Great new features released for Teams Calling!
There have been a few features customers have asked me if Teams Calling support through the years and I've unfortunately have had to tell them NO. Sometimes the feature is low priority, so they still move forward with Teams Calling, knowing Microsoft is continuously making improvements and other types it is a showstopper.
A few of those features have been released and I'm excited about them. Probably (definitely) annoyingly so for my customers when I geek out about them, but to each their own ;).
See below for the most recent changes in Teams Calling!
Call Queues can now route calls when no agents are opted/logged in.
I am super excited for this feature. In the past when tiers would be set up for call queues, there was not a way to bypass the first tier if an agent weren't available. So, if you have it set to ring for 45 seconds, it will ring for 45 seconds, even if all the agents were off that day. This was hard for customers because usually that first tier would be a small number of receptionists who always wanted first dibs on answering the main line. Then tier 2 would be set up for overflow. I was asked all the time, well, what if the agents in the first tier are off that day, how long does it ring before it goes to the second tier? My answer would have been 45 seconds. Which honestly for me, was unacceptable. There were ways to work around this (add the backup users to tier 1 and they can log in when needed) but that requires more work for the user. My goal for setting up Teams Call Queues and Auto Attendants is to have the least amount of management at the end of the day. I want the system to recognize when agents are not available, pick-up holidays, company outings, automatically switch to summer hours and play a different message....I can get pretty creative in my solutions! Take advantage of this feature and change up your call queues today!
Found in the 'Exception handling' tab within the Call Queue:
Teams Phones can now auto-dial a number (hotline or PLAR private line auto ringdown).
This feature is something some legacy phone systems can do without issue. Use Case: A secure building allows customers to enter door 1 but need to request access to door 2. Currently they have a phone on the call they can pick up and it automatically goes to user(s) inside. In the past I would say, well no, we can't do that natively, but putting a sign up saying to dial a number can be put up. Honestly, I would create a normalization plan in the Global dial plan to create an extension which would call a number or a Call Queue so more than one user has the option to answer it. That solution will no longer be needed.....unless you have a Yealink. Which is unfortunate because the Yealink MP56 is most likely the most common Teams Phone out there. In my opinion Teams physical phones need quite a bit of work yet. I am constantly helping customers with extra ringing when they answer, lag in voice back and forth, always having to turn off the 'lightweight experience' on the Yealink phones (MS recommends disabling it, why is it even there?!) I digress.....
Hotline is only available on te Poly, Crestron and AudioCodes phones. With the Teams app version 1149/126.96.36.1993072509. The phone account should have a Shared Device license and be in the CommonAreaPhoneSignIn, Sign In Mode. Then go to Settings->Device Settings->Calling->Hotline to specify an auto dial contact and enter a display name. This is currently only supported by manually making these changes on the phone but will soon be available in the Teams Admin Center.
This update also includes a redesigned dial pad. This could help reduce mistakes while dialing a phone number and offers a dial pad only view in large landscape phones.
A few other features worth noting in this update:
The user experience on calls app and sidecar was made light weight to improve performance.
Date and time are now displayed in the top title bar across all apps.
Reverse phone number lookup for PSTN number on call queue calls.
No longer needing to enter an Admin PIN on common area phones to log out.
I'm VERY happy to see Teams App updates on physical phones. When I have customers that have 100 users and want 100 phones, I cringe...I am really honest with them and set expectations of the fact Microsoft has A LOT of work to do there.