Omnichannel for Customer Service – Sound Notifications

A new feature has recently been added to Microsoft’s Omnichannel for Customer Service that can be used to trigger sound notifications when messages arrive.

This sounds like a really simple feature and on one level it is. But organisations may require many customization options.

Some examples;

  • In some companies the administrator may need to disable all sound notifications. Maybe all the agents sit very closely together and the noise would not be acceptable.
  • In other scenarios individual agents may wish to pick different sounds for their messages. As this might help them identify an alert meant for them rather than one they are simply overhearing from another agent sitting close by.
  • Also, agents working on multiple channels might benefit from different alert sounds for different channels. Maybe a message from WhatsApp should sound different to one from Twitter.
  • In addition to receiving sound alerts when new conversations arrive maybe we also need a “nudge” when new messages are received on open conversations.
  • And as if that wasn’t enough we might also need to control the volume and length of alerts. When a chat arrives to we want a single “beep” or should the sound be played repeatedly until the agent answers the chat request.

Ok, so you get the idea. This is a simple requirement but to implement it effectively we actually need quite a bit of flexibility. Thankfully Omnichannel for Customer Service can support all of the scenarios I described above and maybe more.

We can define and tailor sounds notifications in two ways. One would be completed by a system administrator. And then additionally agents can tailor their own notifications.

Admin Level Settings

Let’s begin by looking at the sound notification options available for the administrator.

You can see below that I have opened the Omnichannel Administration app. Under the Notifications option you can select the Sound Notifications.

The first option I should flag is the ability for the administrator to enable or disable or notifications. You may find sound notifications are disabled by default. So enabling them here will be your first step.

Simply enabling sound notifications may actually be all your need to do! As a set of defaults will be applied.

Tip: Usefully we have a “Reset to default settings” button. So if you do experiment with these settings and create a config you don’t like it is easy to revert back to this start point.

You can now set various options for each channel. Including;

  • Play sound – This is a simple yes/no field. Meaning you could enable and disable notifications on a channel by channel basis.
  • Repeat until answered – Do you want the sound to play repeatedly until the agent picks up the conversation? Personally I became frustrated with a constant “ringing”. The default here is “yes”, so for me changing this option to “no” was something I’d want to do. (But maybe that’s just me!)
  • Sound – this is a link to the audio file that will play for this notification. You can see in the screen shot below that I can select one of several pre-defined sounds. You can also use the “New Audio File” option to upload your own audio files.
  • Volume – Importantly we can set the volume of the alerts. Do you really want all your agents to have them at 100% and repeating until answered???

If you do upload new audio files you may need to know that they must be smaller than 1MB. MP3, WAV and OGG audio files are supported. (OGG files are compressed audio files that should sound better than a similar sized mp3 file, therefore OGG files are recommended.

Luckily you can download “ringtones” as OGG files from numerous free web sites. For example, when I was testing I used sites are available this just happened to come top of the Google Bing search I did.)

Opening an existing audio file will give you access to a play button to preview the sound.)

Incoming Messages

There is one additional setting you might want to consider. If you scroll down to the bottom of the options you will see the setting I have shown below. We can use the “incoming messages for open sessions” option to create a sound when a new message arrives. That might be really useful if the conversation isn’t in focus. Notice we don’t get a repeat option. (Thankfully!)

I would suggest that typically you might just want a subtle beep so you know a new chat has arrived. (But trust me you can upload a very annoying audio file if you so desire!)

Personal User Settings

Once the administrator has enabled sound notifications and defined a set of defaults. The agents may need to tailor these to their personal tastes.

Below you can see that I have loaded the Omnichannel for Customer Service app as an agent. And that on my agent dashboard, when the agent clicks the “+” icon they can access the “Personalization” option.

Below you can see that selecting the personalization option allows each agent to tailor the same options as the administrator.

As a test I uploaded a new audio file. Obviously this was only set as the sound notification for me. The defaults set by the administrator remained unchanged.

But you might need to be aware that the uploaded file was available to all agents! However I was an omnichannel supervisor not a regular agent.

When I completed my test I was logged in as an Omnichannel supervisor! On reviewing the security roles I can see that by default anyone with the “Omnichannel administrator” or “Omnichannel supervisor” roles can upload new audio files. But if you only have the “Omnichannel agent” role then “thankfully” you can read audio files but you cannot create new ones.


Again I am impressed with a new Omnichannel for Customer Service feature. Thanks Microsoft.

The sound notifications feature feels very comprehensive and includes quite a wide variety of configuration options.

I especially liked how easy it was to upload and preview my own audio files. Which I will now remove!! It allows you to upload some pretty horrible sound effects. Good job we have that “Reset to default settings” button.


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