3CX: Call Queues

Oct 27, 2021

This article covers Call Queues; their settings and different options. You will also learn how Queues work and what rights Agents and Queue Managers have. In more detail:

      • Call Queue Functionality
      • Polling Strategies
      • Queue Options
      • Extension Login / Logout
      • Queue Manager Rights
      • Queue Web Meeting in a Call Queue

What are Call Queues?

Call Queues enable calls to be queued, instead of them going unanswered, whilst agents are on a call, e.g. calls to a sales number are routed to a call queue, where callers are kept in the queue until the next salesperson is available to respond.

Creating a Call Queue

3CX Call Queue General Options

To add a Call Queue click on the Call Queues function in the 3CX Management Console and:

  1. Click Add, enter a name for the queue and select a virtual extension number.
  2. Polling Strategy” – define how calls are distributed to agents:
      • Hunt random start – randomly choose an agent to distribute the call to and evenly distribute calls among available agents.
      • Ring All – ring the phones of ALL the agents.
      • Prioritized Hunt – distribute calls according to the order specified in the “Call Queue Agents”  section. i.e. all calls go to the first agent, and only if this agent is busy, the calls go to the next agent. This strategy can be used to set up skills-based routing, by prioritizing the agents according to their skills.
  1. Ring time” – the timeout in seconds, i.e. for how long the phone keeps ringing before the call is considered unanswered by that agent.
  2. “Direct Inbound Dialing (DID)” - optionally assign one or more DIDs to the queue to route calls directly to the queue. Alternatively, you can assign an IVR menu option to the queue.
  3. Destination if no answer - define the maximum queue waiting time and the action to perform if the call remains unanswered. If no agent is logged into the queue, this option gets triggered immediately. This option also gets triggered if the caller presses the ‘*’ button, to give callers a queue exit option and leave a message.
  4. “Music on Hold” -  use a custom on-hold audio file.
  5. Play Intro Prompt - set a custom introduction prompt and choose whether to play this prompt before polling the agents.
  6. Options - select to announce a caller’s queue position and specify the language of the prompt for the queue.
  7. “Click2Call / Click2Meet” - set a user-friendly URL to enable callers to easily request remote assistance. See how this can help your contact center here and here.
  8. “Agents” tab - click to Add the member extensions for this queue and move the extensions up or down to configure their priority.
  9. Click “OK” to create the queue.

Important: Queue members must be logged in a call queue to start answering calls. You can configure queue member extensions to automatically log out by enabling their “Forwarding Rules” > “Statuses” > “Log out from queues” option for each status profile, or disable it to allow users to log in manually.

Advanced Queue Features

Additional Queue Strategies

Includes these additional Queue strategies:

  • Longest Waiting Time – forwards a call to the agent waiting for the longest.
  • Least Talk Time – forwards the call to the agent with the least total talk time.
  • Fewest Answered – forwards the call to the agent who answered the least number of calls.
  • Hunt by Threes Prioritized – forwards the call simultaneously to the top 3 agents, as prioritized in the “Agents” > “Call Queue Agents” section.
  • Hunt by Threes Random – sends the call simultaneously to 3 random agents.
  • Round Robin – sequentially cycle through agents logged in the queue, i.e. first call is sent to agent 1, the second call to agent 2, and so on.
3CX Call Queue Agents

The Enterprise edition also includes Skill-based routing, moving incoming queue calls to agents in the next skill group if members of the previous skill group(s) are busy or logged out. For example, a call center can assign its support agents to increase skill-level groups based on their expertise. In this way, incoming calls are first assigned to agents in the level “1” skill group and when not available, move on to the less experienced agents in subsequent skill groups. These “Skill Based Routing” strategies are available:

  • Ring All - ring the phones of all the agents in this skill group.
  • Hunt Random Start - randomly select an agent to assign the call to, distributing evenly the calls among the agents in this skill group.
  • Round Robin - cycles sequentially through all available queue agents in this skill group.
  • Fewest Answered - prioritizes available agents who answered the least number of calls in this skill group.

Additional Queue Options

In Pro and Enterprise editions, you can configure these additional options:

  • “Callback” – enable to allow callers to hang up and get a callback. You need to specify the “Callback Outbound Prefix” tο trigger an outbound rule to make the call. Set the “Callback mode” to be requested by the caller by pressing “2”, or to be offered when the queue timeout is reached.
  • “Wrap-Up Time” – gives the agent the specified time in seconds to enter notes into the call record, after taking a call.
  • “Maximum Callers in Queue” – when this number is reached, calls are routed according to the settings in the “Destination if no answer” section.
  • Queue Statistics Reset”  – click to reset the Queue Agent Calls and Wallboard statistics, or set a periodic schedule for automatic reset. Detailed statistics for the queue, i.e. average call time, average wait time, etc, are visible through the Agent Status and Queue Monitoring functions in the 3CX Web Client.
  • “Priority Queue” – enable to prioritize calls from this queue over calls from other queues the agent/extension is a member of. Example: A support team has one queue for normal support calls, and another queue for VIP customers, so even though serviced by the same agents,  calls from the VIP queue get priority.
  • Configure SLA Time” -  calls remaining unanswered in the queue for more than the number of seconds set in this field, are considered as breaching the SLA time limit in relevant reports and statistics.
  • “Queue Recording” - setting for caller opt-in or opt-out of queue recording. Depending on the options set, the caller can press DTMF 3 to opt-out or confirm being recorded.
  • “Queue Email Notifications” – enable to notify the manager for certain queue events, i.e. calls breaching the SLA time limit, queue calls lost, and callback activity.