The system AA is shipped to ensure that you can set up a working system in a minimal amount of time. You simply configure a small number of parameters, and record a few greetings (called prompts on the Cisco UE system). You do not have to worry about the script itself, because it is fixed and cannot be changed.
The system AA offers the canned menu shown in Example 9-2. The highlighted lines are new features added to the system AA in Cisco UE Release 2.1.
Example 9-20. Cisco UE System AA Menu
If emergency alternate greeting active Play "alternate greeting" Play "welcome greeting" If holiday Play "holiday greeting" Else if business open Play "business open greeting" Else Play "business closed greeting" To enter the phone number of the person you are trying to reach, press 1 To enter the name of the person you are trying to reach, press 2 To transfer to the operator, press 0
You can change the welcome greeting to your own greeting, such as "Welcome to XYZ Company...." Similarly, you can rerecord the alternate, holiday, business open, and business closed greetings to suit your needs even though the Cisco UE system supplies system default greetings.
The system AA's menu structure cannot be changed. The parameters of the system AA script, such as the welcome greeting and the operator extension, can be configured as shown in Figure 9-2. The list of available prompts (or greetings) present on the system is shown in the drop-down box. The operator extension is set to 3010 in Figure 9-2. The concepts of scripts, variables, and parameters are discussed in more detail in the "Customizing the Cisco UE AA" section later in this chapter.
Figure 9-2. Setting the System AA Parameters
The system AA script contains several general AA features, such as dial-by-number and dial-by-name, that you also can reuse in your customized AA scripts. Before you look at the script editor and the mechanics of writing a script for your AA, the next sections cover some of these general AA features in more detail.
The Dial-by-Number Feature
If the caller selects the dial-by-number option (the "To enter the phone number of the person you are trying to reach, press 1" line from the system AA uses this feature), the caller is prompted to enter the extension followed by the pound (or hash) key. After the caller presses this key (#), a blind transfer attempt is made to the digits the caller enters.
If the transfer is successful, the destination phone rings, and the caller hears ringback. If the destination party does not answer, after the CFNA timeout, the call is redirected to voice mail.
If the transfer is unsuccessful because of a system error or because the caller enters a nonexistent extension, the caller hears an overflow (also called reorder or fast-busy) tone.
The call is transferred (blind transfer) regardless of whether the extension exists or whether the caller entered an extension or a longer number that may translate to a PSTN destination. Cisco UE AA does not check the digits entered and does not consult any directories for the dial-by-number feature. By default, any number that is part of the Cisco CME dial plan can be dialed from the Cisco UE AA.
If you want to restrict the destination numbers that can be reached via the AA dial-by-number feature, use the Class of Restriction (COR) Cisco CME feature to stop calls to undesired destinations.
The Dial-by-Name Feature
If the caller selects the dial-by-name option (the "To enter the name of the person you are trying to reach, press 2" line from the system AA uses this feature), he or she is prompted to spell the person's name (the last name followed by the first name) using the phone's touch-tone keypad. Based on the digits the caller enters, the local directory on Cisco UE is searched to find a match. If multiple matches are found, Cisco UE plays the names for all the matches and prompts, and the caller chooses the correct entry from the list.
When the destination party has been identified, a blind transfer attempt is made to the extension. Before attempting the transfer, a prompt in the format of calling: is played. If the destination party does not have a spoken name recorded in the directory, the prompt calling is played instead.
When the transfer is successful, the destination phone rings, and the caller hears ringback. If the destination party does not answer, after the CFNA timeout, the call is redirected to voice mail.
Unlike the dial-by-number feature, the dial-by-name feature can transfer a call only to a valid user configured on the system. Figure 9-3 shows the fields (First Name and Last Name) to configure in the user profile that underpin the directory used by the dial-by-name feature.
Figure 9-3. Configuring User Names for the Dial-by-Name Feature
Groups configured on Cisco UE do not have associated name fields and, therefore, do not exist in the directory used for dial-by-name. This means groups cannot be dialed via the dial-by-name feature. Instead, explicit AA menu branches can be built to direct calls to groups. For example, a menu branch such as "For sales, press 2. For support, press 3" may be used to direct calls to groups of people in your organization that support a particular function. This type of AA menu requires a custom AA to be used on your system.
