Busy on Busy and Voicemail settings in Teams


It is possible to configure a variety of settings for Teams users in the Microsoft Teams admin center, including ‘Busy on Busy’ (enabled / disabled) and Voicemail (enabled, disabled, or user controlled). It should be noted at the time of writing, Voicemail on Busy is on the Microsoft product road map.

We should note that 'busy on busy' is not driven by the 'busy' presence. In this instance, Microsoft consider 'busy' to be 'when in a call', so the practical application of the 'busy on busy' setting is 'busy on in a call'. The name 'busy on busy' implies that when the user's status is set to 'busy', then a busy tone is presented. This is not the case if the status has been set manually or an external factor such as an Outlook appointment, only when the use is 'busy' on a call (during which time the presence shows as 'in a call').

Why use busy on busy?

Microsoft Teams will present you with a new call, even if you're already in a call. This means that if a user is in a ring group, and the ring group is presented with a call, there is potential for frequent interruption. When on a call and a new incoming call occurs, the audio from the existing call is interrupted by the ringing of the new call. This can be rejected from the button on the notification, but this is often inconvenient. To avoid this interruption in the first place, 'Busy on Busy' can be utilised. This means that when a call is presented, and the user is on a call, the busy tone is presented to the caller. This is useful for a ring group scenario, as the user is not interrupted, but the ring group will continue to call other available users. The disadvantage to this is that when a direct call occurs, and the user is on a call, the caller will hear a traditional 'engaged' tone. As mentioned in the overview, 'Voicemail on Busy' isn't yet available in the product and is waiting for Microsoft to produce this feature. It should be noted however, that when this is available, if used in this scenario, the ring group would be answered by the user's voicemail. In the future, we will be able to stop this occurring. VIA are waiting on Microsoft to release the Calls API in order to make this possible.

Why configure voicemail?

Voicemail is enabled by default for all users, but in a scenario where voicemail is enabled for a ring group user and the user is unavailable, the ring group call will be answered by an individual’s voicemail before another human user has the opportunity to answer the call. In this scenario, we’d recommend disabling voicemail for ring group users. In a scenario where these users still require voicemail, please request assistance from VIA Support to discuss further workarounds. 

How to configure Busy on Busy and Voicemail

These settings are found in your Microsoft 365 Admin Portal. You may apply changes to your global policy, affecting all users to whom the global policy (default) is assigned, or create a new policy to impact only defined users.

To configure Busy on Busy, or voicemail, you will need to first sign in to the 365 Portal with appropriate administrative rights.

Navigate to the Teams admin center from the pane on the left. 

  • Expand Voice 
  • Select Calling Policies

Here, you will see the Global policy. You may edit this to enable 'busy on busy' or 'voicemail', or ‘add’ a new policy. Only one calling policy may be assigned per user (it is not possible to aggregate policies), so ensure that all settings are correct in this policy for the users that it will be applied to, give it a name, and click Save.

To assign users to this policy, click the ‘tick’ to the left of the name, and then click Manage users. You can then search for and add users.

To see which policies apply to a particular user in the future, you may access ‘Users’ from the left pane, click a user to enter their profile page, and then select the ‘Policies’ tab.

Bear in mind that as only one calling policy can be assigned to a user, you may need several policies to cover multiple scenarios; i.e:

  • A policy which is: busy on busy = disabled, voicemail = disabled
  • A policy which is: busy on busy = disabled, voicemail = enabled
  • A policy which is busy on busy = enabled, voicemail = enabled
  • etc; there are other, unrelated options to consider also
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