Create a call queue

Call queues provide a method of routing callers to people in your organization who can help with a particular issue or question. Calls are distributed one at a time to the people in the queue (who are known as agents).

Tip

This article is for large organizations. If your organization is a small business, read Create a call queue - small business tutorial instead.

Call queues provide:

  • A greeting message.

  • Music while people are waiting on hold in a queue.

  • Call routing - in First In, First Out (FIFO) order - to agents.

  • Handling options for queue overflow and timeout.

Be sure you have read Plan for Teams auto attendants and call queues and followed the getting started steps before you follow the procedures in this article.

Video demonstration

This video shows a basic example of how to create a call queue in Teams.

Create the call queue

To set up a call queue, in the Teams admin center, expand Voice, click Call queues, and then click Add.

Type a name for the call queue.

Resource accounts

Screenshot of resource account settings.

Click Add accounts, search for the resource account that you want to use with this call queue, click Add, and then click Add. (Agents will see the resource account name when they receive an incoming call.)

See Manage Teams resource accounts for more information.

Assign calling ID

Screenshot of calling ID settings.

If you plan to use a Teams channel for your call agents, you can assign an outbound caller ID number for the agents by specifying one or more resource accounts with a phone number.

Click Add, search for the resource accounts that you want to allow agents to for calling ID purposes when making outbound calls, click Add, and then click Add.

If you are not using a Teams channel to control agent membership, consider directly setting the caller ID for members of the call queue to the service number of the call queue or appropriate auto attendant. See Manage caller ID policies in Microsoft Teams for more information.

Language

Screenshot of language settings.

Choose a supported language. This language will be used for system-generated voice prompts and voicemail transcription (if you enable them).

Greetings and music on hold in queue

Screenshot of greetings and music on hold in queue settings.

Specify if you want to play a greeting to callers when they arrive in the queue. You must upload an MP3, WAV, or WMA file containing the greeting that you want to play. The uploaded recording can be no larger than 5 MB.

Teams provides default music to callers while they are on hold in a queue. The default music supplied in Teams call queues is free of any royalties payable by your organization. If you want to play a specific audio file, choose Play an audio file and upload an MP3, WAV, or WMA file.

Note

You are responsible for independently clearing and securing all necessary rights and permissions to use any music or audio file with your Microsoft Teams service, which may include intellectual property and other rights in any music, sound effects, audio, brands, names, and other content in the audio file from all relevant rights holders, which may include artists, actors, performers, musicians, songwriters, composers, record labels, music publishers, unions, guilds, rights societies, collective management organizations and any other parties who own, control or license the music copyrights, sound effects, audio and other intellectual property rights.

Call agents

Review the prerequisites for adding agents to a call queue.

Screenshot of users and groups settings for call queues.

Teams channel

You can add up to 200 agents via a Teams channel. Note that you must be a member of the team or the creator or an owner of the channel to add a channel to the queue.

If you want to use a Teams channel to manage the queue, select the Choose a team option and click Add a channel. Search for the team that you want to use, select it, and click Add. Select the channel that you want to use (only standard channels are supported) and click Apply.

The following clients are supported when using a Teams channel for call queues:

  • Microsoft Teams Windows client
  • Microsoft Teams Mac client

Note

If you use this option, it can take up to 24 hours for the call queue to be fully operational.

Users and groups

You can add up to 20 agents individually and up to 200 agents via groups.

If you want to add individual users or groups to the queue, select the Choose users and groups option.

To add a user to the queue, click Add users, search for the user, click Add, and then click Add.

To add a group to the queue, click Add groups, search for the group, click Add, and then click Add. You can use distribution lists, security groups, and Microsoft 365 groups or Microsoft Teams teams.

Note

New users added to a group can take up to eight hours for their first call to arrive.

Call routing

Screenshot of conference mode and routing method settings.

Conference mode significantly reduces the amount of time it takes for a caller to be connected to an agent, after the agent accepts the call. For conference mode to work, agents in the call queue must use one of the following clients:

  • The latest version of the Microsoft Teams desktop client, Android app, or iOS app
  • Microsoft Teams Phone version 1449/1.0.94.2020051601 or later

Agents' Teams accounts need to be set to Teams-only mode. Agents who don't meet the requirements aren't included in the call routing list. We recommend enabling conference mode for your call queues if your agents are all using compatible clients.

Note

Conference mode is not supported if phone calls are routed to the queue from a Direct Routing gateway that is enabled for Location Based Routing.

Tip

Setting Conference mode to On is the recommended setting.

Routing method determines the order in which agents receive calls from the queue. Choose from these options:

  • Attendant routing rings all agents in the queue at the same time. The first call agent to pick up the call gets the call.

  • Serial routing rings all call agents one by one in the order specified in the Call agents list. If an agent dismisses or does not pick up a call, the call will ring the next agent and will try all agents until it is picked up or times out.

  • Round robin balances the routing of incoming calls so that each call agent gets the same number of calls from the queue. This may be desirable in an inbound sales environment to assure equal opportunity among all the call agents.

