Office 365 Cloud PBX Call Queue “Answer Delay” Experience


NOTE: Cloud PBX Call Queue functionality is still in Preview, so final release may have different functionality.

One ongoing challenge with Skype for Business Server Response Group Service has been what has been referred to as the “answer delay”. This is the time between when a Skype for Business user answers a call and the media is flowing and the user can say “Hello” and start speaking.

Cloud PBX Call Queues are not “SfB RGS ported” to Office 365, but have been rewritten by the Microsoft team to optimize the functionality for the cloud. We have done some testing to see what the “answer delay” is on the new Office 365 Call Queues (in Preview at this time). We tested using a site with 100MB Up/5MB Down data pipe.

The “Skype for Business Network Assessment Tool – Results Analyzer” results were:

Below is the Cloud PBX Call Queue  “answer delay” experience on various common endpoint devices:

Device Answer to Talk time
Polycom VVX 600 5.10 seconds
Skype for Business 2016 client + USB Headset 4.26 seconds
Lync Phone Edition (Polycom CX600) 5.36 seconds

From our tests the configuration with the least delay is the Skype for Business client with a USB headset.

One surprise from this test is how close the Lync Phone Edition was to the other devices, which leads me to believe the delay is now a result of the connection between Office 365 and the endpoint device, and not so much a result of the design of Cloud PBX Call Queues.

Since this is still considerable delay users may wonder how to know when they can say “Hello” and my old article about Skype for Business RGS is still relevant, read it here.

Skype for Business User Tip #44: Which of Multiple Incoming RGS/Call Queue Calls Will Be Answered First?


Interestingly not all Skype for Business endpoints handle answering Response Group Service / Call Queue calls with the same logic. When multiple calls are coming from a RGS /Call Queue, which will be answered?

For example: Let’s say you have 3 incoming calls from your “FrontDesk” Response Group (or Cloud PBX Call Queue). On your Skype for Business client you will see 3 incoming call toasts. If you press the button on your USB headset, which call will be answered? (LIFO = Last Incoming Call/Oldest Incoming/Longest Ringing will be answered first. FIFO = First Incoming Call/Newest Incoming/Shortest Ringing will be answered first.)


Skype for Business endpoint Answer Method Behavior
Skype for Business PC client [Window + Shift + O] LIFO
USB headset Headset button LIFO
Polycom CX300 USB Pickup handset LIFO
Yealink IP phone Pickup handset LIFO
Lync Phone Edition IP Phone (Polycom CX600/HP 4120/etc) Pickup handset FIFO

Of course, if you click on a specific incoming call toast, that call will be answered.

For a ton more cool User Tips, get the Skype for Business User Tips & Tricks for Anyone Free eBook


See the other Skype for Business User QuickTips (formerly known as Lync)

Microsoft Teams Tip #10: Disable Skype for Business Integration in Microsoft Teams


In the latest release of Microsoft Teams app there is now a setting that allows a user to disable Skype for Business integration for themselves. This is easily done by going to Settings | Notifications | Skype for Business Integration.

This essentially turns off the ability to send and receive Skype for Business instant messages to and from contacts that are not using Teams from inside Teams. (they will need to use Skype for Business for communicating with users only using Skype for Business) It seems the main issue this setting is addressing is the issue that a Microsoft Teams users may receive an incoming Instant Message toast in Teams and Skype for Business apps.

Skype for Business integration is enabled by default, and I suggest before you just disable it, take a moment to make sure you understand the integration more fully. For a more in depth article on how Microsoft Teams and Skype for Business integration read this article.

Enjoy Microsoft Teams! (and Skype for Business!)

To see more Microsoft Teams User Tips:

[Video] Learn Microsoft Teams in 5 Minutes:

Skype for Business & Microsoft Teams in 2017

Here are some of my thoughts on Microsoft collaboration for 2017.

Skype for Business in Office 365 Is It

What does this mean? This means a shift in skill set for Skype for Business and UC professionals. Some skills that will become increasingly important and get more focus since nitty gritty tech details are not primary concern for UC pros are ensuring the core network can support real-time traffic, user adoption and integration of Skype for Business into business processes. Back in the day I wrote various guides on how to install Skype for Business (Lync...) for tiny SMB clients as many wanted to do it. This is no longer an issue as Cloud PBX can easily be implemented for even the smallest companies technically in literally 5 minutes. The great thing about Office 365 is that UC pros can focus on more holistic business value of UC instead of file shares & SQL server updates.

Microsoft Teams Is It

Its no secret that Microsoft Teams is a big item for Microsoft and collaboration. Microsoft needed to answer Slack and Teams in my opinion is quite a lot of value right out of the gate as it is in Preview. But it is going to get better and its deep integration into the Microsoft suite of products brings value to the table fast. Things like using a Team as an agent group for your small call center using Cloud PBX Call Queues is a first in the industry. With Teams at the heart of what Microsoft is doing a lot of possibilities are possible with little effort on Microsoft’s part.

From my experience using Teams in house is that it really brings an experience that users can love as well. In many ways Teams is the "Skype for Business Persistent Chat" that is going to really catch on because instead of sitting at the periphery, it sits right on top of everything else Microsoft is doing and does in a very nice experience that is fun to use. In my opinion, don’t ignore Microsoft Teams.

Office 365 Cloud PBX Is It

Microsoft is making a big push to get the toughest parts of Skype for Business working in Office 365. Features like Response Group Service and Exchange UM Auto Attendant are not simple or perfect and Microsoft is putting a lot of effort into rewriting this functionality in a way that is cloud optimized and at the same time correcting some of the weakness of the on premises versions of these features. To avoid confusion Microsoft has given new names to the cloud version of Response Group Service and Exchange UM Auto attendant: Call Queues and Org Auto Attendant respectively. How long will it take Microsoft to get feature parity with Skype for Business Server? It will take some time, and if the Exchange journey to the cloud is any guidance, a few years till feature parity with Skype for Business Server is achieved. Naturally Microsoft is going to complete that top needed functionality like Call Queues & Auto Attendants and work its way to more and more esoteric features. But lest we think Skype for Business Server development will languish in the mean time, take heart: Marina Kolomiets, PM in charge of Call Queues and Org AA, reminded me at Microsoft Ignite 2016 that they are taking care of 2 issues in Skype for Business Server RGS on each update of Skype for Business Server.

Cloud API's Are It

The good news is that Microsoft is creating web based Skype for Business API's to be web optimized. The bad news is that it takes some time.
I get the question quite regularly: What is happening to UCMA? (Server based trusted application server api) Will we need to rewrite our Call Center, Auto Attendant, what-have-you applications to work with Cloud PBX? Will we need to maintain 2 code based for our Skype for Business software? The simple answer is that UCMA code will not automatically port to the new Trusted Application API. But, before your blood pressure goes up remember we are living a new world and their are new options. I suspect that the way forward will often include hybrid scenarios where the on premises Skype for Business users consume services (new applications like call centers) in the cloud. This is great for streamlining the implementation of complicated applications like call centers and I am convinced more and more that IT departments want a BYOD-like experience even for quite complicated applications. The new cloud api's go a long way in bringing us closer to this experience. A great MVP to follow to get everything about Skype for Business Developement in Tom Morgan. Follow him right now:

2017 is going to be fun. New stuff and adjusting to new realities and fun.