Telstra Calling for Office 365 – a critical review

While I’m a great advocate of Microsoft and Telstra, I believe in the ability to objectivity review a product without bias. The aim of this post will be to review Telstra Calling for Office 365 (TCO365) as a product and discuss the experience Entag has had with the rollout and the current end user experience. This should give you important insight when discussing the potential of this product to your customers.

Products are constantly being improved and while TCO365 is still fairly new compared to other market offerings, I think it has great potential to become one of the largest voice products in Australia.

The pros for TCO365 are:

  • Very simple to administrator (Fairly simple)
  • Easy to add or change call flows or extend existing (fairly easy, doesn’t have graphical drag and drop GUI like some products out there)
  • Truly unified collaboration with Microsoft Teams
  • Great Reporting (good base level of reporting for users and administrators)
  • Transfer option consult and transfer is great (Warm transfer)
  • Truly Scalable PBX solution
  • Teams Admin Centre is very powerful with analytics (with familiar Office 365 look and feel)
  • Upload custom audio to each aspect of your call flow (Ability to… or use digital geographical ascent to read script)
  • Voice recognition in call flows works well for menu choice selection using number or title/subject.
  • With voice recognition you also have the ability caller to say a name for direct transfer, if the caller knows who they are want to speak to without going through menu or receptionist. This can be limited to group memebership.
  • Call Queue Attendants can remove themselves from Call Queues as needed via special URL (in app option not yet available)
  • Call delegation rights is logically designed and works well
  • Easy for an end user to personalise their voice mail via App settings menu.
  • Easy for an end user to change their call flow such as failing over to mobile device after 10 seconds for example
  • (Transcription of voicemails is very handy and fairly accurate with option to mask inappropriate language)

The cons for TCO365 are:

  • Connecting Pause lacks any tone, which gives you 4 -6 seconds of silence before your call connects. This is a confusing experience and I often find myself repeating the old Hello this is Bryton Wishart speaking line. (observing mobile app screen will display a ‘Connecting’ message and when finally connected this changes to a call duration counter ’00:00′. It take a call receiver some time to adjust to this but if made aware before hand it is helpful. (person calling hears hold music so their experience is OK, just a subtly longer call than usual
  • Call Plans are not flexible, same One plan tier for entire customer.
  • Mobile Application seems to be unreliable. It has worked for us, then a week later just did one way audio when picking up calls from a Call Queue.
  • Provisioning process is still manual, meaning adding new number range can take time
  • Voice Mail currently requires Exchange Plan 2 (included with E3 upwards for most customers), otherwise customer will need to add Exchange Online Plan 2 license/cost to solution to users as required
  • No single company voice mail box without investing in further user based licenses. i.e. general voicemail box for auto attendant to timeout to or say for out of work hours. So you have to setup a fake user to create a voicemail box which requires licensing you may not need i.e. a premium Call plan even though your voicemail makes no calls.
  • Currently non user voicemail boxes require a calling plan to enable customisation of voicemail box greeting.
  • Admin’s currently can’t administratively change users voicemail box greeting via PowerShell command (Currently development/Preview: )
  • Call queue attendants cant currently remove themselves from call queues via mobile or windows App, they must go to an special URL:
  • Allowing voice recognition of names on Auto-Attendants seems to attract cold call marketing and phishing calls.
  • Not being able to set voicemail greetings from hard phones

In review, the product is a very plausible product and can suit most business requirements, as always Microsoft is constantly improving the product. This review hopefully provides some answers around the product and how it works with Telstra and Microsoft.

A Solution architect who focuses on designing solutions leveraging telecommunication networks and Microsoft technologies. A strong focus on automating solutions to help businesses focus on their business instead of technology. Enjoys working in the start-up world where business environments are dynamic and skills in developing new business units such as managed services from design, implementation and lifecycle.
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