Vertical TeleVantage SMDR Collection And Reporting Using Tapit Over Serial Ports

Tapit is a popular call accounting package with a large install base. With a load of features including built-in reports and a web server for distributing call detail queries, it can make managing call records easy. TeleVantage also has reporting built in, but this is hampered by the sheer amount of data that must be retained. By using the SMDR (Station Message Detail Recording) protocol to send data to Tapit, long term reporting can be offloaded to Tapit and leave Vertical TeleVantage to manage short term reporting and call statistics. The CDR (Call Detail Records) format can be put out by TeleVantage in multiple available formats. Selection of the correct format on both end of the pipe is important, the details will need to go in the correct database fields.

Hook up to Tapit can be acheived over IP or over a serial cable- The serial cable keeps this traffic out of band. Using the Lucent/Avaya Definity format is the most compatible choice for Tapit. Continue reading “Vertical TeleVantage SMDR Collection And Reporting Using Tapit Over Serial Ports”

How To Monitor Queue Performance In Vertical Televantage

How to monitor a queue using a phone

Dial *55 when logged onto the system using an account that has the “monitor queue” permission. Statisitics will be announced using the system IVR and prompts.

Callers Waiting – How many calls are waiting in the queue
Expected Wait Time – Results of a formula indicating how long of a wait there currently is
Active Agents – Number of available agents
Total Calls – Number of calls received in the current period
Abandon Rate – Abandon calls in percentage of total calls

How to monitor a queue using Viewpoint

Open the Queue Monitor folder in Viewpoint, when logged on as a user with Queue Monitorpermissions. Each individual queue the user has monitor permissions for will appear as a tab. Agent State shows the status of each agent in real time. The Queue Statistics pane shows tallied stats for the whole queue. Clicking the buttons for Inbound, Outbound, and Combined Stats breaks out the numbers by category.

Overall queue statistics are reset at midnight. Shifts and periods can be defined as well, and may be helpful for monitoring performance in a multiple shift environment.

Vertical TeleVantage Password Security

Easy to guess passwords are the Achilles heel of all phone systems. Vertical TeleVantage combats this by offering the administrator the ability to enforce the use of strong passwords for system users. Other options, such as lockout and password expiration make the job of guessing a password much harder.

Requiring Password Complexity
Options for strong passwords include minimum password length, prevent passwords that contain the account’s extension, and a list item entitled ‘Prevent passwords from the following list’. This final option includes a long group of strings such as ‘000’, ‘123’ etc built in, and also allows the administrator to add to, edit, and delete entries from this list.

Passwords Automatically Expire Option
An option to expire passwords after x amount of days is available as a global setting. This option can be overridden for users on an individual basis. Additionally, the user’s properties screen in TeleVantage Administrator has a ‘user must change password on next logon’ option, which allows the forced expiration at any time.

Account Lockout Options
TeleVantage has an “Automatically lock out accounts after X failed logon attempts” option. After the threshold for failed attempts is exceeded, the user may not log in until the account is unlocked. The option to have this account unlocked after X minutes is available, or alternately, the user must wait for an Administrator unlocks the account.

Hang Up On Failed Login Attempts
After an account is locked, the TeleVantage system can be configured to hang up on a caller who fails to log in after X attempts.

Tools>System Security
TeleVantage has a scanning tool built in that looks for common weaknesses in the system. Running Tools>System Security will create a report of users with weak or default passwords. By clicking on individual items in the report, the administrator can address these vulnerable accounts directly.

Vertical TeleVantage License File Types Explained

Televantage license files are text files that contain information about purchased licenses, and are unique to each purchase. A reseller delivers the file (or files) to be imported into a server. These licenses then need to be activated to tie the purchase to a hardware system. The license files may also be exported, which is a good practice for disaster recovery.

The license file contains types of licences and unique keys for each item. The types laid out in the below key can help decipher the actual counts of each product in the license file.

  • Type 0 – Server
  • Type 1 – Station
  • Type 2 – Trunk
  • Type 3 – Client
  • Type 4 – IP Trunk
  • Type 5 – Call Center Agent
  • Type 6 – Reporter
  • Type 7 – Enterprise Manager
  • Type 8 – Conference Manager

TeleVantage Hardening and Attack Response

Vertical Televantage offers some options to defend against remote phone abuse. All PBX phone systems will be abused at some point, whether internally or externally. If you suspect an attack is taking place, Vertical Televantage offers some features that can give evidence of the attacker’s strategy, and some tools to lessen the attack profile.

Watch Logs
Batches of off-hour calls should stand out easily -individual calls should be harder to spot in normal traffic. Make sure you have logging enabled for external calls. Internal calls can also be logged, but the volume of traffic may create issues.

Tools-> System Settings-> Call Log and Trunk Log – make sure at a minimum the call history log and the trunk log settings are checked. Continue reading “TeleVantage Hardening and Attack Response”

Vertical TeleVantage How To Determine Who An Agent Is Calling As

┬áTeleVantage user’s calls are tracked and routed according to who they are and their routing lists. A regular user can place and receive calls and those calls are credited to that user in system reports. Agents who do not log out of phones when hot-desking may cause reports to be skewed.

When a TeleVantage user is a member of a queue or multiple queues, they can call as themselves, or as a queue agent. If the agent is a member of multiple queues, they can be calling as a member of each specific individual queue. To quickly determine who an agent is calling as, press *0. The system will announce who the phone is configured to be calling as.

