New Features, More Power in Latest Attendant Pro
Last year I did a two-part review of Attendant Pro, made by Landis Computer. Those posts remain some of my most-trafficked.
Software Review: Attendant Pro Part 1 Software Review: Attendant Pro Part 2 – Quick Access Shortcuts
Landis got back in touch the other day, asking if I could review the latest version. “Of course!” I said. (Might have said that out loud too…)
Why not? It’s a great add-on for Skype for Business users. Especially those who must manage a lot of calls, like receptionists or call centers. If there’s a new version, that means more features to work with.
I’ve submitted my feedback to the Landis team. The following review is edited from that feedback (all IP & related data removed, as I always do). Yes, it’s time for the big review I promised!
What Attendant Pro Does
For the 5 of you who haven’t read my original review yet (click the links above to see them!), Attendant Pro gives the Skype for Business user a console wherein you can take calls, set up scripts for fast actions (like transfers to specific people), and even control Skype for Business through special hotkeys called Quick Access Shortcuts.
As I said then, it’s “Do call management simple, do it right.”
The latest update dropped on May 4, 2017: Attendant Pro Q2-2017 Update
That makes 4 updates since my last review. In that time, Landis has added quite a few features. Features to keep up with Microsoft’s own Skype for Business-related releases…and in one case, surpass them.
New Attendant Pro Features: MP3 Recordings, UI Selector, Analytics
Last time Landis posted videos to describe the features. This time, we have posts on the Attendant Pro Blog describing the new features. Attendant Pro June 2016 Update Attendant Pro Sept 2016 (Q3-2016) Update Attendant Pro Jan 2017 (Q4-2016) Update Attendant Pro Q2-2017 Update (May 2017)
(The video playlist for Attendant Pro is right here, in case you want another look. Still helpful! Attendant Pro for Skype for Business (Office 365, Lync) Training – LandisComputer YouTube
There’s a huge assortment of features…Transfer Advisor, Dynamics 365 (CRM) integration, color coding…but I’d like to talk about three in particular. The Analytics Dashboard, MP3 Call Recording, and the UI Selector.
What it Does: Records & displays KPI data on call activity. Analytics are collected within the app and displayed in Excel; no extra server or Office 365 license required.
User Benefit: Businesses can collect the call data, and use to improve services or make predictions. Which makes this feature particularly valuable for call centers. (Remember the line you always hear when calling Customer Service? “This call may be recorded for quality assurance purposes…”)
These reports/graphs are enabled out of the box:
- Today key performance indicators
- Date Range key performance indicator
- ACD Activity Chart
- Transfer Type Chart
- Incoming versus Outgoing Calls
- Call Volume by Hour
- Call Volume by Day
How to Activate:
- In the main Attendant Pro screen, look down at the bottom right corner.
- You’ll see three icons—Total Calls Today, Average Time to Answer, & Average Time to Handle Call. Click whichever you want.
- Excel will open & display an Analytics Dashboard file.
(Analytics are enabled by default. But if yours aren’t working for some reason, you can reactivate them by checking the “Enable Call Detail Recording” box under Options > Reporting.)
MP3 Call Recording
What it Does: Compresses call recordings into MP3 format.
User Benefit: Attendant Pro previously recorded calls in WAV format only. Which is good for clarity, but not so good for file size. MP3 is more efficient, especially with large call volumes.
How to Activate:
- Open Attendant Pro Options.
- Select “Recording.”
- Choose an active Recording Mode with the top dropdown menu—On Demand, Always Record (Can Stop), Always Record (Can’t Stop).
- Click the “Select Upload Folder” button. Choose the folder where you want call recordings to go.
- Check the box next to “Compress to MP3.” Click OK.
What it Does: Lets you change Attendant Pro’s User Interface with a click.
User Benefit: You can match your UI to the system used—Lync, Skype for Business, or Teams. As Paul from Landis put it, this makes Attendant Pro “feel less like a separate program, and more like an extension of [users’] current workflow.”
How to Activate:
- Open Attendant Pro Options. You should be on the “General” tab (if not, click it).
- Look in the group of dropdown menus for “User Interface.”
- Click the dropdown and you’ll see four choices: Lync 2013, Skype for Business 2015, Skype for Business 2016, and Microsoft Teams.
- Click to select the user interface you want. Click OK at the bottom. Marvel at how similar Attendant Pro now looks like your favorite chat platform!
**This is the feature surpassing Microsoft. Landis’ app now gives you control of the UI…does Microsoft do that?
Final Note: Call Quality
You might think using Attendant Pro would hurt call quality. Another app, another layer through which the data stream filters.
I’m happy to say, that is not the case. I did several test calls, in several different situations, all of which I’d used for calls previously. Here’s the list of my test calls.
- Internal Network, to Skype for Business Contact (P2P)
- Internal Network, to Skype for Business Contact (on Cell)
- Internal Network, to non-Skype for Business Contact
- External/Outside Network (Wi-Fi) to Skype for Business Contact (P2P)
- External/Outside Network (Wi-Fi) to non-Skype for Business Contact (on Cell)
All calls originated from this laptop: ThinkPad P40 Yoga, Windows 10, Skype for Business 2016
Difference? Nothing at all. Same call strength & clarity. Attendant Pro’s Analytics Dashboard showed the exact same times, proving zero lag between the client and the call. Attendant Pro is a “single pane of glass” both in terms of call management, and response time.
Already THE Call Manager, and it Keeps Getting Better
IMPORTANT: If you previously used Attendant Pro and want to upgrade to the latest version (1.0.6337.15048 at time of posting), make sure you uninstall the old version first. I wound up with two versions on my machine, without realizing it! This may not happen to you, but just in case.
Also, this may cost you your preconfigured Quick Access Shortcuts. Take a screenshot of each beforehand, so you can quickly recreate them.
At this point, I feel confident in saying Attendant Pro is THE call manager for Skype for Business. This is the gold standard. It even works with Teams, too, which can only help drive further adoption (and more features!).