Part 3 – Creating an auto attendant in Microsoft Teams

Creating the auto attendant

From the Microsoft Teams admin centre, select “Voice” > “Auto attendants” and click “Add”. We’re going to create a simple auto attendant and then come back to configured later. Name the auto attendant, in this example we’ve used the name “Reception” and configure the “Time Zone”, “Language” and “Enable voice inputs” option as you wish. “Enable voice inputs” switches on the ability for voice recognition for selecting options by the caller in the chosen language. Do not configure the optional “Operator” setting as this time, in fact if you try to set this option, the “Reception” account will not yet be available as a resource account.

On the subsequent screen, leave the default settings and click “Submit” to complete the creation.

Assigning the resource account to phone number

From the Microsoft Teams admin centre, navigate to “Org-wide settings”> “Resource accounts” and highlight the “Reception” account created earlier. Click “Assign/unassign” and configure as follows;Phone number type should be selected as “Online”, the number obtained earlier can be added as the “Assigned phone number” and the “Reception” auto attendant will be available via searching for the “Assigned to” option.

Configuring the auto attendant

Now we have everything in place, we’re going to configure the auto attendant created earlier based on the following flow;

Updating the auto attendant

When the auto attendant is selected again from the Microsoft Teams admin centre, the first thing to notice is that the telephone number is now populated which means that the “Operator” can now be set as “Voice App” and the “Reception” account can be selected.

On the next screen, you can choose a greeting message by either typing the message and allow an automated voice will read it, or for a more professional approach record and upload your own.

Audio files must be less than 5MB and in either MP3, WAV or WMA format.

Creating the menu options

After the greeting has played, you can choose to disconnect the call, redirect the call or play menu options. Based on the flow above, for this tutorial, we’re going to create and play menu options to the caller. We’ve added 3 simple menu options based on the example flow and have created the message but again, a recorded message can be used.

We’ve assigned the menu options here to 3 users with applicable licences and have disabled the “Directory search”. When enabled, this would allow callers to dial an extension number or search using the letters on the phone’s keypad.

Next you can set business hours and what should happen to any incoming calls outside of these hours. Here we’ve set the hours to Monday – Friday and 09:00 to 17:00. Should you wish, a separate greeting can be play and if needed, another set of menu options can be configured.

Public holidays can be added in advance with customised messages and or redirections. If there’s no further configuration required, at this point you can click “Submit”.

At this point, you should now be able to dial the number assigned and test your new virtual reception.

In this tutorial we’ve setup a very basic auto attendant to mimic a virtual reception with just 3 options but the configuration doesn’t have to be that limited. Other possibilities are as follows;

  • Route calls to additional auto attendants based on chosen options
  • Route calls to multiple users in a department at once
  • Send calls outside of hours to a shared voicemail

This tutorial has been split into the following posts;

Part 1 – Background and licencing
Part 2 – Resource accounts and auto attendant numbers
Part 3 – Creating and configurating the auto attendant (this post)

Disclaimer: Details are correct at time of publishing.

Part 2 – Creating an auto attendant in Microsoft Teams

What is a resource account?

A resource account is a special type of account created in your Microsoft Office 365 tenant as a disabled object and is used to represent items such as meeting rooms or equipment. This means that the account has limitations and cannot be logged in like a standard user account.

Why is this needed?

In Microsoft Teams, auto attendants need at least 1 assigned resource account to enable the service.

How do I create a resource account?

A resource account can be created directly from the Microsoft Teams admin centre (https://admin.teams.microsoft.com). From the admin centre, click “Org-wide settings” > “Resource accounts” > “Add” to create a new resource account. Give the account a display name, username (ensure you use the correct domain name if your tenant has more than 1 assigned) and select “Auto attendant” as the “Resource account type”.In this tutorial, we have named our account “Reception” and have provisioned the display name as the same.

