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Describe and Configure AutoAttendant services using Cisco Unity Express

In this lesson of CCNA voice exam we will learn about configuring auto attendant service in Cisco unity express.

An automated attendant (AA) enables businesses to directly answer and direct incoming phone calls to the right person within an organization without the intervention of an operator.

Default AutoAttendant scripts – a call is routed from cisco unified CME/ Cisco unified communication manager to the cisco unity express AA. When call is received by cisco unity express AA, a script is activated. The script will determine how to address the call. For example if a caller dials 405.555.1050 and it is routed to cisco unity express AA. The caller will hear “welcome to the automated attendant. Enter phone number of the person you want to speak to, press 1; to enter name of person, press 2, to transfer to operator press 0. The caller now has option of how to reach a subscriber / system operator. In case cisco unity express script determines which greeting the caller hears, when caller hears them, and what dialing options caller has.

A default installation of cisco unity express includes two AA scripts which can be implemented and personalized with minimum effort and without requiring a resource which has cisco unity express edition expertise. Following are default unity express AA scripts:

· Auto attendant script

· Auto attendant simple script

Both scripts are preloaded on cisco unity express during the installation process. The default script used by unity express is auto attendant script.

The default auto-attendant script comes with Cisco Unity Express is called aa.aef. This file resides in the system directory, and cannot be downloaded, copied, or uploaded. Default auto-attendant application is also known as the "system script" or "system AA." It supports basic functions such as dial-by-extension, dial-by-spelling username, and call operator functions. For additional functionality we must create a customized auto-attendant script.

The aa.aef script supports holiday lists and business-hours schedules. When a call reaches the auto attendant, the system checks if the current day is a holiday. If it is, the system plays a holiday prompt called AAHolidayPrompt.wav, which states "We are closed today. Please call back later." The script then executes the next operation in the script.

If the current day is not a holiday, the system checks if the business is open or not. If the business is open, the system plays the AABusinessOpen.wav prompt, which is an empty file. If the business is closed, the system plays the AABusinessClosed.wav prompt, which states "We are currently closed. Please call back later."

Following are the parameters that may be configured for the aa.aef script:

WelcomePrompt—default: AAWelcome.wav

OperExtn—default: none

HolidayPrompt—default: AAHolidayPrompt.wav

BusinessOpenPrompt—default: AABusinessOpen.wav

BusinessClosedPrompt—default: AABusinessClosed.wav

BusinessSchedule—default: systemschedule

DisconnectAfterMenu—default: false

AllowExternalTransfers—default: false

The following command syntax is used to configure the script:

Config t (Enter configuration mode)

Ccn application autoattendant (Specifies the application to configure and enters application configuration mode)

Description "text" (Enters a description of the application)

Maxsessions number (Specifies the number of callers who can access this application simultaneously)

Parameter "name" "value" (Specifies parameters for the application, such as "operExtn”, “MaxRetry” , “WelcomePrompt”etc)

AA Greetings/Prompts – AA greetings also known as AA prompts are very much alike voice mail greetings. AA prompts are messages which caller hears when they are routed to AA. AA offers the capabilities to change greeting based on day/ specific time of day.

We can change content of prompt and personalize AA script to suit organization requirements. Following scripts are available with default AA script:

· Welcome prompt

· Business open prompt

· Business closed prompt

· Holiday prompt

Welcome prompt is first prompt a caller hears when connected to the AA script. This is a message which organization wants caller to hear irrespective of day/time call comes.

After display of welcome prompt, cisco unity express checks the configuration schedule and holiday list to determine which prompt will be displayed next.

If call is received at AA during normal business hours on a non holiday, the business open prompt will be played to the caller. In case call is received outside normal business hours then personalized message could be displayed thru business closed prompt.

In case caller is routed to AA during a holiday, the holiday prompt will be activated.

After prompts are displayed cisco unity express prompts for user action.

Business hours settings – are determined by a schedule which is configured on cisco unity express. This schedule is broken down into half hour announcements from Monday to Sunday basis. For normal hour operation put a check mark in half hour timeslot and removes the check mark for non business hour in half hour timeslot. We can create schedule for a day and copy it to other days, all weekdays, and weekends. After creating schedule we can save and apply it to AA without changing default AA script.

Holiday settings – it is simply a list of dates and needs a holiday prompt to be played to all AA callers. Data can be entered by calendar date, specifying day/month/year or dates can be entered as fixed dates also. We can copy holiday settings to the following year.

AA operator - The AA operator is similar like voice mail system operator as his extension can be dialed as 0 , this allows caller to reach a live person if they don’t know name/extension of the person they want to talk to.

Dial by name / extension – when caller is redirected to AA, they have option to dial by extension number or by spelling subscriber name also. With spell by name function, the administrator has option to require callers to use either last name or first name, or first name first. This is a global configuration and each caller must use the same method for spelling out name.

Administration via telephone system – AVT gives the administrator easy way to record prompts and all callers of the current situation. Such as assume that severe weather conditions have forced business to close down. The AA greeting can be overridden stating that “due to severe weather condition business is shutdown for the day. Please call back later”.

Cisco unity express custom scripting

With cisco unity express, an administrator can customize the caller’s experience when their call is routed into cisco unity express AA. It has a collection of software steps that define treatment the caller will receive such as we want to write a script to accomplish following tasks:

· Answer the call

· Determine time of day

· If open, play prompt and allow caller to choose which subscriber to transfer to

· If closed transfer caller to an off-premises number

This can be done using custom script created in cisco unity express editor.

After recording the .wav greeting or prompt file, upload the file using the ccn copy url command in Cisco Unity Express EXEC mode:

Ccn copy url ftp://source-ip-address/script-filename.aef script script-filename.aef [username username password password]

This concludes CCNA voice exam lesson on how to configure Auto attendant features / functionalities in cisco unity express.