Forwarding OCS Response Group Calls to an External Number

Any Post starting with this disclaimer means that this post was not written by me however I liked it and added to my blog so that I can easily find it later. I will also include the link to the original or similar post to provide credit to the original author.

Just wanted to point out another blog article that is very useful. Kevin Peters blogged about an issue regarding OCS Response Groups where the Response Group could not forward a call to an external number. In his original blog article, Kevin described a work-around to enable forwarding calls to external numbers. Now, it seems that the issue has been solved by Doug Lawty and some logging of the OutboundRouting component using OCSLogger. It turns out that when you create a Response Group Contact Object with OGSCOT.EXE, it will always assign the enterprise voice Default Policy. If you choose to not use the Default Policy and don’t assign any Usages or Routes to it, then calls forwarded to external numbers from the Response Group will fail because no routes can be found for the external number. There are two fixes for this issue: either populate your Default Policy with Usages and Routes or manually assign a new Policy to the Response Group Contact Object. See Doug’s Blog Post for the complete details on manually changing the Contact’s Policy with PowerShell here:

The Response Group Service in OCS R2

When you are configuring The Response Group Service you need to do the following:

  1. Enable users as Agents. Must be activated for Enterprise Voice. These Agents can be grouped by Agent Groups
  2. Create an Agent Group. Route and queue incoming calls to groups of designated agents
  3. Create a Queue. Limiting the number of calls that the queue can hold and the period of time that an agent’s telephone rings before the call is passed to another agent
  4. Create a Contact Object. Holds information about SIP URI and telephone number
  5. Create a Workflow. Define the caller’s experience from the time the Response Group Service answers the call to the time that an agent responds

Some of the settings you configure under the Policy tab in Agent Groups are listed below:

  • Sign in behavior
    • Informal – Agents are automatically signed in to the group when they sign in to Office Communications Server, supported clients are 
      • Office Communications Server 2007 R2 Attendant
      • Office Communicator 2007 R2
      • Office Communicator 2007 R2 Phone Edition
    • Formal – Sign in and out of the group using an Office Communicator custom tab, see Configuring the Response Group Tab.
      • NOTE: The Communications Server 2007 R2 Attendant does not support formal agents
    • Not Active – The Response Group is disabled
  • Routing Method
    • To offer a new call first to the agent who has been idle the longest, click Longest idle.
    • To offer a new call to all available agents at the same time, click Parallel. The call is sent to the first agent who accepts it.
    • To offer a new call to each agent in turn, click Round robin.
    • To always offer a new call to the agents in the order in which they are listed on the Agents tab, click Serial.

NOTE:The personal forwarding settings set by individuals in Communicator does not apply when the call comes from a Response Group. See this blog explaining it:

When you create a workflow, predefined templates are provided to make it easy for you to create new workflows. The following list describes the features available in each of the templates:

NOTE:To log in to the Workflow configuration website you need to be a member of RTCUniversalServerAdmins. If you still have problem viewing the site and you are on a Server 2008 deployment, check this post about how to fix this in IIS 7. I have not experienced this problem myself.

  • Basic Hunt Group. Routes callers to the specified queue without asking any questions.
  • Enhanced Hunt Group. Routes callers to the specified queue without asking any questions. Includes a welcome message and music on hold settings, as well as controlling business hours when calls will be accepted, and a message to play outside of business hours.
  • One-Level Interactive. Routes callers to the specified queue after asking a question that you specify. The caller can respond by using the phone keypad or by using interactive voice response. Includes a welcome message and music on hold settings, as well as controlling business hours when calls will be accepted, and a message to play outside of business hours.
  • Two-Level Interactive. This template has all the features of the One-Level Interactive template, but you can ask two questions. Depending on the response to the first question, you can route the call to a queue or ask a second question

NOTE: When configuring for EE servers behind a load balancer, be sure to enable port 5071 for response groups

You can use a .wav file for some Response Group settings, such as the welcome message, the on-hold music, or the Interactive Voice Response questions. All user provided .wav files must meet the following requirements:

  • 8-bit or 16-bit file
  • Linear pulse code modulation (LPCM), A-Law, or mu-Law format
  • Mono or stereo
  • 4MB or less

For the best performance, a 16 kHz, mono, 16-bit .wav file is recommended