Interview Handler

This topic describes the interview handler, which is used to interview callers and record their answers.

The interview handler asks the caller for a response to as many as 20 questions. The answers are recorded and sent to a configured recipient. Specify the basic settings and the interview questions:

  • Define as many as 20 questions.
  • Enter the recording length in seconds that is allowed for caller responses to each interview-handler question.
  • Enter the text of each interview-handler question.
  • Record the call handler questions.
  • Activate the questions.

Define the interview questions:

  • Name, phone number, product, and issue with the product.

The example is for a product hotline interview handler. The first two questions ask the caller for their name and phone number. The interview handler then asks for the product name and for information about the caller’s issue with the product. You may group your questions differently.

Begin by choosing the question number to configure. Define the question message length in seconds (the default is 30 seconds). For the last question in this example, you will need to give the caller enough time to explain the issue with the product. In the Question Text field, enter a short description of the question to help the administrator remember what the question is about.

Record each question. If no question is recorded, a question is not asked. All answers in this example are consolidated into one message. The question answers are divided by a tone.

Directory Handler

This topic describes the directory handler and how to limit the search scope in Cisco Unity Connection.

The main task of the directory handler is to allow callers to search for users in Cisco Unity Connection or on connected voice-messaging systems. The user access can be restricted with the dial plan configuration. Set the basic directory-handler parameters and define the caller input and greeting:

  • Play the names of users in the directory for caller choosing rather than requiring the caller to search by spelled name. This option requires voice recognition.
  • Choose the method that callers use to spell a username: First Name, Last Name, or the default method of Last Name, First Name.
  • Choose how the results are presented to the caller: Route Automatically on a Unique Match, Always Request Caller Input, Announce Matched Names Using Extension Format, or Menu Format.

The caller input allows only the following options, in combination with call actions:

  • If the caller exits, the caller is sent to the opening greeting.
  • If there is no input or if no choice is made, the caller is sent to the Goodbye call handler.
  • If the caller presses zero, the caller is sent to the Operator call handler.

There is no definition for the choice of a single key, except the 0 key.

The greeting settings are limited to the choice of a default or custom greeting. There is no schedule to configure for the directory handler.

Define the search results behavior:

  • Announcement example: “For Jane Doe, press 1. For John Doe, press 2. For a new search, press star (*).”
  • Modify the options for the TUI experience.
  • TUI = telephone user interface

Users can choose to list or delist themselves:

  • Via the telephone user interface during the self-enrollment
  • Through the user administration, via the List in Directory check box

The default search result behavior is to always request input from the caller when choosing a user. When a caller enters 363 (for Doe), the users John Doe and Jane Doe are both announced, together with their extension numbers and calling options.

In this example, the prompt announces, “There are two matching names. For Jane Doe at extension 2003, press 1. For John Doe at extension 2001, press 2. No more matching names. For a new search, press star.”

The extension announcement can be disabled, and the maximum number of matches is limited to eight.

The user can decide whether to be listed in the directory of extensions. The choice is made during self-enrollment or via a user interface. In the CoS settings, you can prevent the users from delisting themselves by disallowing that option.

Goodbye Call Handler

This topic shows the settings of the Goodbye call handler.

The Goodbye call handler allows the caller to do the following:

  • Sign in (*).
  • Restart the opening greeting (#).
  • Reach the operator (0).
  • Dial an extension.

The After Message Action of the Goodbye call handler is set to terminate the call after the greeting is played.

The Goodbye call handler allows the caller to sign in, restart the opening greeting, reach the operator, or dial an extension. However, the Goodbye call handler greeting only announces the option to dial an extension. By default, the other three options are not announced during the greeting. If the caller does not choose any option during that greeting (which is 5 seconds long), the call is terminated.

Operator Call Handler

This topic describes the default Operator call handler functionality.

After the opening greeting, connect to the operator:

  • Valid for standard and closed greetings.
  • The operator extension is 0, by default.
    1. Change the extension to the operator phone number and choose Extension or URI for Transfer Calls To.
    2. Call screening is disabled by default and can be enabled by choosing Supervise Transfer.

The standard transfer rule is enabled without an end date. The calls are transferred to extension 0 by default. Change this setting value to the operator directory number; for example, extension 2001.


The operator extension in the basic configuration must remain as (0), otherwise the Opening Greeting call handler will not work. The extension 0 must be changed to 2001 in the transfer rule settings.

When the Release to Switch transfer type is specified, the call is transferred directly to the phone system. The “Wait While I Transfer Your Call” prompt is played; this prompt can be disabled.

When you choose Supervisor Transfer instead of Release to Switch for Transfer Type, call-screening options can be used.

Operator Not Available

The operator is unavailable to take a message.

  • The take message call action is set for the standard, closed, and busy greeting.
  • Message recipient can be one of these entities:
    1. User with Mailbox (operator)
    2. Distribution List
  • After the call:

If the operator is unavailable, the caller can leave a message. The message recipient is the operator that is a preconfigured user with a mailbox and the assigned extension 99990. To listen to the operator messages, call Cisco Unity Connection from any phone and press the Messages button or dial the voicemail pilot number. Press the asterisk or star key (*) to reach the sign-in menu, then enter the ID 99990 and the PIN. After the message is taken, the Goodbye call handler is chosen.

Caller Input Analysis

This topic analyzes the call action based on the caller input.

Caller input analysis:

  • Dial an extension, press 4 for the directory call handler, or wait.
  • An extension is recognized if the second digit is dialed within 1500 ms.
  • At any time you may dial 0 or # to reach the operator.
  • Dialing * allows you to log in with any mailbox ID.

