This post highlights a new calling capabilitiy for Microsoft Teams, voice-enabled channels. The feature’s release is planned for this month, March 2021.
What are Teams voice-enabled channels?
As the roadmap and information from the last Microsoft Ignite states so far: it enables channels in a Teams Team to receive incoming calls from PSTN via a Teams call queue. Today, you have to add agents or a group of agents to a Teams call queue, that they can receive calls. By voice-enabled channels you can create new channels, enable them for voice and than configure a call queue to route these calls into this voice-enabled channel.
This can be helpful for more collaborative telephony especially in Teams where the might have a need to quickly communicate via chat before, during and after a call received from PSTN.
Update 2021-04-01 – Configuration
Yesterday, 2021-03-31 it showed up in my tenant. You can configure voice-enabled channels easily either with an existing or new Team’s channel. The follow shows you on a high level how to configure voice-enabled channels in Teams?
Teams Admin Center (TAC)
After applying the channel selection and saving the call queue you can switch to the Teams channel or tell the users that the channel can soon receive calls. In my tenant it took some time till it showed up and worked.
Conclusion, opinion and summary
In my opinion, there are some use cases where the feature can help, not to mention the examples of the roadmap.
Voice-enabled channels might compensate today’s lack of a proper missed call notifications for (user-configured) call groups in Microsoft Teams, although an administrator has to configure a call queue with one or more numbers. In voice-enabled channels you can immediately communicate regarding a phone call and if you’ll get the ability to adjust the channel for calling as mentioned in the roadmap you might not need (user-configured) call groups where you have the issue that every user gets a missed call notification if no one would answer or you get a missed call notification without any feedback in regards of did someone else of the (user-configured) call group answer the call already or not. In the past, in SFB Enterprise Voice, as far as you used call groups you could see that you missed a call and which person of the call group answered it.
I think it can enable users, Teams owners, to better manage call settings for the respecitve group which reduces work for IT admins by giving Team owners the ability to manage their call (queue) channel settings by themselves instead of requesting IT support to do this for them. That’s a big advantage. So, this could be interesting, I guess that we might see a few Teams “hotlines” using call queues transfering from as-is to voice-enabled channels in order to self-manage their voice and calling settings. We’ll shall see.
At the time of writing this post, the capability was not yet available, at least not in my M365 tenant and the documentation was also not yet available providing further details. I’m looking forward to testing it.
[…] there is something similar available based on voice-enabled channels. The difference is that you have to configure the call queue to use a Teams channel instead of […]
Hi Erik, do you still see the Missed and Incoming Buttons? We don’t have it (anymore). So the most important, to discover missed calls is not possible.
Yes, I can still see the buttons for the missed and incoming calls.
But only if I have the Teams client app on Windows maximized on 1920×1080. If I reduce the Teams app’s window size it’s showing only the button “All” and “Voicemail” but not “Missed” and “Incoming”.
Hi Erik, yes 1920×1080 and 100% setting and above will show the buttons. Thanks. The next question is, if any missed calls appear there? I got only calls displayed which I accepted, no missed ones.
I usually configure call overflows to deal with unanswered calls like sending them to the voicemail of a M365 group or forward it to a mobile.
Nevertheless, I disabled call overflow handling in the CQ in Teams, so that calls are disconnected after 2+ calls or 30 seconds.
After the configuration changed I made some test calls to the AA –> CQ –> Team channel. It was ringing but I was not answering. The call was disconnected after 30 seconds, as configured, ok. But the unanswered call I missed and did not answer did not show up in the missed calls list. It did not show up at all. I also clicked another channel, came back but this did not change the list and did not show the missed calls. I also restarted the Teams app, also no change. This needs further investigation.
I got a feedback on this from Microsoft Support: They call it a “draft” of the Teams app where this feature is not yet available. They will likely remove the missed call tab with an update and push it again, when feature will work. The funny thing behind is, that the road map item is set to launched and it seems difficult to find out when that feature will be released.
Hi Philippe, Thank you for sharing this. That’s really interesting to know that there are buttons without function yet.
Hi Erik, We have tried to set it up tonight but aren’t able to select a channel. The Team we select does have channel but we don’t see them to select in the Call Queue. In the Team itself there is no option to enable a channel for voice.
What do we do wrong?
did you give it a few minutes or hours time before directly adding the channel to the call queue?
I’d guess that Teams might need some time before it shows up to add it. In my case I created a new Team channel and the other day I associated the queue with the channel.
Thank you for writing this article. It’s very helpful. I do have a question. This morning I enabled Collaborative Calling. I notice that I am unable to determine an order when I use “Serial Routing”. By opting for “Users and Groups” you are able to determine who is the first person in the queue. But when I enable Collaborative Calling I cannot seem to determine this anymore. Have you by chance found a way to configure Serial Routing combined with Collaborative Calling?
Hi Tim, thank you. No, I haven’t yet tried and figured out a option for serial routing with collaborative calling. BR, Erik