If the agent has the Viewpoint application available, the lower status bar will show who the agent is making or receiving the call as. The user can switch identities easily by clicking on the status bar and choosing a ‘calling as’ from a drop down list.

Each queue may have different settings, for instance, queue call recording. To be sure that the proper settings are used, the agents should be trained as to the correct ‘calling as’ status for the individual organization’s settings.

Vertical TeleVantage Call History Functionality

Vertical TeleVantage now has a call history feature available to any user who has the Viewpoint client. The Call History pane shows cradle to grave call details illustrating how each call traveled through the system. This tool simplifies tracing calls through the system, and is an invaluable tool when troubleshooting calls that arrived in incorrect locations when the cause is complicated routing, incorrect end-user handling or even mistakes made by the calling party.

The call history information is available to anyone who can see the call log entry they have rights to access. Administrators can use the functionality system wide, users are restricted based on the rights they have been granted. Call center agents can see queue call history if they are specifically granted the right to view the queue’s call log, so queue supervisors can have separation of duties from queue agents.

By selecting a call in the call log and clicking the Call History tab, a user can see all the details of where that call has been in the system, with details including a running ‘call time’ log, what buttons were pressed by the user in auto-attendants, what routing list or call rules were used, transfers, holds, wait times and more. History for active calls can be obtained using the call monitor interface, also by clicking the history tab. This information is updated as actions happen. Call History is retained for 5 days by default in order to conserve disk space, but this system wide setting may be adjusted based on client needs.

An example of the usefulness of this functionality is when an angry caller claims that they have been on hold for 20 minutes, or spoke to an agent who hung up on them. These claims can be verified immediately by reading the call history details. Another useful example is when a user ends up at an incorrect extension because they misdialed. A viewpoint user can look at call history and make an educated decision about which extension the caller was trying to reach and transfer them there with confidence that the calling party will be served quickly and professionally.

Types of agent call distribution in Vertical TeleVantage call center queues

Vertical TeleVantage call queues offer different algorithms to determine call distribution. The queue setup screen allows the choice of how calls will be distributed on a per queue basis. The type of call distribution to choose depends on the business process, each unique situation should determine the type of distribution for the queue.

Top Down – Calls are distributed to an ordered list of agents. The list is walked from top to bottom until an active agent is found. If there is no one available, the algorithm starts over again at the top, until the maximum ring time is reached.

Round Robin – The list is walked in order, starting with a different agent each time. The first agent for the next call is the one in the list who is after the handler of the last call.

Longest Idle – The agent who is idle the longest gets the next call. Agents should remain ready at all times to ensure fair distribution.

Fewest calls – The call center agent with the fewest total calls gets the next call. Short average call times lead to fair distribution.

Least Talk Time – The call center agent with the least talk time gets the next call. Again, short average call times is essential for fair overall distribution.

Simultaneous Ring – All agents’ phones ring at the same time, the first to answer gets the call. This is good for a workgroup scenario, but can also be used for a full call center queue.

Skills Based Routing – Takes agent skill settings into account when routing the call. Skills based routing requires additional setup, and may be appropriate for larger call centers where different products or languages are directed to certain groups of agents. Smaller call centers may find this to be overkill.

Last Agent Routing – New in Vertical TeleVantage version 7.5, this option routes a caller to the agent who had last handled a call from that caller ID. This works only if the agent is signed in and available.

How to back up Vertical TeleVantage

In addition to daily server backup, TeleVantage has a seperate backup procedure. A regular schedule of performing this backup should be followed- this will allow the quickest restore of a server in the event of problems. The following instructions assume the system default installation has been chosen, if the install locations are different, then adjust accordingly.

Choose Tools–> Backup Database. This creates two files, a dump of the database and some registry entries.
Copy these backed up files to an off server location
C:\TeleVantage Server\Data Backup\Tvdb.dmp
C:\TeleVantage Server\Data Backup\Tvserver.reg

Now, copy the voice files off server – get the entire directory at
C:\Program Files\TeleVantage Server\Vfiles

If you use account codes, get them too-
C:\Program Files\TeleVantage Server\accountcode\accountcode.txt

Backups can only be restored to the same version of Vertical TeleVantage they were created from. If the backup is run during heavy useage, some voice mails may be missed in the backup process. It is reccomended that the backups are created during off peak hours. If the server is stopped before the backup, there is no chance of missing a voicemail during the backup procedure.

Vertical TeleVantage Archived Recording Browser

Vertical TeleVantage includes a client for browsing archived call recordings. This tool is installed via the “custom” option of the client setup utility. Once installed, a user who has been granted permissions to browse and search a particular archive may do so, if a user has permissions for multiple archives, they can choose from a drop down of archives to select from.

Archived recordings are culled from mailboxes and saved on a schedule set from the TeleVantage Administrator utility. These scheduled events specify when and how often the calls will be archived. These recordings are then stored on the archive server, which is most likely a separate computer that runs the Vertical TeleVantage Archiving Service.

Once the client starts the Archived Recording Browser, they are presented with a search dialog box. This interface allows choosing which items to search for, and also allows saving parameters as a named search.

Some available search fields include: Continue reading “Vertical TeleVantage Archived Recording Browser”