Announce caller position in queue


Short problem description:
We don’t want our phones to stop ringing when the caller position is announced.

In my queue I’d like to announce the callers position every 15 seconds. This works except for one thing. When the system is announcing the position to the caller the agent phones stop ringing (for about 10 seconds, time of the recording). When the position announcement is ready the phones continue ringing until the next time the position is announced. What can we do to fix this?

I’m using Asterisk 1.8.3 (with FreePBX but can also manually edit files).

Kind regards,


To my knowledge, that is the way it works. There are notes concerning the fact that when an announcement is playing (position in queue or the standard your call is important to us) that the call is basically not available to be picked up by an agent. This is how two people can be in the queue and due to timing, the second caller could actually land on an agent first.

This really sounds like a huge bug in Asterisk.
How can a callcenter function this way? If a second caller is answered before the first one the servicelevels won’t be correct!

Is this allready addressed as a bug?

I imagine it would be rejected as a bug, given the number of people using it in call centres and not complaining. You would have to raise it as new feature, which means you would need to patches, against the trunk version, to implement it.

The basic structure of app_queue is that calls pick agents, rather than agents pick calls. It’s also a polling process.

There are some tricks, I think, to prevent a call picking an agent if there is a better candidate for the agent available. You didn’t mention a version, but it is possible that those are also applied to calls outputting messages, in later versions.

Well you can use Asterisk in callcenters without issues as long as you don’t enable the position announcement.
But it is good customer service to tell a customer their position or waiting time. In my opinion it must work without any issues. Another key thing in callcenter world is servicelevels (i.e. external callcenter company’s get paid by servicelevel) so I think it will be important to request this is a feature (any idea where I can do this?)…

The version we are using of Asterisk is 1.8.3.

While announcements interfering with queue positioning is a problem, it is not the huge problem that prevents asterisk from being used by high volume, high service level call centers. I would agree that this is not a bug but would be a nice feature.

Telling callers their call position periodically is useful and desirable but from a usability point of view announcing every 15 seconds will annoy callers more than help and prompt them to hangup [maybe that is the goal]. Based on caller surveys and statistical analysis of queue performance, we have found that intervals in the 2-4 minute range are optimal. Using this, we are finding that less than 1 call in every thousand will get processed out of sequence. Obviously YMMV based on the profile of call load and call lengths etc but while this is annoying it does not rise to the level of show stopper.

One of my biggest complaints about waiting is in a queue is just as you are getting into the music, an announcement comes on telling you how important your call is and that someone will be with you shortly. To many interruptions is more annoying than being on hold to long.

While there is talk of improvements, lets get a random announcement selector in there.

  1. You are really important to us. Please continue to hold.
  2. Seriously, it shouldn’t be much longer. We pay people to only talk. Without you, they wouldn’t need to be here.
  3. Our apologies, this is taking a little longer than expected.
  4. Your still waiting? It must really be something of importance then. Keep holding, we will get to you, unless 5 o’clock rolls around then, it will have to wait till tomorrow.

Get something like 30 messages, so that its always changing up.

Agreed, it is no show stopper (but nevertheless it is a nice-to-have).

Considering what customers want… let us not forget that this is very different per country. We have also done research and held surveys and here it shows customers do not prefer music while on hold and prefer their waiting time announced once a minut (survey was over a period of 3 days with 12000 unique calls a day).