Shared Voicemail arrives in Teams!

Hello fellow Teams-enthusiasts. Here I am again with another post about some exciting Teams features. Starting of January 2020, Teams auto attendants are now supporting shared voicemail. This means that calls can be routed to voicemail (Hurray!)

Previously, this was solved by creating a generic account with full PSTN licensing. The only thing you need now is an Office365-group.

How to use shared voicemail

Firstly, you need an Office365-group. This can be an existing one or you can create a new group just for voicemail. The important part is that the employees that need to handle the voicemails are a member of this group.

Office365-group in Outlook

Office365-group in Outlook

When the group is created, you can start creating an auto attendant or edit an existing one. When configuring the call routing, you see the new option “Voicemail”. There you select the Office365-group and choose whether to allow transcription or not

Configuring the voicemail call routing

Configuring the voicemail call routing

In most cases, you use this for handling calls after hours or during holidays. This is now possible.

Putting it to the test

When testing this flow, the auto attendant is called. You hear 1 – 2 seconds of silence and after that, you hear an automated voice stating to leave a message after the tone. When you hang up, the voicemail message is processed and send to the Office365-group.

A voicemail message arriving in Outlook

A voicemail message arriving in Outlook

There, all user can listen to this message and handle accordingly.

One thing I’d like is that the message that says to leave a message after a tone can be edited or personalized. Now, it follows the language of the auto attendant. For English, this isn’t a big issue. For my native language Dutch however, the voice sounds bulky with the typical translator-articulation.

What about queues?

Queues are being left out of the story, meaning that you can’t directly transfer a call to voicemail after a queue time-out or a call overflow.

However, you can still achieve this with a simple workaround. If you want a queue to forward a call to a shared voicemail after a certain time-out, you need to create a voicemail auto attendant and let the call queue refer to this auto attendant. The auto attendant is a dedicated voicemail identity where all calls are routed to the voicemail instead of just calls after hours or during holidays.

Workaround for Call Queues

Workaround for Call Queues

Edit: Since august 2020, it is possible to directly forward calls to voicemail via Call Queues. The workaround described above is still working, but not needed anymore.

Wrap up

Implementing Voicemail to Microsoft Teams enterprise voice is a big step forward to enhancing the product. I have several clients working with workarounds who will be delighted this feature is finally here. If only we could customize the voicemail greeting. Who knows, maybe in the future.

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15 comments on “Shared Voicemail arrives in Teams!”

  1. Steven Allain says:

    Are the voicemails that are sent to the group available on each of the groups users desk phones?

    1. Andreas Van Waeyenberge says:

      Hi Steven

      Unfortunately not. The voicemails on the desk phones are the ones the user receives personally through Teams. With shared voicemail, the voicemails aren’t received personally through Teams, but distributed via an Office365-group.

  2. James Cook says:

    Great! Can you customize the voicemail message on a group?

    1. Andreas Van Waeyenberge says:

      Hi James!

      I hope this feature will be implemented as well! At this moment, the voicemail message itself can’t be customized.
      However, you can always use the greeting of the call queue / Auto Attendant to input a customized message before going to the voicemail.

  3. Najef says:

    How does it work using Call Queues? It forwards calls the Auto Attendand, does the resource account need a different phone number than the call queue? and what licences does it need to be able to handle only voicemail?

    1. Andreas Van Waeyenberge says:

      Hi Najef

      Your call queues do not need to have a different phone number or anything.
      Referring to an Auto Attendant, even if it is for voicemail, stays the same as it would be without voicemail.
      It would just be Call Queue > Auto Attendant > Voicemail.

      Looking at the question, I assume you have a call queue with a phone number on it. This one just needs the virtual phone system license. From that queue, you redirect to the Auto Attendant.
      The auto attendant then directly redirects to the voicemail. The resource account of the auto attendant does not need a license for this.

    2. Luis says:

      since we are transferring the call from the AA to the call queue wouldn’t this add time to route the call to VM?

      Can you share what settings on the CQ need to be configure in order to avoid adding extra time on the call?

      Thank you

      1. Andreas Van Waeyenberge says:

        Hi Luis

        Starting from august, it is possible to directly redirect from Call Queue to Voicemail.
        So no routing to AA is needed to use voicemail on Call Queues.

  4. Quinton says:

    Any ideas as to when the call recording feature may be available for MS Teams Calls?

    + a “listen in” feature to enable staff to listen in on calls for training purposes?

    1. Andreas Van Waeyenberge says:

      Hi Quinton

      We are all waiting for this to be integrated with Teams.
      For now, I can only share the following links:

      There are a lot of 3rd party applications who allow you to do this though. Take a look a couple of our partners’ website if you find something you need:

  5. David O'Connor says:

    Hi Andreas, can users be allowed to delete the voicemail from the group in outlook 365 after they have dealt with it.

    1. Andreas Van Waeyenberge says:

      Hi David,
      They sure can! It works like any other Office365 group. Delete the message in Outlook and done.
      If, ofcourse the user has enough permissions in the group to do this.

  6. Scott MacGregor says:

    When selecting option “voicemail” why can’t it be a users personal voicemail with associated greeting?
    I have set up the main admin office phone to ring the Team then roll to the auto attendant. If they would like to leave a message press 0. This would transfer to the main admin voicemail with associated greeting.

  7. Jon says:

    Thought you should know that VM is now available in Call Queues as well 🙂

    1. Andreas Van Waeyenberge says:

      Hi Jon. Thanks for they comment! We are aware of this of being available, but the article isn’t updated yet. So thank you for the reminder! 🙂

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