Automatic Call Distribution - programming guide

Automatic Call Distribution - programming guide


Protel LTS contains a very powerful and versatile framework for handling calls using ACD.  Unlike a call group or ring group, ACD answers every incoming call, then places them into queue.  Queued calls are then connected to agent extensions, with many options available for routing, messaging and call flow.  Most of the ACD functions are also available on the Protelity multi-tenant hosted platform, with some exceptions which are noted below.


  • Create a new queue
  • Assign agents and/or create dynamic logins
  • Define the ring strategy
  • Assign MOH
  • Assign priority value
  • Assign timeout/exit destination



  • Define timeout value, destination and exit priority value
  • Set audio playback options
  • Set distinctive ring option
  • Define wrap up value
  • Set option for manual exit
  • Set option for call recording

1.  Create a new Queue.   Queue creation is done in two stages.  In the first part, you define the basic behavior of the queue.  In the second part, you assign specific parameters and options for the queue.  Click on the “Create a New Queue” link, under the Queues tab.  Each queue needs a unique “extension” identifier.  This is similar to the process for creating basic call groups, and it allows phone users the ability to transfer callers directly into queues by dialing the queue extension number.  It is a good practice to number your ACD queues outside of the range of your extension users and group numbers.  The “Queue Name” field can be any descriptive text.

2.  Assign static agents and/or dynamic agent logins.   There are two types of agent extensions:  Static agents are phone extensions that are ALWAYS available to receive queue calls.  If you allow Remote (dynamic) agents, then any extension user on the system can become instantly available to receive queue calls by logging themselves in.  You can have one or both types of agents in any queue.  To assign static agents, simply click on the desired extensions from the “Not Included” list on the right, moving them to the “Included” list on the left.  Clicking on an extension number in the “Included” list will move it back to the inactive list.  If you check the box to allow Remote Agent Lon In, you must then define the key codes that users will enter for Log In, Log Out, Pause and Unpause.  You must enter at least 2 digits in each of these fields, and no more than 6.  If you are creating multiple queues with dynamic agent capability, you cannot duplicate any code that has already been assigned.  You also cannot duplicate any extension, group or queue number.  Any user that wants to log into a particular queue would simply enter the login code from the keypad, then press the Dial or Send key, or, on most IP phones, press the # key.  The PBX system prompt will confirm the action taken.  The Pause and Unpause functions have the same effect as the Log In and Log Out codes – the only difference is in the way the agent time is tracked for reporting purposes.  Even if you do not plan to offer pause/unpause capability for your dynamic agents, you are still required to create those key codes.

NOTE ON AUTOPAUSE:    If you activate the Autopause feature, any agent who does not answer a call that the queue sends to them within 4 rings will be automatically paused.  If you are using a "Round Robin" or "Least Recent" ring strategy (see item 3 below), the queue will then send the current call to a different available agent, and the autopaused agent will not get any additional queue calls until they enter the unpause key code from their phone.  If you do not activate the Autopause feature, the queue will continuously try to call an agent with a queue call until they answer it.  If an agent has left their desk without entering the pause or log out code, this will result in a call going unanswered until the agent returns, or until the caller hangs up or exits the queue.  If you are using the "Ring All" strategy, an autopaused agent's phone will no longer ring, but the other agents in the group will still ring at the same time.

3. Define the ring strategy.  Select from the drop-down menu the desired distribution method for queued calls.  “Ring All” simply rings every available agent until somebody answers the call.  Any agent who is already engaged on a call will not be rung.  “Round Robin” distributes calls to available agents in numerical order, starting with the lowest numbered extension, down through all available agents, then starts again.  Agents who are engaged on a call will be skipped.  “Least Recent” sends the next call to the agent who has had the most time elapse since the end of their last queue call.

