Teams Message delivery options explained

This week Microsoft updated Teams and introduced more different delivery options to the 1:1 and group chat. Right, you will not get these options when chatting in channels! The new delivery options mainly divide with the notification the recipient will get when receiving one of these messages. I am not quite sure how this will take off when everybody notices these new capabilities . . . Nevertheless, it is something you should mention when training Teams and where you, as an organization, need to decide how to handle this! But first of all, let’s have a look at what we get here.

I will start by covering the end-user experience of this new feature. After that, we head over to the admin settings and how we can take over control of urgent and important messages. At the very end, we will have a look at the differences in the licensing models.

The agony of choice

You have now three different options when kicking off a new message in a 1:1 or group chat. Standard, Important, and Urgent.

In case you send a standard message, everything will act like before, and the user will get notified based on the settings he made. If you or your colleagues need help on setting their notifications right, please check out my blog post on that!
In case you decide to choose the important option, the message gets flagged with an exclamation mark for the recipients and the sender of the word.

In case you decide to choose the urgent one flagging will be pretty much the same with a ringing bell instead of the exclamation mark. But the receiver will also get a notification as you can see in the screenshot.

If he does not switch to the “urgent chat” he will get this pop up for the next 20 minutes every 2 minutes. Now things are getting annoying when this feature is misused!

As if that wasn’t enough, the receiver will also get an e-mail with a notification for that specific message.

Of course, the recipient will also get notifications on his mobile devices! And in addition to that, he will get windows notifications too.

Manage these notification settings

Up until now, there is no option for the user to manage how, when, and where he wants to get notified regarding urgent or important messages. From my point of view, there won’t be any chance to edit this in the future. Just because of the reliability, knowing the receiver will get notified as much as possible would be gone.

From an Admin perspective

There is not much we can do on managing this setting. In your Teams admin center, you turn off the ability to send urgent notifications. But you can not edit how urgent notifications behave to make it a more comfortable fit for your needs.

My advice is to check back with your users how they are using this feature. After that you can decide if this is a feature for everyone. It can make sense to make a global policy with urgent messages turned off, and another one with urgent messages turned on for people who need this feature. In case you need more information please head over to the Microsoft docs and have a look.

All-time favorite – licensing!

With adding this feature, Microsoft decided to make an additional difference between their licenses. The differences occur in all three segments Enterprise, Education, and SMB, as you can see in the screenshot or read in the Microsoft docs.

Microsoft decided to let everyone get a taste of whats possible with urgent capabilities and is giving away unlimited urgent notifications for every license until December 31 this year. You do need to make any changes to get these!

Update: Microsoft just announced the promotion for unlimited urgent notifications for every license to be extended to the first of april 2020.

My opinion on urgent notifications

I personally can not imagine that many usecases for my day to day job where I could make use of this feature. Nevertheless, there will be thousands of people using it every day – I am sure about that one!

But with this possibility of sending “endless” notifications for one message, there comes great responsibility. It needs the right amount of discipline and some rules when to use it and when not. I think maybe this is one reason why Microsoft decided to limit the capabilities too. That way, Microsoft/the admins force the users to think if this one message is that urgent or maybe not.

The future will show how users will adopt this feature!

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