The Transfer to the Operator Feature
The caller is given the option of being transferred to an operator or receptionist by pressing 0 in the system AA via the line "To transfer to the operator, press 0." The operator extension may be any extension in your organization. Upon pressing 0, the caller is transferred to the extension configured in the operExtn parameter, shown earlier in Figure 9-2.
Although the system AA uses this feature specifically for a transfer to the operator operation, it uses a generic script component to transfer a call. In a custom script, this element may be used to transfer the call to any destination of your choice, including PSTN locations.
Business Hours Call Routing
A business hours schedule is a popular use of an AA. Callers during business hours get different treatment (greetings and menu options) than after-hours callers.
The system AA (as of Cisco UE Release 2.1) checks for business hours (as shown in Example 9-2). You set this up in the GUI by indicating which days of the week and which hour ranges (in 30-minute increments) within each day represent your business hours.
There is also a business hours script step that you can use in a custom AA to achieve the same functionality.
Cisco UE Release 2.1 introduces a holiday schedule within the system AA. You can use this to provide a different greeting (or menu) on January 1 than on any other day of the year. You can configure up to 26 different dates (over three years) that are considered holidays. When the system date matches any of these dates, callers hear the holiday greeting and menus.
On Cisco UE releases before 2.1 that do not have this built-in holiday schedule capability, you can build similar functionality by using the day-of-week step in a custom script. The system AA in releases up to 2.0 contains no way to provide special holiday treatment.
With a custom script, if, for example, January 1 is a holiday for your business and it falls on Thursday of this week, you can change the AA script on Monday to provide a special menu on Thursday using the day-of-week element. After Thursday, January 1 has passed, you have to change the AA script again (removing the special Thursday menu). Otherwise, the special holiday menu will occur on every Thursday of every week.
Emergency Alternate Greeting
Another popular AA function is an emergency greeting that can be activated remotely in case something unexpected happens, and the AA menu must be changed immediately to inform callers of the situationfor example, that the office will not be open today. Examples of common emergencies include a snowstorm or a natural disaster such as an earthquake, or an illness in a very small business where there may not be other employees to cover for the absent person.
The Cisco UE emergency alternate greeting (EAG) is a system function that is used in the system AA. It also can be included at any place in the menu flow in any custom script. The system AA is set up such that when the EAG exists (if this feature has been activated), it is played out right at the top of the script before the normal welcome greeting. The modified system AA flow was shown in Example 9-2. The EAG might say something like "Due to the heavy snowstorm in New York, the office will be closed until Monday, April 4." After the EAG recording has been played, the normal AA menu is presented to the caller.
The EAG feature is controlled by the existence or absence of an EAG greeting (a .wav file) in the system with the appropriate filename (AltGreeting.wav). If this file exists on the system, the EAG feature is automatically active, and the special greeting is played wherever the AA menu directs it to be played. If the .wav file is deleted, the EAG feature is automatically deactivated (the If test in Example 9-2 is false), and the AA menu reverts to its normal flow. The EAG is a very convenient feature to use. All you have to do is call the system and record the EAG or delete it. When you do that, the EAG feature is automatically turned on or off.
The number to call to record the greeting (to turn on the EAG feature) or to delete it (to turn off the EAG feature) is the Cisco UE pilot number associated with the greeting management system (GMS). It can be accessed from any PSTN location. The GMS aspect of the Cisco UE AA system is discussed in more detail in the later section "The Cisco UE Greeting Management System." Briefly, it allows you to record and manage all the prompts used in your AA via any telephone (a local IP phone or a PSTN phone).
The AA Operator
A call must always be handled to logical completion by an automated system such as an AA. During the AA menu flow, various errors may occur, such as timeouts. Another error can occur when the caller is told to press some keys and he or she either does not have a touch-tone phone, chooses not to respond, or is unable to understand the language spoken by the AA prompt. These calls cannot be left hanging. When the error occurs, the call must be redirected to a default treatment, because it cannot proceed through the AA script.
A typical way to handle these types of errors in an AA menu is to transfer such calls to a person (an operator) who can then speak to the caller. This person can be the receptionist or any of the employees in the business. The system AA script has an operator extension parameter. It is recommended that your custom AA scripts include the same functionality. That way, an extension can be filled into this parameter for the person (extension) who acts as the operator for all calls that cannot proceed to completion through the AA.
Customizing the Cisco UE AA