There’s another SfB call handling option that we haven’t covered yet, called Shared Line Appearance, or SLA. Where Call Pickup Group felt like “let’s cram old school PBX functionality into SfB”, SLA feels like “Let’s cram old school key system functionality into SfB”.
The first step is to create a CsServerApplication, which provides the queue-like functionality. This runs on your FEs, and you only do this setup once.
Create a User
With SLA, you create a user object (that’s not assigned to an actual person, it’s like the phantom user concept), and assign the Line URI to that user.
Next up is creation of the CsSLAConfiguration that’s not unlike what we saw for Response Group Queues:
- Set a maximum number of calls
- Set busy option, which is what happens when the maximum number of calls is exceeded (like a Queue overflow). Options are busy on busy – a busy signal!, voicemail, or to forward the call to another SIP address.
- Set Missed Call (no answer) option – disconnect, busy signal, or forward to another SIP address.
I don’t understand why an organization would allow a call to ring, and then when it’s not answered, send a busy signal to the caller. One would think that voicemail – even a greeting with no option to leave a message – would provide a better option, but hey, there’s no option to send a Missed Call to voicemail!
The last bit of functionality that you configure is to configure user(s) as delegates of the SLA object created above.
When a call comes in to the Shared Line, all of the delegates phones will ring, showing the caller’s information. Delegates can also see how many calls are “queued”, and can see who has answered each call.
Delegates cannot place an outbound call on behalf of an SLA. Further, SLA is only supported on certain models of deskphones. Windows, Mac, and mobiles do not support SLA.
I’ve never deployed SLA for a main number. In fact, I’ve never deployed SLA, have never met a customer who has, and could not find any coworkers who have, either. Compared to Team Ring (or Delegation) of a phantom user, SLA is limited to certain devices and doesn’t allow outbound calling like Delegation (which is odd, since SLA uses Delegation under the hood). I don’t understand why there is an option to send a call to voicemail when the “queue” has too many calls, and no option for sending a call to voicemail when it’s not answered.
I don’t recommend SLA for handling a main number for an organization that faces the public or paying customers. If you’re considering SLA for other uses, you need to set it up and test, test, test to see if it’s going to meet your needs. My guess is that it won’t.