Assigning the licence

Once confirmed, a “Microsoft 365 Phone System – Virtual User” licence can be assigned to the resource account just created.From the Microsoft 365 admin centre (https://admin.microsoft.com), select “Users” > “Active users” and select the account “Reception” created earlier. Add the new “Microsoft 365 Phone System – Virtual User” licence to the account and click “Save changes”.

Generating auto attendant numbers

You’ll need a number for people to call, if you have an existing company number this can be transferred or “Ported” but for the purposes of this tutorial a new number is requested from the Teams admin centre > “Voice” > “Phone numbers” > “Add”. More information on transferring existing numbers can be found in the Microsoft article “Transfer phone numbers to Microsoft Teams”.

In the screenshot below, we have requested a new “0203” prefixed number based on the location of “London, United Kingdom”. The type of number has been requested as “Auto attendant (Toll)” which means the person calling pays for the call. Should you wish a “Toll Free” or freephone number, you would need to buy what Microsoft refer to as “Communication Credits” so that your company pays for the incoming call.

You’ll also need to provide a name and description for the requested number, make sure this is meaningful to you. For more information on Communication Credits, see the Microsoft Article “Set up Communication Credits for your organization”. After clicking “Next” you’ll be shown the assigned number and will have 10 minutes to complete the order.

The confirmation screen confirms that the order has been placed and you can finish the process or request additional numbers.


This tutorial has been split into the following posts;

Part 1 – Background and licencing
Part 2 – Resource accounts and auto attendant numbers (this post)
Part 3 – Creating and configurating the auto attendant

Disclaimer: Details are correct at time of publishing.

Part 1 – Creating an auto attendant in Microsoft Teams

Background

Microsoft Teams can be used to create a virtual reception or as it’s known in Teams, an “Auto attendant”, to route incoming calls to people within your business. A good example of this is when calling automated systems such as your bank when you’re asked to “Press 1 for loans, 2 for Mortgages or 3 to speak to someone.” Etc. Using the built-in tools and with the correct licences, Microsoft Teams can be configured in the same way. Over the next few posts, I’m going to show you a simple call flow, what’s needed to setup something similar and then how to configure the reception number and flow for your business. Creating an auto attendant with options is not as simple as it looks and requires some back and forth between the different options. We’re going to setup an example auto attendant covering the following steps over the next few posts;

Assumptions

To complete this setup, the following has been assumed;

  • The user completing the steps has the necessary administration access
  • Microsoft Teams is already in use and deployed in the organization

Virtual User licences

If they don’t already exist in the tenant, you’ll need at least 1 “Microsoft 365 Phone System – Virtual User” licence assigned. These are free licences and will be assigned to the resource account created in part 2.

Obtaining Virtual User licences

From the Microsoft 365 admin centre (https://admin.microsoft.com/) select “Billing” > “Purchase services”. The licence required is considered an add-on and can be found by scrolling to the bottom of the “Purchase services” page and clicking “Add-ons”.

There is no charge for these licences so multiple can be purchased by increasing the number of users (up to 25). We strongly recommend making sure the option of “Automatically assign to all users with no licences” is not ticked before clicking “Check out now”.

The next couple of screens will ask you to confirm the business address and location and present a summary of licences and costs (£0.00). Even though there is no cost, a valid credit card is still required to be registered in the tenant to complete the checkout. Global Administrators of the tenant will be notified by email when the licences are available for assignment. For users to receive calls, they must have an appropriate licence assigned to their account. Some options depending on business size are;

  • Microsoft 365 Phone System (approx. £6.00. user/month)
  • Microsoft 365 Domestic Calling Plan – 120 minutes (approx. £4.50 user/month)
  • Microsoft 365 Domestic Calling Plan – Unlimited minutes (approx. £9.00 user/month)

International calling plans are also available, and these can be purchased and assigned in the same way as the “Microsoft 365 Phone System – Virtual User” product.


This tutorial has been split into the following posts;

Part 1 – Background and licencing (this post)
Part 2 – Resource accounts and auto attendant numbers
Part 3 – Creating and configurating the auto attendant

Disclaimer: Details are correct at time of publishing.