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New Response Group Service

Communications Server 2007 R2

Topic Last Modified: 2009-01-21

Office Communications Server 2007 R2 Response Group Service enables administrators to create and configure one or more small response groups for the purpose of routing and queuing incoming phone calls to one or more designated agents. These response groups can be deployed in departmental or workgroup environments and in entirely new telephony installations.

Typical usage scenarios include an internal helpdesk, a customer service desk, or a general external call handler. Response Group Service can increase response group usage and reduce the associated overhead by pushing the tasks of response group maintenance down to the users who directly benefit from them.

Response Group Service works with Microsoft Office Communicator 2007 R2 and the new Office Communications Server 2007 R2 Attendant. Response Group Service also supports incoming calls from the local carrier network. Agents can use Office Communicator 2007 R2, Office Communicator 2007 R2 Phone Edition, or Office Communications Server 2007 R2 Attendant.

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Response Group Service can be used to service the main-line phone numbers for a branch office, if you install an Office Communications Server 2007 R2 server at the branch office site. Or, if you don’t want to install an Office Communications Server 2007 R2 server at the branch office site, you can run Response Group Service at your data center and configure the branch office’s media gateway to route inbound public switched telephone network (PSTN) calls to the phone numbers serviced by Response Group Service through the branch office’s Mediation Server. The Mediation Server in the branch office in turn communicates with Response Group Service in the data center.

Response Group Service includes the following features:

  • Supported call-routing algorithms
    Response Group Service supports standard response group call-routing algorithms, including serial, longest-idle, parallel, and round robin. Routing algorithms are configured for each defined group of agents.
  • Interactive voice response (IVR)
    Call navigation employs IVR, which detects and recognizes both speech and dual tone multi-frequency (DTMF) keypad input. Response Group Service IVR also supports text-to-speech and the .wav file format. IVR prompts can be updated by the administrator.
  • Call queuing
    Calls are queued pending the availability of an agent configured to accept the call.
  • Music on hold
    Callers are put on music on hold until an agent becomes available.
  • Presence-based routing
    Call routing takes agent presence status into account. Agents who are signed out or whose status is set to “busy”, for example, are skipped by the routing component.
  • Response group templates
    Predefined response group templates make it easy for an administrator to create a new response group. The administrator uses the response group template to define the usage experience of the call, including questions asked to the caller, options given to the caller, music-on-hold options, and configuration of business hours and holidays.
  • User management
    Using the Web tool, administrators assign management responsibility for a response group (basic or enhanced hunt groups only) to any user. The user is thereby empowered to configure and manage the response group, including configuring music on hold and defining business hours. User management puts control over response groups in the hands of people who actually use them, while relieving administrators of much of the overhead associated with managing traditional response groups.
  • Agent types
    Response Group Service supports both formal and informal agents. Formal agents are required to sign in or out of response groups. They might include someone who fills in when people are on vacation or lunch breaks, or perhaps separate groups of people who take calls at different times of day. Informal agents are not required to sign in or out of response groups.
  • Simplified management
    Response Group Service simplifies management of response groups by providing:
    • A Web-based response group deployment and configuration tool.
    • A stand-alone Microsoft Management Console (MMC) 3.0 snap-in, which can be opened from Office Communications Server 2007 R2.
    • Support for end users who are configuring and managing response groups.
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