Today on the Lync Insider, I’m reviewing a third-party add-on for Lync 2013. This is a client-focused add-on called the “Lync Custom Status” tool, or LCS for short. It was made by Mike Hudson at MikeSel.info.
The tool allows a Lync 2013 user to create custom Presence status messages, with accompanying notes & call rules. A full features list is here, along with trial and purchase options: Lync Custom Status – MikeSel.info
I downloaded a trial version – Mike has a 15-day free trial available with no software limitations – and tried it out!
Caveat: You must run LCS Setup as Administrator! It requires elevated privileges. This tripped me up at first, for a moment. Once you do though, it installs nice and smoothly.
Function #1 – Custom Presence Status Messages
Now, the main event. In LCS, you can set up to 4 custom statuses, plus a custom status for when the computer goes idle and Lync switches you to Away.
As you see here, you have 3 IM handling options: what you Display Status As, what (if any) Personal Note to show, and where your Location is.
Then you select one of 3 Availability options: Online, Busy or Do Not Disturb. You have the option to send an automated response too.
Here’s what I entered for a custom Presence status. (Why “Wrestling a Wolverine”? Well, if you’re in IT, think of working on a stubborn server. It’s like that.)
Save the Custom Status and you have it as a permanent option under your Lync’s Presence options.
Function #2 – Call Handling Options
Call handling is optional for each custom status. This, I think, is where Lync Custom Status has its true value. A custom Instant Messaging/Presence status is useful for identifying when you can (and cannot) respond to queries. But this can be bypassed by a phone call – unless you set yourself to Do Not Disturb, of course.
What LCS does with calls is allows the user to enforce a specific response to calls per custom status. You can reject incoming calls or forward them to another Lync contact. Again, for each 4 status options plus Away.
Let me illustrate. Say you want to automatically direct calls to Reception while you’re assisting a customer. This is possible to set up with call forwarding in Lync 2013, of course. But using LCS, you can forward the calls AND identify why you’re doing so via Presence. You’d do something like this:
Make Sure to Save the Status!
Once you have a custom status set up, you must save it. Click the disk icon in the toolbar. You’ll see a prompt to restart the Lync client:
Be sure you do this! While it does minimize to the taskbar, Lync Custom Status can be closed like any other application. If you close without saving, your custom Presence status will not appear in Lync 2013.
If you do save though, this is what you’ll see:
I now have the choice of “Assisting a Customer” or “Wrestling a Wolverine.” Hmmm, which one should I choose…
Quick, Simple Tool for Custom Presence and Call Handling
In all, this is a very good Lync add-on. I like tools that focus on improving one area of an application, and don’t stuff in extras just because they can. Lync Custom Status does exactly that – focuses on improving Lync’s Presence function, and no more.
A single-install license for LCS is only £19.99 (or $32.45). Really quite reasonable for an add-on, especially since it includes support & updates. Probably pick up a copy myself shortly.
Again, you can find it at MikeSel.info.
EDIT: Lync Custom Status does work with the Skype for Business 2015 client. When I updated mine, it carried my custom statuses in with no problems.