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CUCME B-ACD & AA Functionality Overview

Wow, that title is quite an alphabet soup.  To clarify what all of that mumbo jumbo means - please allow me to spell it out!
Cisco Unified Call Manager Express Basic Automatic Call Distribution and Auto-Attendant Service
As of yet, I've not had a customer that uses B-ACD yet within their enterprise.  We have various CUCME deployments, Unity call handlers, CUE attendants, and other variations of call queueing and distribution systems.  So, I was a bit out of my element when I decided to spend the night getting to know B-ACD and how it can be used.  I learned quite a few things, categorized a few "gotchas" and generally learned to appreciate the relative benefits that this technology can use.  After all, this feature could be on the Cisco CCIE Voice lab, so it is wise to understand how to implement and customize B-ACD.

The ability to add this functionality into an existing router and not have to pay for the additional footprint of another device makes this a very attractive option for a small or medium sized office.  While it may not have all the bells and whistles of a larger contact center deployment - it still hits the mark for many businesses.

Cisco Unified CME B-ACD Overview

Cisco Unified CME B-ACD provides automatic answering and call distribution for calls through the use of interactive menus and local hunt groups. Each Cisco Unified CME B-ACD application consists of one or more auto-attendant (AA) services and one call-queue service. An incoming call dials the B-ACD AA pilot number and hears a prompt that provides a greeting and instructions to help the caller automatically route the call.

For example, callers to a newspaper might hear: "Thank you for calling the Times. To place an advertisement or to subscribe to the Dispatch, press 1; for the editorial department, press 2; for the operator, press 0; if you know your party's extension, press 4." Callers who do not select an option will hear the greeting and menu options repeated.

After a caller presses a digit to be connected to a particular department or service, the call is routed to a call queue for an ephone hunt group that has been set up to answer calls for that department or service. If a phone is available in the hunt group, the call is connected. If no phone is available in the hunt group, the call remains in the call queue. While the call is in the queue, the caller hears music on hold (MOH). At intervals, the caller hears a second greeting audio prompt. From the queue, the call periodically reattempts to connect to a phone in the hunt group. If no phone becomes available within a specified period, the call is routed to an alternate, configurable destination.

The Cisco Unified CME B-ACD application is specified by two Tool Command Language (Tcl) scripts: an AA script that handles the welcome prompt and menu choices, and a call-queue script that manages call routing and queuing behavior.

Cisco Unified CME B-ACD Components

As mentioned, the Cisco Unified CME B-ACD application consists of a call-queue service and one or more AA services. The configurable components of these services are outlined as follows.  Keep in mind that each one of these topics could be it's own blog entry..  hmm..  that's not a bad idea!
  • Pilot Number : This is the number that callers dial to reach the AA.
  • Welcome Prompt and Other Audio Files
  • Menu Options
  • Hunt Group Option and Ephone Hunt Groups  :  These define how calls are distributed to groups that share the same function.
  • Dial-by-Extension Option  :  Allows the caller to go straight to a known agent.
  • Drop-Through Mode  :  "Drops" the caller directly into a hunt group following an optional greeting.
  • Multiple Auto-Attendant Services  :  Multiple AA Services can be created that feed into a common single call-queue.
  • Call Queues
  • Call Queue Exit Options
  • Alternate Destination for Unavailable Hunt Groups  :  Where do I go if nobody is logged in?
  • Voice Mail  :  Optionally refer callers to voice mail to leave a message. 
That's enough for now.  I wanted to give you a taste of what this useful feature can provide.  Much more information can be found in the official Cisco document below.  I will be adding more B-ACD related posts in the next week that focus more closely on the various components listed above.  

More Info
Cisco Unified CME B-ACD and TCL Call-Handling Applications
"B-ACD In A Nutshell" - Vik Malhi - Highly Recommended!

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