  • Longest idle routes each call to the agent who has been idle the longest time. An agent is considered idle if their presence state is Available. Agents whose presence state is not Available will not be eligible to receive calls until they change their presence to Available.

Tip

Setting Routing Method to Round robin or Longest idle is the recommended setting.

Note

If Compliance recording is enabled on the agents, the combination of Conference mode and Attendant routing is not supported. If you need to use Conference mode, select Serial Routing, Round robin, or Longest idle as the Routing method. If you need to use Attendant routing, set Conference mode to Off.

When using Longest idle there may be times when an agent receives a call from the queue shortly after becoming unavailable or if there is a short delay in receiving a call from the queue after becoming available.

Screenshot of routing, opt out, and alert time settings.

Presence-based routing uses the availability status of call agents to determine whether an agent should be included in the call routing list for the selected routing method. Call agents whose availability status is set to Available are included in the call routing list and can receive calls. Agents whose availability status is set to any other status are excluded from the call routing list and won't receive calls until their availability status changes back to Available.

You can enable presence-based call routing with any of the routing methods.

If an agent opts out of getting calls, they won't be included in the call routing list regardless of what their availability status is set to.

Note

When Longest idle is selected as the routing method, presence-based routing is required and automatically enabled even though the Presence-based routing toggle will be Off and grayed out.

If presence-based routing is not enabled and there are multiple calls in the queue, the system will present these calls simultaneously to the agents regardless of their presence status. This will result in multiple call notifications to agents, particularly if some agents don’t answer the initial call presented to them.

Agents who use the Skype for Business client aren't included in the call routing list when presence-based routing is enabled. If you have agents who use Skype for Business, don't enable presence-based call routing.

Tip

Setting Presence-based routing to On is the recommended setting.

Agent alert time specifies how long an agent's phone will ring before the queue redirects the call to the next agent.

Tip

Setting Agent alert time to 20 seconds is the recommended setting.

Call overflow handling

Screenshot of call overflow settings.

Maximum calls in the queue specifies the maximum number of calls that can wait in the queue at any given time. The default is 50, but it can range from 0 to 200. When this limit is reached, the call is handled as specified by the When the maximum number of calls is reached setting.

You can choose to disconnect the call or redirect it to any of the call routing destinations. For example, you might have the caller leave a voicemail for the agents in the queue. For external transfers, please refer to Prerequisites and the external phone number transfers - technical details for number formatting.

Note

If the maximum number of calls is set to 0 then the greeting message will not play.

Call timeout handling

Screenshot of call timeout settings.

Call Timeout: maximum wait time specifies the maximum time a call can be on hold in the queue before it is redirected or disconnected. You can specify a value from 0 seconds to 45 minutes.

You can choose to disconnect the call or redirect it to one of the call routing destinations. For example, you might have the caller leave a voicemail for the agents in the queue. For external transfers, please refer to Prerequisites and the external phone number transfers - technical details for number formatting.

When you have selected your call timeout options, click Save.

The following settings are recommended:

  • Conference mode to On
  • Routing method to Round robin or Longest idle
  • Presence-based routing to On
  • Agent alert time: to 20 seconds

Supported clients

The following clients are supported for call agents in a call queue:

  • Skype for Business desktop client 2016 (32-bit and 64-bit versions)

  • Lync desktop client 2013 (32-bit and 64-bit versions)

  • All IP phone models supported for Microsoft Teams. See Getting phones for Skype for Business Online.

  • Mac Skype for Business Client (version 16.8.196 and later)

  • Android Skype for Business Client (version 6.16.0.9 and later)

  • iPhone Skype for Business Client (version 6.16.0 and later)

  • iPad Skype for Business Client (version 6.16.0 and later)

  • Microsoft Teams Windows client (32-bit and 64-bit versions)

  • Microsoft Teams Mac client

  • Microsoft Teams on Virtualized Desktop Infrastructure (Windows Virtual Desktop, Citrix, and VMware)

  • Microsoft Teams iPhone app

  • Microsoft Teams Android app

    Note

    Call queues that are assigned a direct routing number don't support Skype for Business clients, Lync clients, or Skype for Business IP Phones as agents. The Teams client is only supported with a co-existence mode of Teams Only.

Call queue cmdlets

You can also use Windows PowerShell to create and set up call queues. Here are the cmdlets that you use to manage a call queue.

Call Queue Diagnostic Tool

If you're an administrator, you can use the following diagnostic tool to validate that a call queue is able to receive calls:

  1. Select Run Tests below, which will populate the diagnostic in the Microsoft 365 Admin Center.

  2. In the Run diagnostic pane, enter the Resource Account in the Username or Email field, and then select Run Tests.

  3. The tests will return the best next steps to address any tenant, policy, and resource account configurations to validate that the call queue is able to receive calls.

Here's what you get with Microsoft Teams Phone

Getting service phone numbers

Country and region availability for Audio Conferencing and Calling Plans

New-CsOnlineApplicationInstance

An introduction to Windows PowerShell and Skype for Business Online