Why move the Auto Attendant into the Contact Center?

Many Call Center applications have an Automated Attendant front end call tree.  Typically, you  might have an Automated Attendant that plays the familiar On-Hours recoding: “Thank you for calling our company, press 1 for technical support and 2 for sales support”.  The question asked in today’s blog is: should the Automated Attendant be located in the PBX or in the Call Center? There are very interesting ramifications for each of these options.

Generally, with out thinking this question through, the easy answer is to have the PBX do the front end Automated Attendant.  In the ShoreTel world, the On-Hours/Off-Hours scheduling of the changes to the call tree and messages played is so “brilliantly simple” that everyone will select this implementation strategy.   In our simple example above, selecting either option will direct the caller via a route-point/IRN marriage into the Contact Center to be processed by the appropriate Service, Group and Agent.

If you implement that Automated Attendant in the PBX, however simple it is, you potentially rob management of very urgent call detail information. Typically, the Off-Hours location is a general delivery mailbox in the PBX anyway, so why not just keep it all in the PBX?   If the Automated Attendant shuttles calls to the Off-Hour location, that call may never become known to the Contact Center and therefore would  not be captured in the Contact Center Historical Reports.   Call Center Management might be very interested in knowing how many calls came into the Center before or after On-Hours!  To obtain the information the Call Center, not the PBX needs to host the Automated Attendant!

What is the result of implementing the Automated Attendant in the Call Center?  If you look at the above Automated Attendant script, you can see immediately that we need to add the famous “If you know the extension number of the person you want to speak with, dial it at any time during this recording”.   Given that you have already concluded that this is an option you want to offer clients, something a Call Center manager might not recommend, how do you implement this feature using the ShoreTel Contact Center?

There are several ways to do this on the ShoreTel ECC, but all options require the creation of a “Call Profile” value.   We have put together a quick video tutorial on how to implement a multi-digit transfer in the ShoreTel Contact Center using the Graphical Scripting Tools.   Minimally, after you create the Call Profile value you will need to have a “Get Digits” and the “Transfer” Icon.    In our example, we have created a Call Profile value named “ExtensionNumber”.  This value anticipates a three digit integer and does not require a termination character.   The GetDigits Icon is normally associated with a WAV file that prompts the caller for digits.  Once the digits are collected the are deposited into the Call Profile place holder named “ExtensionNumber”.   This value is then past to the Transfer Icon and the value is dialed by this function.   Enjoy!