4. Assign MOH.  Select the Music on Hold folder that you want callers to hear while they are waiting in queue.  There are additional audio playback options, these are defined in step 9.   MOH folders are managed using the “Manage Music on Hold” link, under the Additional Tasks tab.  After you create a MOH folder, you can upload one or more tracks to it.  The system will accept most WAV and MP3 digital audio files for upload.  If you place more than one track in a folder, the system will play them in ascending alphanumeric order based on the file name.  For example: 1_nicepieceofmusic.wav will play before 2_nicepieceofmusic.wav, and nicepieceofmusic.wav will play before prettysong.wav

5. Assign priority value. (Not available on Protelity Hosted)  If you do not plan to have queued calls flow between successive queues on timeout, you can always set this value to 1.  If you will be cascading calls between queues, but are unsure of the priority value, we recommend that you assign the median default priority value of 8 when you create a new queue.  These priority value assignments range from 1 to 15, with 1 being the lowest priority and 15 being the highest.  For example:  if a queue that has been assigned a priority value of 8 is designed to only get new calls (no cascaded calls from other queues), then every call that is waiting in that queue will have the same priority number, and the waiting calls will be distributed to available agents in the order that they were received.  If, however, this queue receives a call that originally came from another queue, and it enters this queue with a priority value of 9 or higher, that call will be moved to the front of the line since 9 is a higher value than 8.

6. Assign timeout/exit destination.  This is where a queued call will be routed if you allow the manual exit option, or if it reaches its assigned timeout value.  Both of those settings are made later, in steps 7 and 12.  For now, just set a destination, or you can leave this section unassigned.

After you have completed steps 1-5, click on the “Save Changes to Queue” button.  This registers the basic parameters of the queue into the PBX database and brings you to the “Modify Existing Queue” page for the queue you just created.

7.  Assign Timeout value, target destination and exit priority value.  If you are going to build a queue with no timeout, you can leave this field blank.  If you want the queue to timeout, enter the number of seconds the call will stay in queue before it automatically times out, and set the target destination.  If you select another queue as the timeout destination, you will see an additional dropdown menu for assigning the priority value for calls that timeout of this queue.  For example, if you assign the new queue value to 10 and the call is flowing to a queue with a default priority of 8, this call will jump ahead of other calls waiting in the next queue.

8.  Define additional audio playback options.(Not available on Protelity Hosted)  Click on the “Advanced” tab near the top of the Modify Existing Queue screen.  You can click between tabs without losing new data or modifications entered on other tabs.  If you enable the Announce Position/Hold Time option, the system will make those announcements at whatever interval you set in the “Frequency” field.  You can have the system periodically announce the caller’s position in line and/or their estimated wait time.  The time estimate announcement is calculated based on the average wait time of prior calls to that queue, so if your queue has a low volume of calls, the math calculation may be significantly wrong since the sample size is small. 

CUSTOM INTERRUPT MESSAGING  if you want a custom audio file to play at a defined interval, you must first make an audio track available to the queue system for this purpose.  Use the “Manage Queue Audio Files” tool to manage this.  You can either upload a track from your computer, or you can select a track that was created/uploaded using the Attendant audio tools.  NOTE:  if you select a track that was recorded from a handset (or uploaded) for use in an auto attendant, that track will no longer be available for assignment in the attendants section.  Once you have a track available for assignment in a queue, you will be able to select in from the “Advanced” tab on the Modify Existing Queue page, and you will set the interval (in seconds) that this track will play, interrupting the Music On Hold track (assigned on the General tab).

9.  Set distinctive ring option.(Not available on Protelity Hosted)  This option causes the SIP Invite string sent to agent phones to contain custom header text.  If your IP phones support this option, the text string you enter in this field in the PBX must also be entered into the phone, and the desired available ring tone assigned to it, using the phone’s web GUI.  This will cause the phone to trigger a different ring if it is receiving a queue call than it will if it is a normal station or DID call.

10.  Define Wrap-up value.  This is the number of seconds that the system will wait after an agent has completed a call, before it makes that agent available to take new calls.

11.  Set manual exit option.  Checking this box will allow callers to exit the queue by pressing the 0 key on their phone.  The call will be sent to the timeout/exit destination defined earlier.  You can have a timeout defined and a manual exit, but both options send the call to the same place.

12.  Set call recording option.  Queue calls are NOT recorded unless you check this option, even if you have the global call recording option checked in the Extensions/Call Recording section, or if an agent extension is set to record all calls.  Queue call recordings are only available to persons with administrative logins that have call recording permissions enabled.  These calls are not available via the extension user login.


Once you have a queue created and have the options set, you are ready to place it into your dialplan.  There are 6 different ways that a call can enter a queue:

1. Direct access from a phone number (point DIDs)

2. Fall through from a call group (if no one answers)

3. Routed via a keypress in an auto attendant

4. Routed as the default call flow in an auto attendant (the “Finally” action)

5. Routed as the timeout or manual exit destination from another queue

6. Transferred by an extension user (blind transfer+queue number)

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