the queue, i.e. average call time, average wait time, etc, are visible through the Agent Status and Queue Monitoring functions in the 3CX Web Client. You can reset the Queue Agent Calls and Wallboard statistics by clicking the “Reset” button or set a periodic schedule for automatic reset.
- “Priority Queue” – set a queue as priority, 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. 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, but the VIP customers queue is set as “Priority Queue”.
- “Queue Recording” - setting for caller opt-in or opt-out of queue recording. Depending on the option set, the caller can press DTMF 3 to opt-out or confirm being recorded.
- “Configure SLA Time” (seconds) - calls that remain in the queue more than the time set in the SLA time field, are calculated as calls breaching that SLA time limit.
- “Queue Notifications” – these options can be enabled to notify the Queue Manager for certain queue events, i.e. calls breaching the SLA time limit, or queue calls lost.