Are Tiered queues possible?

have a client asking if they can have two levels of queue agents. Tier 1 and Teir 2.

The idea is that if extensions 201 and 202 are Tier 1 and 203, 204 are tier2. The queue will ring Tier 1 extensions unless all are busy, then ring Tier 2.

I thought about using the ring strategy linear and just put the ‘tier 2’ extensions at the end of the list but not sure how this would work IRL.

I suppose I could set up a second queue with just the tier2 extensions and on queue1 set a max callers setting. Any callers in the queue above the max callers setting would then go to queue2.

anyone have any tips suggestions for this situation?

In Asterisk, this is done using queue member penalties. It looks like these are only supported for static agents:

https://wiki.freepbx.org/display/FPG/Queues+Module+User+Guide#QueuesModuleUserGuide-StaticAgents

Full access to the feature, from the GUI, appears to require a commercial module:

https://wiki.freepbx.org/display/FPG/Queue+Penalty+Rules

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Or you can make a queue with just 201 and 202, and then after a given timeout move any remaining calls to a queue with 201, 202, 203 and 204.

Penalties may be tricky to work with - if an agent was not available, say, because they forgot to log off, or their phone broke, Asterisk would keep trying them over and over and would not try the second layer.

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You can setup auto pause if the agent fails to answer etc.

Your approach would work unless you thought there would ever be a reason for calls to go direct to Tier 2. If that ever was the case I would make two queues. On the Tier 1 queue have retry set to No Retry and have the failover destination be Tier 2. This approach should not require commercial modules.

thanks for all the input guys. Currently the client is going with just one queue but if they decide they need to have an escalation I think the Tier1/Tier2 solution is the way to go.

The problem with auto pause is that there is no automatic way to unpause. You have to force the users to remember to unpause themselves. There is also no visible notice to the users that they were paused unless you make a BLF for it.

Or you write a script to unpause agents.

Agreed.

Also helpful if the agents have a pause BLF button.

Yes, but only helpful if they leave their screen of BLF buttons on the one that has the pause BLF. That is the specific issue one of my customers has with their agents. They have no desire to pay more for a phone with more visible BLF, so the users are always switching to a different screen to park or transfer, etc.

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