Set up an auto attendant

Auto attendants let people call your organization and navigate a menu system to speak to the right department, call queue, person, or an operator. You can create auto attendants for your organization with the Microsoft Teams admin center or with PowerShell.

Be sure you have read Plan for Teams auto attendants and call queues and followed the getting started steps before you follow the procedures in this article.

Auto attendants can redirect calls, based on callers' input, to one of the following destinations:

  • Operator - the operator defined for the auto attendant. Defining an operator is optional. The operator can be defined as any of the other destinations in this list.
  • Person in the organization - a person in your organization who can receive voice calls. This person can be an online user or a user hosted on-premises using Skype for Business Server.
  • Voice app - another auto attendant or a call queue. (Choose the resource account associated with the auto attendant or call queue when choosing this destination.)
  • Voicemail - the voice mailbox associated with a Microsoft 365 group that you specify. You can choose if you want voicemail transcriptions and the "Please leave a message after the tone." system prompt.
    • In M365 Admin Center enable "Let people outside the organization email this team" for the Microsoft 365 group that you specify
  • External phone number - any phone number. See external transfer technical details.
  • Announcement (Audio file) - Play an audio file. A recorded announcement message you upload that's saved as audio in .WAV, .MP3, or .WMA format. The recording can be no larger than 5 MB. The system plays the announcement, and then returns to the auto attendant menu.
  • Announcement (Typed) - Type in a message. Text you want the system to read. You can enter up to 1000 characters. The system plays the announcement, and then returns to the auto attendant menu.

Note

When redirecting calls to a Person in the organization, that person must be voice enabled. For details on enabling voice, see Assign Teams add-on licenses to users.

While defining an Operator is optional, it's recommended. Auto attendants redirect calls to the operator if the caller doesn't make a selection on menus, repeatedly selects invalid options, or dials by name or number repeatedly fail. If an operator isn't defined, the auto attendant will drop the call.

What's new for auto attendants in the past 6 months

  • August - Play menu options in Call flow, Call flow for after hours, and Call flow during holidays now support * (asterisk) and # (pound) keys.
  • July - Call flow during holidays now supports Play menu options.

Steps to create an auto attendant

The steps to add an auto attendant are:

  1. Set up general information.
  2. Set up a basic call flow.
  3. Set up an after hours call flow.
  4. Set up holiday call flows.
  5. Set up dial scope.
  6. Set up resource accounts.

The steps outlined in the article create auto attendants using the Teams admin center. For instructions to create auto attendants using PowerShell, see Creating auto attendants with PowerShell cmdlets.

Follow these steps to set up your auto attendant

Step 1: Set the auto attendant's general information

To set up an auto attendant, in the Teams admin center, expand Voice, select Auto attendants, and then select Add.

  1. Type a name for the auto attendant in the box at the top.

  2. To designate an operator, specify the destination for calls to the operator. This designation is optional but recommended. Set the Operator option to allow callers to break out of the menus and speak to a designated person.

  3. Specify the time zone for this auto attendant. The time zone is used for calculating business hours if you create a separate call flow for after hours.

  4. Specify a supported language for this auto attendant. This is the language that will be used for system-generated voice prompts.

  5. Choose if you want to enable voice inputs. When enabled, the name of every menu option becomes a speech-recognition keyword. For example, callers can say "One" to select the menu option mapped to key 1, or they can say "Sales" to select the menu option named "Sales."

    Note

    If you choose a language in Step 4 that doesn't support voice inputs this option will be disabled.

Once you've set your auto attendant's general info, select Next.

Resources for complex scenarios

External phone number transfers - technical details

Refer to the Prerequisites in order to allow auto attendants to transfer calls externally. In addition:

  • For a resource account with a Calling Plan license or Operator Connect number, the external transfer phone number must be entered in E.164 format (+[country code][area code][phone number]).

  • For a resource account with a Microsoft Teams Phone License and Direct Routing online voice routing policy, the external transfer phone number format is dependant on the Session Border Controller (SBC) settings.

The outbound phone number that's displayed is determined as follows:

  • For Calling Plan and Operator Connect numbers, the original caller's phone number is displayed.
  • For Direct Routing numbers, the number sent is based on the P-Asserted-Identity (PAI) setting on the SBC, as follows:
    • If set to Disabled, the original caller's phone number is displayed. This is the default and recommended setting.
    • If set to Enabled, the resource account phone number is displayed.

In a Skype for Business hybrid environment, to transfer an auto attendant call to the PSTN, create a new on-premises user with call forwarding set to the PSTN number. The user must be enabled for Enterprise Voice and have a voice policy assigned. To learn more, see Auto attendant call transfer to PSTN.

Auto Attendant Diagnostic Tool

If you're an administrator, you can use the following diagnostic tool to validate that an auto attendant is able to receive calls:

  1. Select Run Tests below, which will populate the diagnostic in the Microsoft 365 Admin Center.

  2. In the Run diagnostic pane, enter the Resource Account in the Username or Email field, and then select Run Tests.

  3. The tests will identify tenant, policy, or resource account configurations that are preventing the auto attendant from being able to receive calls and provide steps to fix any problems identified.

Here's what you get with Teams Phone

Getting service phone numbers

Country and region availability for Audio Conferencing and Calling Plans

An introduction to Windows PowerShell and Skype for Business Online