Microsoft Lync Auto Attendants provide the means for a caller to be automatically transferred to an extension or queue without the intervention of an operator or a person. Auto Attendants use Interactive Voice Response (IVR) to get information from callers and redirect them either to an appropriate queue or to prompts for further information. The system can be thought of as a tree where each response leads to either a further question branch or, if it has reached a leaf node, then the caller is navigated to the appropriate queue.The caller’s responses from the IVR are provided to response groups. Response groups provide the capability of adding questions in text form, which are then converted into speech, or directly as speech. The clients or callers using the application can interact with the system using speech input or keypad input – a variety of voice recognition technologies are used in the application’s back end to process input.Amongst the most recently added response group features in Lync, the key ones are:
Anonymous Call – allows the configuration of a response group in which agents can receive incoming calls and can make calls on behalf of whole response group without revealing their identity to the client being called. The agent can see if the call is anonymous. Anonymous calls do not support conferencing, application and desktop sharing, file transfer, white boarding and data collaboration, or call recording.
Attendant Routing – solves the problems of call service synchronization. With attendant routing all agents that are signed in on the Lync server and in the same response group are called simultaneously, any of the agents can answer any call in any particular order and once the call has been serviced or is being serviced by the client it is no longer visible to the other agents.
Integrated Manageability – Response Group manageability is integrated with Lync Server 2010 manageability. Unlike its predecessor, Office Communications Server, Lync management shell cmdlets support all the response group management tasks.
Caller Experience Improvements – the artificial intelligence component of the IVR has been improved, it responds to no input and plays music on hold, and registers and responds to other inputs of a similar nature.
Web Service – the response group application provides a more robust and customizable web console; new features have also been added to the Lync 2010 web service making information retrieval more efficient.