Managing Unified Messaging Auto Attendant (Part 4)

 If you would like to read the other parts in this article series please go to:

Customized Voice Prompts in a multi UM Server environment

We can use more than one UM Server role to provide high availability, and in this kind of scenario we must make sure that all recorded voice prompts are distributed among the existent UM Servers. Actually, we do not need to worry about that because all UM content is distributed by the Microsoft Exchange File Distribution Service among the existent UM Servers.

The first UM Exchange Server 2007 installed is responsible for the prompt publishing point. This means that the server has a shared folder called ExchangeUM where all customized prompts will be kept and from there they will be replicated over to other UM Servers that belong to the same dial plan. The folder keeps the recorded voice prompts at Dial Plan or Auto Attendant directory level, as shown in Figure 01. Depending on your infrastructure you might have .wav files under either dial plan or Auto Attendant directories.

Figure 01

When we configure a personalized voice prompt for a Dial Plan or Auto Attendant the .wav files are automatically copied to the correspondent directory structure.

We can see our Dial Plans and Auto Auttendant GUIDs using two Exchange management Shell cmdlets (Figure 02):

Get-UMDialPlan | Select Name,Guid
Get-UMAutoAttendant | Select Name,Guid

Figure 02

After running the cmdlets it is easier to understand the structure of the ExchangeUM shared folder and why the .wav files are there. For example in Figure 03 we can see 6 (six) files under a second level directory which means that those files are assigned to an Auto Attendant.

Figure 03

We can verify where the prompt distribution point is. The prompt distribution point configuration is kept in the attribute PromptPublishingPoint in the Dial Plan, and we can get this information using the Get-UMDialPlan cmdlet. The following syntax can be used:

Get-UMDialPlan | fl

The path displayed in the output of that cmdlet should be in your backup strategy in order to protect the UM Server role.

If you have a large environment and you want to force the .wav replication among your UM Servers, you can use the Update-FileDistributionService to force this replication instead of waiting for the normal process.

Installing Unified Messaging Language Packs

Some companies need to add support for their native language in the Unified Messaging role, the language packs installed can be used by UM Auto Attendant as well. The Unified Messaging Language Pack page has all language packs available for Exchange Server 2007, all existent language pack support TTS (Text-to-Speech) and the system prompts.

Let’s download the language pack for the second official language of Canada which is French (CA-FR). After downloading the package we can run which can be found at X:\Program Files\Microsoft\Exchange Server\bin as shown in Figure 04. The following syntax can be used to install a second language pack on the UM Server: /AddUMLanguagePack:< language – country code> /s: <source path where the language .msi file was downloaded>

Figure 04

Configuring an Auto Attendant to choose the language preferences

We already have in place our Auto Attendant with the required language of English, now we are going to create a UM Auto Attendant that will ask the caller which language they prefer and then redirect them to the proper Auto Attendant.  For this scenario we will configure a simple Auto Attendant with a basic Greeting in both languages, and a basic menu prompt which will ask which language the user prefers: 1 – English and 2 – French.

Before creating an Auto Attendant to allow the caller to decide the language, let’s prepare the French portion of our Auto Attendant. Basically we have to recreate the configuration that has been in use in English as a French version. Currently, the ASR feature only works for the English language. This means that the second language must use touchtone to navigate through the menus.

Record all custom voice prompts using the French language and configure the French Auto Attendant to use the French language in the Features tab, as shown in Figure 05.

Figure 05

Okay, now we have to create an Auto Attendant that will be put in front of the two structures that we already have (English and French Auto Attendants) and it will be responsible for asking the caller which language they would like to use and then redirecting them to the proper Auto Attendant.

Basically, let’s create an Auto Attendant called “Language”, let’s disable the speech feature of our Auto Attendant, and we will configure this Auto Attendant without any special features, its only purpose is to figure out which language the caller wants.

  • Do not configure any non-business greetings and menu prompts.
  • Configure the greetings and main menu prompt using both languages in the same customized voice prompt, and ask the callers to hit 1 for English or hit 2 for French.
  • In the Times tab, configure to run all the time.
  • In the Features tab, disable both: the Allow caller to transfer and Allow callers to transfer.
  • Do not configure an Operator.
  • Create a Key Mapping (Figure 06) using 1 for English and 2 for French and in the action of each entry configure to redirect to the according Auto Attendant.

Figure 06

The last step is to configure the extension number specified in the Language UM Auto Attendant to receive the calls and then the callers will be prompted by the preferred language. After the callers language choice they will receive a custom UM Auto Attendant in the chosen language, as shown in Figure 07.

Figure 07

Validating the UM numbers through Performance Monitor

We have plenty of counters to monitor the Exchange UM Auto Attendant component in the Performance Monitor, in order to get basic data we can use Performance monitor to get some interesting counters, such as: Calls with DTMF fallback where we can analyze if the callers are having problems using ASR; Total Calls; Operators Transfer where we can validate how many calls the operator is receiving and we can compare with the number of calls that the operator was receiving before using UM Auto Attendant; Out of Hours Calls where we can validate how many hours our company is receiving during the non-business hours, etc.

These mentioned counters and more can be found at the MSExchangeUMAutoAttendant counter in the performance monitor (Figure 08). We can also use Microsoft Operation Manager or System Center Operations Manager to control and manage these counters.

Figure 08


In this final article we validated how to deploy a language pack and use it with Auto Attendant. We also saw how to gather some UM Auto Attendant numbers using the Performance Monitor.

 If you would like to read the other parts in this article series please go to:

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