Teams (How To) Call Queue: Shared and Departmental Phone Numbers

This article will provide instructions on how to use and configure a shared line call queue.

Table of contents:

What is a Call Queue?
Answer a Call
Turn Off Call Queue
Introductory Group Emails
Voicemail Group
Add/Remove People from the Voicemail Group
Add Voicemail Group to Favorites
Call Queue Group
Add/Remove People from the Call Queue Group
Requesting Changes to the Call Queue
Delegates, Call Groups and Call Forwarding 

What is a Call Queue?

A call queue is how most shared phone lines are managed using Microsoft Teams Calls at UWM. Examples of a shared phone line include a main number for a department, a front desk number, a line shared by many people or a number that is not assigned to a single person.

Call queues allow for a shared phone line to ring one or more people (call routing), have a voicemail box, set office hours, a call wait/ringing time, call handling options, and a set greeting. The sections below outline the steps for those who have access to a call queue can take to manage incoming calls and voicemail as well as configure many of the settings for the call queue.

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Answer a Call

Calls from a call queue will ring you in the same way as a call to your individual Teams number. Depending on your configuration, you will hear a ringtone and see a pop-up notification for the incoming call:

Phone call pop up window

The top portion of the pop-up window indicates the shared number that the call is coming from. You can choose to accept or decline the phone call.

Turn Off Call Queue

If you want to turn off your participation in a call queue, you can do so in your Teams settings.

NOTE: You must use the Teams desktop app to modify the settings in this section. To determine which version you are using and for steps to install the desktop app, please visit this KB article: https://kb.uwm.edu/68412

Within the Teams desktop app, locate and click your person icon in the upper right corner of the screen. From the menu, choose Settings:

Teams Settings

In the Settings window, click the Calls menu item on the left side and scroll to the bottom of the section and locate the Call queues:

Calls Settings

Locate the name of the call queue and use the toggle button to turn the call queue on or off.

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Introductory Group Emails

When you are added as a member to a call queue group and its associated voicemail group, you will receive introductory email messages welcoming you to the call queue group and the voicemail group. A sample of the email messages are below:

Welcome email


The email is one way to access the group associated with the call queue and its associated voicemail so you can view the membership and configure some settings for the call queue and voicemail. In each email message, click the View group in Outlook button to open the group within Outlook. The next section of this article will show you how to check voicemail messages for the call queue in the voicemail group.

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Voicemail Group

If someone leaves a voicemail message for the shared phone number, you can check the voicemail from the voicemail group within Outlook.

NOTE: Only owners of a voicemail group can delete voicemail messages and add or remove members of the voicemail group.

To view the voicemail group, you can click the View group in Outlook button from the welcome email as described above.

If you no longer have the introductory email, you can also locate the group in your email folder list within Outlook.

NOTE: This will work with both the desktop and online version of Outlook.

Scroll down in your email folder list until you see the Groups section. You may need to click the triangle to the left of the word Groups to expand the section and see your voicemail group.

Locate and click on the group for the voicemail, usually named in the format: resource-department_vm or resource-department_voicemail (where department is the name of your department or area). 

Click the name of your voicemail group to open the group within Outlook.

Once the group opens, you can view group membership and follow the group in your Inbox.

Voicemail messages will be stored in the Inbox for the group, and you can click an email to read the transcription of the voicemail or listen to the attached audio file.

View membership
Once you have opened the group in either the desktop or online Outlook app, you can view the voicemail group membership to see who has access to the voicemail messages.

To view the membership of the group using the Outlook desktop app:
With the group open in the Outlook desktop app, locate the member number drop-down box in the upper right corner of the screen. Click the down arrow to see a membership list:

Group Membership

To view the membership of the group using the online version of Outlook:
With the group open in the online version of the app, locate and click the membership number in the box above the Inbox for the group, located to the right of the folder list pane:


Follow in Inbox
By default, you will need to go into the group (using one of the methods above) to see voicemail messages left for the shared number. If you would like a copy of all voicemail messages left for the shared number to go to your Inbox, follow the steps below:

To follow the group in your Inbox using the Outlook desktop app:
With the group open in the desktop app, locate and click the Group Settings button on the ribbon. From the menu choose All Email and Events:

Group settings

To follow the group in your Inbox using the online version of Outlook:
With the group open in the online version of the app, locate the details for the group in the pane next to the folder listing on the left side of your screen. In that section, click the  (ellipsis) button, from the menu, choose Settings.


The Settings pane opens on the right side of the screen. Choose the radio button for Receive all email and events and then close the pane when finished.

Group settings

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Add/Remove People from the Voicemail Group

To control who has access to listen to and read transcriptions of voicemail messages as well as delete voicemail messages, owners can edit the membership of the voicemail group.

Add/Remove people using the Outlook desktop app:
Within Outlook, locate and open the group for the call queue. On the ribbon, click the Group Settings button and then choose Add Members from the menu.

Add or Remove members

In the window that appears, you can add or remove members:

  • To add a member, type in a name or email address in the box at the top
  • To remove a member, hover over the name of the person to be removed and click the red X to the right of their name

When you are finished making membership changes, click the OK button at the bottom of the pane.

Add or remove member

Add/Remove people using the online version of Outlook:
Within Outlook, locate and open the group for the call queue. Locate and click the membership number in the box above the Inbox for the group, located to the right of the folder list pane:


In the window that appears, you can add or remove members:

  • To add a member, click the Add members button and type the person’s name or email address and then click Add
  • To remove a member, click the X to the right of their name

When you are finished making membership changes, close the membership window.


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Add Voicemail Group to Favorites

If you do not want a copy of all the voicemail messages sent to the shared number in your Inbox, you can also add the group to your favorites so it is at the top of your folder listing in Outlook. This way you do not have to scroll down to locate the group in your folder listing.

NOTE: This will work with both the desktop and online version of Outlook.

In Outlook, scroll down in your email folder listing to locate the Groups section. You may need to click the triangle to the left to expand and see your groups. Locate the group you want to add to favorites and right-click on it. From the menu that appears, choose Add to Favorites.

Add to favorites

The group now appears in your Favorites section above your email folders.


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Call Queue Group

NOTE: Only owners of a call queue group can add or remove members of the call queue group.

To view the members of a call queue group, you can click the View group in Outlook button from the welcome email as described above.

If you no longer have the introductory email, you can also locate the group in your email folder list within Outlook.

NOTE: This will work with both the desktop and online version of Outlook.

Scroll down in your email folder list until you see the Groups section. You may need to click the triangle to the left of the word Groups to expand the section and see your call queue group:

Call Queue Group

Click the name of your call queue group to open the group within Outlook.

View membership
Once you have opened the group in either the desktop or online Outlook app, you can view the group membership.

To view the membership of the group using the Outlook desktop app:
With the group open in the Outlook desktop app, locate the member number drop-down box in the upper right corner of the screen. Click the down arrow to see a membership list:

Group Membership

To view the membership of the group using the online version of Outlook:
With the group open in the online version of the app, locate and click the membership number in the box above the Inbox for the group, located to the right of the folder list pane:

Group memebership

Add/Remove People from the Call Queue Group

Note: Some call queues have customized configurations that prevent users from modifying them. If you are unable to add/remove people from your Call Queue group, please see the Requesting Changes to the Call Queue Group section below. Additionally, if you would like to add a student employee to a call queue, please also see the Requesting Changes to the Call Queue Group section below

Add/Remove people using the Outlook desktop app:
Within Outlook, locate and open the group for the call queue. On the ribbon, click the Group Settings button and then choose Add Members from the menu.

Add or Remove members

In the window that appears, you can add or remove members:

  • To add a member, type in a name or email address in the box at the top
  • To remove a member, hover over the name of the person to be removed and click the red X to the right of their name

When you are finished making membership changes, click the OK button at the bottom of the pane.

Add or remove member

Add/Remove people using the online version of Outlook:
Within Outlook, locate and open the group for the call queue. Locate and click the membership number in the box above the Inbox for the group, located to the right of the folder list pane:

Add or remove members

In the window that appears, you can add or remove members:

  • To add a member, click the Add members button and type the person’s name or email address and then click Add
  • To remove a member, click the X to the right of their name

When you are finished making membership changes, close the membership window.

Add or remove members

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Requesting Changes to the Call Queue

When a call queue is first set up, all the settings are configured for the queue including the greeting and call handling. If those settings need to be changed, you can request a change using this form: https://uwm.edu/o365/teams-aa-cq-vm/

Some examples of settings that need to be changed using this form:

  • Call greeting
  • Office hours
  • Call wait time/ringing time
  • If calls ring while you are in a meeting or not

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Delegates, Call Groups and Call Forwarding

If you are looking to manage the phone number for an individual phone number, there are settings within Teams for doing so. The following articles describe the process for setting up delegates (those who answer a phone on another person's behalf), call groups (calls for one phone number can ring multiple people simultaneously or in a particular order) and call forwarding (calls for a phone number can forward to another phone number or call group):

Teams Calling for Admin Assistants: https://kb.uwm.edu/64800

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Keywords:Microsoft, teams, office, 365, o365, m365, phone, departmental, shared, desk, numbers, calls, department, call, queue, voicemail, forward, delegate, greeting, group, lines, handling   Doc ID:66820
Owner:Help Desk K.Group:UW-Milwaukee Help Desk
Created:2016-09-09 11:43 CDTUpdated:2020-11-30 17:18 CDT
Sites:UW-Milwaukee Help Desk
Feedback:  4   2