The caller can dial an extension at any time, press 4 for the directory call handler, or wait to be transferred to the operator if available. The caller also can press the asterisk or star (*) key to log in to the personal mailbox by entering the ID and PIN. The caller can press the pound (#) key or 0 to reach the operator without waiting.

How does Cisco Unity Connection distinguish between, for example, the directory choice (4) and the directory number 4001? The Wait for Additional Digits 1500-ms setting gives the caller exactly 1.5 seconds to press 0 after pressing 4. If the caller waits 2 seconds, the call reaches the directory call handler, because Cisco Unity Connection will recognize only the entry 4. If the caller presses 5 only, nothing happens; this key is ignored because call action Ignore is specified.


Only extensions configured in Cisco Unity Connection are recognized as valid.

The caller presses 4 for the directory: The call action is to connect to the default directory handler.

When a caller presses 4, the call action forwards the call to the default directory handler. Because the Ignore Additional Input (Locked) check box is not checked, you can reach extensions that start with 4. If you check this box, you prevent callers from dialing extensions starting with 4 because any keys that are pressed after 4 are not accepted.

Greeting Analysis

This topic analyzes the greeting options for the Opening Greeting call handler.

Opening greeting analysis:

  • Active schedule is Weekdays
  • By default, the standard and closed greeting are configured in the same way.
  • After the greeting, the caller is sent to the Operator call handler.

In the Opening Greeting call handler, the standard and the closed greetings are configured in the same way. The greeting is played and then forwards the caller to the Operator call handler.

The difference between the standard and closed greeting is that you can modify the closed greeting status but not the status of the standard greeting. You can modify the default call routing to meet your requirements; for example, you can record a personalized company greeting.

Default Call Handler Flow

This topic describes the call flow in Cisco Unity Connection with the default call handlers.

  • The default call handler flow starts with the opening greeting.
  • The opening greeting offers the following options:

The Cisco Unity Connection standard opening greeting is played to callers that are not configured as users with an extension or alternate extension in Cisco Unity Connection.

The Opening Greeting call handler allows the caller to do one of the following actions:

  • Dial an extension at any time.
  • Press 4 for a directory of extensions.
  • Be connected to the operator or leave a message.

If available, the operator is called via the preconfigured Operator call handler. If the operator is not available, callers can leave a message that is sent to the mailbox of the operator.

After recording and sending a message, callers can hang up or press the pound key (#) for more options. In this example, those options are to dial an extension or to hang up.

Caller Input

This topic describes the actions that you can apply to caller input that is entered by the caller.

Caller input with applied actions is the key of a system call handler. Because these actions are mostly individual, set caller input in the call handler itself.

To define the action that Cisco Unity Connection takes in response to phone keys that are pressed by callers, choose from the options that are presented in the figure. Besides choosing any configured call handler or choosing users with a mailbox, you can choose the following call actions.

  • Hang Up: Cisco Unity Connection immediately terminates the call when a caller presses the applicable phone key on the phone.
  • Ignore Key: Cisco Unity Connection ignores the key press and continues playing the greeting. Use this option when only certain key presses should be defined.
  • Restart Greeting: Cisco Unity Connection plays the greeting from the beginning.
  • Route from Next Call Routing Rule: Cisco Unity Connection continues processing the call, according to the applicable call-routing table (direct or forwarded), starting at the next rule after the rule that Cisco Unity Connection previously applied to the call.
  • Skip Greeting: Cisco Unity Connection skips the greeting and performs the postgreeting action.
  • Take Message: Cisco Unity Connection records a message from the caller. The greeting should indicate that a message will be recorded.
  • Transfer to Alternate Contact Number: Cisco Unity Connection transfers the call to the phone number that is specified in the Extension or URI field. You also can specify whether Unity Connection transfers the call by releasing it to the phone system or by supervising the transfer.

Call Handler Templates

This topic describes call handler templates and how they are set up.

  • Modify or add a new template under Templates > Call Handler Templates.
  • One predefined call handler template exists by default. Use this template and modify it for majority of your call handlers.
  • Only system call handlers can use call handler templates.

Call handler templates are applied only when a new call handler is created. Changes in the template do not affect existing call handlers. Define the call handler template parameters as follows:

  • Phone System: Choose the phone system that the template uses.
  • Active Schedule: Choose a schedule from the list to specify the days and times that the standard and closed greetings play. The default is “All Hours.”
  • Use System Default Time Zone: Check this check box to have Cisco Unity Connection apply the system default time zone.
  • Time Zone: Choose the time zone for the call handler, or check the Use System Default Time Zone check box to have Cisco Unity Connection use the system default time zone that is defined on the System Settings > General Configuration page.
  • Language: Choose the language in which Cisco Unity Connection plays the call handler system prompts to the caller.
  • Partition: Choose the partition to which the object belongs.
  • Search Scope: Define the search scope by choosing a specific search space or use the inherited search space from the call.

Auto-Attendant Example

This topic shows an example that combines the three kinds of call handlers into one auto-attendant.

In the example, a system call handler answers the call. In this case, the system call handler plays a greeting and offers the caller some choices.

  • The caller can press 1 on the phone keypad to search the company directory for an employee, if the employee is listed.
  • The caller can press 2 to hear another greeting that is played by another system call handler. That greeting brings the caller to an interview handler that asks for the caller name, the job for which the caller wants to apply, and so on.
  • The caller can press 3 to reach local technical support with another greeting.
  • The caller can press 0 to reach the operator.

A hidden menu (an option that is not announced) that requires an authentication after the caller presses a number also can be offered when an auto-attendant is built. For more complex solutions, deploy Cisco Unified Contact Center Express, where you can, for example, connect databases and build modular scripts for incoming calls.