Best way to alert agents to calls in a queue?


(Patrick Miller) #1

From what I understand, Asterisk doesn’t support BLF for displaying when calls are sitting in a queue (i.e. green = empty, red= calls in queue).

We’re at the point now where I have to make our queues only include staff members who are fully trained on a particular task, rather than including everyone in order of ability to handle it. Unfortunately, with a small staff, there are times when all members of a particular queue are unavailable. If I also leave my desk for 10 minutes and can’t monitor the queues, we could lose a customer.

Any recent innovations in BLF as far as queues go, or a different suggestion? As a small business, I’m trying to avoid mandating early-to-late working hours as a resolution, where morale is going to become a bigger issue.

Bonus points for an idea that also allows an agent to pull a call from a queue without my involvement.

Thanks.


(Dave Burgess) #2

There are two parts to this:

  1. Asterisk needs to put the information into hint that your phone will interpret.
  2. Setting up the phone to respond to the hint’s value and programming a response based on what the button should do.

Note that these are independent actions. Asterisk doesn’t actually talk to the phone’s BLF at all, and every phone is going to handle these differently.

Most phones allow BLFs respond to Hints, so adding a hint when there are calls in the queue (or the number of people in a queue) should be a reasonably simple change. You could submit a feature request to track the number of people in a queue and put it in a hint (or pay Sangoma to support you).

The problem in the second part of the question is having people picking up calls for queues that they aren’t logged in to. Dynamic agents in a queue are a reasonably simple extension to the system, and adding a soft button (even one associated with a BLF) that logged the agent into the queue should be pretty simple.


(Patrick Miller) #3

Got a bandaid solution for it. I made time groups/conditions for each team’s typical availability, and pointed each IVR option to those instead of directly to the queues. Outside of those available times, it will go to any rep online. If the team is available (based on time of day), the call will go to their queue for 5 minutes. After 5 minutes on hold, it goes to any rep available.

I may trim the 5 minutes down a bit if I see too many abandons.


(Itzik) #4

Tip: Email alerting might work for you.


(Patrick Miller) #5

Good idea but I fear people wouldn’t see it in time. Desktop notifications (i.e. Growl) would be cool. I can kind of do that with FOP2’s Chrome notifications though, but I can’t rely on all staff to keep FOP2 open all the time.


(Itzik) #6

Truth is, you either gotta have a Queue Admin which is constantly on top of all calls, or enforce agents to use FOP2 all the time (to login/off pause themselves as well.)


#8

Have youguys seen this


(Patrick Miller) #9

This doesn’t fix the issue but holy crap my staff has been begging for click-to-dial for at least a year, and I couldn’t get any other solutions to work. Thanks!!


#10

@PitzKey Email alerting?? Any tips on how to email when calls are in the queue?


(Itzik) #11

You’ll need to send your call flow to a custom dialplan before hitting the queue.

Setup a custom destination that points to pre-q-alert, s,1
Set the return destination to the queue.

You’ll need something like this in extensions_custom.conf

[pre-q-alert]
exten => s,1,Noop(Entering custom email alert context in extensions_custom.conf)
exten => s,n,System(echo caller ID and whatever info/variables you want to email | mail -s youremail@domain.com)
exten => s,n,Return()

#12

Thanks for the reply @PitzKey

I was hoping for a notification to indicate calls waiting in queue :slight_smile:


(Dave Burgess) #13

Right now, if someone is waiting in the queue, a free phone will ring. Seems like a pretty intuitive interface.

A long time ago, someone wrote a Queue Display Board app intended for use in a call center office that tracked real-time stats and how many people were waiting in the queue. Something like that, maybe?

You should be able to program a BLF with a hint that talks to people waiting in the queue.

There are more (like FOP2, for example) that can give different kinds of indicators.

None of these is like the other - what are you actually looking for?


(Itzik) #14

What I posted will send an email as soon as a call hits the Queue.

If you want desktop notifications, look at FOP2.


#15

You could write a cron job (every x minutes) that executes a script that:

  1. Queries the number of calls in a queue and stores it as a variable.
  2. Evaluates the variable and takes an action.
    Ex. if CIQ>=4, send email, otherwise do nothing.

If you took this approach it is worth mentioning that you could execute notifications in other ways (outside of email) too, like a automated phone call or SMS.


#16

@cynjut a blf indicating calls waiting in queue would be nice, but I didnt think there was a BLF option for that.

Typically there is only one agent logged in to the queue so some type of notification that there are calls waiting, or a waiting threshold that has been hit then another agent could login. Dont want to overflow to another queue as this would mess with the queue stats.

Have been looking at FOP2, but was hoping for something that didnt require a 3rd party install of another app


#17

@comtech, interesting approach. Thanks, off to work on scripting to give it a try!


#18

Good luck! As you keep tinkering you’ll have so many options, it really is only limited by your imagination. :slight_smile:


(Dave Burgess) #19

Check the Hints report. There’s a ton of hints in there you can use.


#20

I forgot to mention Queue Wallboards (1st party commercial module) may be an option for you as well.

https://wiki.freepbx.org/display/FPG/Queue+Wallboard


#21

That module wasnt available when I installed the system (just a few months ago). Had just noticed that it was available now, but at $395 per year its a little expensive. Already have purchased modules to support the project but that one is a little steep. I’m sure there is lots of insight with the application. If it was $395 one time, it would be an easier sell.