Software

8×8 Virtual Contact Center: Voicemail Queues

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Since the launch of 8×8 Virtual Contact Center, our customer service agents have been accessing customer voicemails using an auto-generated voicemail-to-email system. The voicemail emails obtained through Zendesk, provide a recording of the voicemail, what call queue it was from, who sent it, and has SLA’s applied which aid our agents to meet their performance targets.

While this method of retrieving voicemails works well for our needs, there may be a way for our agents (who only handle phone calls) to not need Zendesk access, thus freeing up $99 a month, per user. Accessing voicemails in a voicemail queue is quite different than with our old Virtual Office queues. Instead of calling the voicemail queue’s extension, one must set up the queue to auto-assign voicemails to agents. A VCC voicemail queue operates similar to a call back queue, where if there are calls in the queue, an agent will be assigned one; as soon as the agent accepts the call, the number is automatically dialed for them, initiating the transaction.

So, my first step was to research and test out this new method of handling voicemails. I created a test voicemail queue with only myself in it and edited the settings, so the voicemails do not get auto-deleted. Next, I created a new call script that only plays a short intro and an option to be forwarded to the new test voicemail queue I created; this script was then assigned a phone number. Finally, I built a wallboard displaying the new voicemail queue (shown below).

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Testing

Early yesterday morning, I called the new voicemail queue’s phone number and left a few messages; once this was complete, I set my status in VCC as ‘available’ and my desk phone immediately received a voicemail call. Once I accepted the call, I thought, “this is pretty cool,” but that feeling quickly departed. Unfortunately, the options available while listening to a voicemail are quite limited compared to Virtual Office. I could only press 1 to have the voicemail sent to an email or just delete the message entirely. Maybe it’s just me, but shouldn’t I have the option to callback the person, replay, or save the voicemail from the menu?

After witnessing the lack of options available during a voicemail, I began to look for further customization.

I called 8×8 and talked to a few people, but received no straight answer as to whether I can give our agents the features they require while listening to a voicemail, and not have to access it in an email. A ticket has since been created, and I am now waiting for a response.

I see some options for adding a custom voicemail delivery message (shown below) but fail to see anything about being able to add the things we need. From everything I have read so far, uploading a custom message only allows the ‘delete voicemail’ and ‘send voicemail by email’ options to be assigned to a number.

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Final Thoughts

Unless they call me back with some procedure to work around this, there may very well be no way to call a customer back via voicemail queue access. There has to be some method to do it through the phone only, otherwise, sending the voicemail as an email seems to be the only way to get the number of the person who called.

I am not sure why Virtual Office’s voicemail queues (a less expensive product) have more functionality than VCC’s voicemail queues, but if I can’t find a work-around for this issue, we will have to continue to utilize Zendesk for each agent, regardless of their involvement with solving tickets.

One thing (I think) we can do is just totally eliminate our customers’ ability to leave voicemails, and only offer them the queued-callback option; after-hours calls would just get the queued-callback prompt, allowing them to leave their phone number to be called back as soon as we are open again.

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