Call Queue Timers and Tips

If you need backup or alternate agents to answer a call, Call Queues offer a number of ways to do this with call distribution methods like round robin or serial routing. Every so often, I encounter an organization that wants to have a second Call Queue be a backup or escalation for a primary Call Queue.

This could be because the primary Call Queue already has multiple agents that are busy, so a second Call Queue is needed to add a second list of ordered agents. It can often be because the organization wants a different call routing method used for the backup vs the primary. For example, the primary might be round-robin, and the back might be attendant. That would be a case of “if you’ve tried everyone available in customer service in round-robin, now try everyone in inside sales at the same time”.

There are some considerations here with Call agent alert time (how long each agent rings for) and call timeout handling (how long the caller is in this queue before some timeout action takes place), as well as the Call overflow handling (what to do when there are too many callers waiting in this queue).

Let’s start with a simple example. If you have an Agent Alert time of 15 seconds and a Call Timeout value of 20 seconds, the caller will remain in the queue for 30 seconds:

This is because the “Call Timeout” value is only considered each time the Agent Alert Time expires. At the 15 second mark, the first Agent Alert time has expired, Teams checks the Call Timeout and it has not expired, so it rings another agent and keeps the caller in the Queue.

After 30 seconds when the second Agent Alert time expires, Teams checks the call Timeout and finds it has expired and takes the timeout action that you’ve defined.

Call Overflow handling takes place when a new caller would be added to the Queue. If the Overflow value is 10 and the 11th caller tries to join, Teams will instead use the call Overflow action that you’ve defined.

Let’s say your second queue overflow and timeout actions send the caller to voicemail. Your primary queue call timeout should send callers to the second queue. However, your primary queue overflow should send users directly to the voicemail and not to the second queue. This is because these callers are new and sending them directly to the second queue means that they are skipping the line and now have less time to wait for an agent than those callers waiting in the primary queue:

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