How to enable and disable operator assistance

On September 30, 2023, we will retire operator assistance in Azure AD Multi-Factor Authentication and it will no longer be available. To avoid service disruption, follow the steps in this topic to disable operator assistance before September 30, 2023.

Operator assistance is a feature within Azure AD that allows an operator to manually transfer phone calls instead of automatic transfer. When this setting is enabled, the office phone number is dialed and when answered, the system asks the operator to transfer the call to a given extension.

Operator assistance can be enabled for an entire tenant or for an individual user. If the setting is On, the entire tenant is enabled for operator assistance. If you choose Phone call as the default method and have an extension specified as part of your office phone number (delineated by x), an operator can manually transfer the phone call.

For example, let's say a customer in U.S has an office phone number 425-555-1234x5678. When operator assistance is enabled, the system will dial 425-555-1234. Once answered, the customer (also known as the operator) is asked to transfer the call to extension 5678. Once transferred and answered, the system recites the normal MFA prompt and awaits approval.

If the setting is Off, the system will automatically dial extensions as part of the phone number. Your admin can still specify individual users who should be enabled for operator assistance by prefixing the extension with ‘@’. For example, 425-555-1234x@5678 would indicate that operator assistance should be used, even though the setting is Off.

You can check the status of this feature in your own tenant by navigating to the Azure AD portal, then in the left pane, click Security > MFA > Phone call settings. Check Operator required to transfer extensions to see if the setting is On or Off.

Screenshot of operator assistance settings

You can improve the reliability, security, and create a frictionless MFA experience by using the following guidance: