Whisper Announcement plays a brief, prerecorded message to an agent just before the agent connects with each caller. The announcement plays only to the agent; the caller hears ringing (based on existing ring tone patterns) while the announcement plays.
The content of the announcement can contain information about the caller that helps prepare the agent to handle the call. The information can include caller language preference, choices the caller made from a menu (Sales, Service), customer status (Platinum, Gold, Regular), and so on.
After Whisper Announcement is enabled, the played announcements are specified in the call routing scripts. The determination of which announcement to play is controlled in the script and is based on various inputs, such as the dialed number, a customer ID look up in your customer database, or selections you made from a VRU menu.
Whisper Announcement is supported for blended outbound agents when they receive inbound calls.
Whisper Announcement is subject to these limitations:
Announcements do not play for outbound calls made by an agent. The announcement plays for inbound calls only.
For Whisper Announcement to work with agent-to-agent calls, use the SendToVRU node before you send the call to the agent. You must send the transferred call to Unified CVP before you send the call to another agent. Then, Unified CVP can control the call and play the announcement, regardless of which node sends the call to Unified CVP.
CVP Refer Transfers do not support Whisper Announcement.
Whisper Announcement supports Silent Monitoring (CTI OS and Unified CM-based) with this exception: For Unified Communications Manager-based Silent Monitoring, supervisors cannot hear the announcements themselves. The supervisor desktop dims the Silent Monitor button while an announcement plays.
Only one announcement can play for each call. While an announcement plays, you cannot put the call on hold, transfer, or conference; release the call; or request supervisor assistance. These features become available again after the announcement completes.
The following list shows the high-level tasks that are required to deploy Whisper Announcement. Individual steps are covered in more detail in later sections.
You must create audio files for each different Whisper Announcement you want to use on your system; for example, "Sales, English" or "Soporte Técnico en Español." Create the files using the recording tool of your choice.
When recording your files, follow these rules:
The media files must be in wave (.wav) format. Your wave files must match Unified CVP encoding and format requirements (G.711, CCITT A-Law 8 kHz, 8 bit, mono).
To avoid cutting off files when they are played, make sure they do not exceed the Whisper Announcement play limit (15 seconds).
Test your audio files. Ensure that they are not cut off and that they are consistent in volume and tone.
To reduce the likelihood of scripting errors, decide ahead of time on a file-naming convention that is easy for you and others to remember. For example, en_sales.wav, sp_support.wav.
Deploy Whisper Announcement Audio Files to Media Server
Deploy your whisper audio files to your Unified CVP media server using whatever file-transfer method you prefer. The most important consideration is where on the server to place the files. HTTP requests for media server audio files are constructed as
If you store your files in a different locale and application directory, your routing scripts must include variable nodes that define those alternate locations. Make note of the directories in which you place your files and communicate the locations to your script authors.
Make sure that the directories in which you deploy your files have the appropriate permissions to allow Read access.
CVP with the Streaming Audio (Helix) and Whisper Announcement
You must set the user.microapp.media_server variable, to point to the whisper announcement .wav file, for the CVP Whisper Announcement feature to work while Streaming Audio feature (using Helix) is also on. This is achieved by setting the Call.WhisperAnnouncement variable to the complete URL of the whisper announcement wav file. The Call.WhisperAnnouncement variable should be put in using the http://<mediaserverio>:80/en-us/app/XXX.wav URL format.
Configure Whisper Service Dialed Numbers
For Whisper Announcement, Unified CVP uses two different dialed numbers when transferring a call to an agent:
The first number calls the ringtone service that the caller hears while the whisper plays to the agent. The CVP default for this number is 91919191.
The second number calls the whisper itself. The Unified CVP default for this number is 9191919100.
Whisper Announcement dialed number is always an extension of the Ringtone dialed number with an extra two zeros at the end.
For Whisper Announcement to work, your dial plan must include both of these numbers. The easiest way to ensure coverage is through the use of wild cards such as 9191*.
You configure the dialed numbers for Whisper Announcement in the Unified CVP Operations Console at System > Dialed Number Pattern > Add new. For the Dialed Number Pattern Types, select Enable Local Static Route. Once Enable Local Static Route is checked, select either Route to Device or Route to SIP Server Group for VXML gateways. Then save and deploy the dialed number.
It may be necessary to override the dialed number plan for the default Whisper DN, if the default DN conflicts with the overall dial number plan.
Change the Whisper Announcement Default Dialed Number
To override the DN pattern from the SIP subsystem level in CVP OAMP:
In addition to configuring the dial plan in Unified CVP, examine your IOS dial-peer. Make sure that the dialed number setting in your dial-peer configuration accommodates both of the whisper service dialed numbers.
Add Whisper Announcement to Routing Scripts
To enable Whisper Announcements, use the Script Editor to modify your routing scripts as follows:
Specify the WhisperAnnouncement call variable
Specify the Unified CVP media server and location of whisper audio files
To include Whisper Announcement in a script, insert a Set Variable node that references the WhisperAnnouncement call variable. The WhisperAnnouncement variable causes a whisper to play and specifies the audio file it should use. Typically, you use a single whisper prompt for a single call type. As a result, you use only one WhisperAnnouncement set node for each script. However, as needed, you can set the variable at multiple places in your scripts to allow different announcements to play for different endpoints. For example, for skills-based routing, you can specify the variable at each decision point used to select a particular skill group or Precision Queue.
Only one Whisper Announcement can play for each call. If a script references and sets the WhisperAnnouncement variable more than once in a single path through a script, the last value to be set is the one that plays.
Use these settings in the Set Variable node for Whisper Announcement:
Object Type: Call.
Variable: Must use the WhisperAnnouncement variable.
Value: Specify the filename of the whisper file. For example: "my_whisper.wav" or "my_whisper".
Specify the filename only, not its path.
You must enclose the filename in quotation marks.
The filename is not case sensitive.
The filename cannot include spaces or characters that require URL encoding.
The .wav extension is optional. If you omit it, Unified CVP adds it automatically in the HTTP request.
Specify Unified CVP Media Server Information
Ensure that your call routing scripts can access the Whisper Announcement audio files that you stored on a CVP media server. If you configure a default media server, and you store the audio files on the default server, you may not have to add any additional nodes to the scripts. For more information, see CVP Media Server. To test the access, see Test Whisper Announcement File Path.
Test Whisper Announcement File Path
To test the path to the whisper file that you defined in you script variables, enter the complete URL into a browser. The .wav file should play. For example:
If your script includes: default media server + default locale + default application directory + whisper.wav, then the path is "http://<default_media_server>/en-us/app/whisper.wav"
If your script includes: http://my_server.my_domain.com + default locale + "app/wav_files" + whisper.wav, then the path is "http://my_server.my_domain.com/en-us/app/wav_files/whisper.wav"
Other Script Settings That Are Required for Whisper Announcement
These additional settings are required for Whisper Announcement to work:
Enable Target Requery on all script nodes that follow the WhisperAnnouncement variable and target an agent. These include Queue (to Skill Group or Precision Queue), Queue Agent, Route Select, and Select. If Target Requery is not enabled, the Whisper Announcement does not play.
When you run an agent transfer or a conference script, use a SendToVRU or a Run Script Request node before you target an agent.
Fail-Safe Timeout for Whisper Announcement in Unified CCE
Unified CVP sends one message to Unified CCE each time a Whisper Announcement begins and a second message when the announcement ends. The time stamps from these messages are used to calculate Whisper Announcement data in Unified CCE reports.
If Unified CVP fails to send a Whisper Announcement end message to Unified CCE, the following occurs:
The agent cannot control the call (for example, put it on hold or transfer it) because these controls are disabled while a Whisper Announcement is playing.
To prevent this, Unified CCE has a Whisper Announcement timeout value. This value is 20 seconds and represents the maximum Whisper Announcement play time that Unified CCE uses to calculate its report data.
The value was chosen based on the default Whisper Announcement play time (specified in Unified CVP) of 15 seconds. The extra 5 seconds in the Unified CCE fail-safe timeout is a buffer against latency. While the value in Unified CVP is configurable, changing the value from the default of 15 seconds is not supported in Packaged CCE.
Whisper Announcement Sample Scripts
Unified CCE includes sample routing scripts that demonstrate Whisper Announcement. You can use them as learning tools and as models for your own Whisper Announcement scripts. They are the following:
WA.ICMS—This script plays a Whisper Announcement.
WA_AG.ICMS—This script plays both a Whisper Announcement and an Agent Greeting to play on the same call flow.
The script files are located in the c:\icm\bin directory. In Unified CCE Script Editor, they are installed to the application root directory.
To use these scripts you must have a default media server configured in Unified CVP, and have the Whisper file stored in the default location on the media server. For that reason, they do not include variables that specify the media server, locale, or application directories.
This script sets up a Whisper Announcement by setting the Whisper Announcement variable to the desired wave file and then queuing the call to a skill group or Precision Queue. After an agent is selected from the skill group or Precision Queue and the call routed to the agent, the whisper plays to the agent.
This script causes both a Whisper Announcement and an Agent Greeting to play.
Import Sample Whisper Announcement Scripts
To view or use the sample Whisper Announcement scripts, you must first import them into Unified CCE Script Editor. Follow this procedure to import the scripts:
Open Script Editor.
Select File > Import Script and select the first of the two scripts to import.
In addition to importing the script, Script Editor tries to map imported objects. Some objects that are referenced in the sample scripts, such as the external Network VRU scripts or the skill groups or Precision Queues, do not map successfully. You must create these maps manually or change these references to point to existing Network VRU scripts, skill groups, and Precision Queues in your system.
Repeat steps 2 and 3 for the remaining script.
Administration and Usage
Whisper Announcement audio file
You store and serve your Whisper Announcement audio files from the Cisco Unified Contact Center Enterprise (Unified CCE) media server. This feature supports only the wave (.wav) file type. The maximum play time for a Whisper Announcement is subject to a timeout. Playback terminates at the timeout regardless of the actual length of the audio file. The timeout is 15 seconds. In practice, you may want your messages to be much shorter than that, 5 seconds or less, to shorten your call-handling time.
Only one Whisper Announcement can play for each call. While a Whisper Announcement is playing, you cannot put the call on hold, transfer, conference, or release the call, or request supervisor assistance. These features become available again after the whisper is complete.
Whisper Announcement with transfers and conference calls
When an agent transfers or initiates a conference call to another agent, the second agent hears an announcement if the second agent's number supports Whisper Announcement. In the case of consultative transfers or conferences, while the whisper plays, the caller hears whatever normally plays during hold. The first agent hears ringing. In the case of blind transfers, the caller hears ringing while the whisper announcement plays.
Whisper Announcement Reporting and Serviceability
Whisper time is not specifically broken out in Unified CCE reports. In agent, skill group, and Precision Queue reports, the period during which the announcement plays is reported as Reserved agent state time. In the Termination Call Detail records, it is treated as Ring Time.
Serviceability for Whisper Announcement includes system events to indicate reasons for Whisper Announcement failures and counters to track the number of failed whisper events.
No configuration is needed to integrate Whisper Announcement with agent desktop software. While a whisper is playing, software on the agent desktop shows the call in the Ring state. Desk phones show the call in the Talking state.
Using Agent Greeting with Whisper Announcement
You can use Agent Greeting along with the Whisper Announcement feature. Consider the following when you use them together:
On the call, the Whisper Announcement always plays first before the greeting.
To shorten your call-handling time, you may want to use shorter whispers and greetings than you might if you were using either feature by itself. A long whisper followed by a long greeting means a long wait before an agent handles a call.
Usually, agents that use Whisper Announcement handle different types of calls: for example, "English, Gold Member, Activate Card, Spanish, Gold Member, Report Lost Card, English, Platinum Member, Account Inquiry." Ensure the greetings your agents record are generic enough to cover the range of customer calls they handle.