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What Are Hunt Groups and Queues?


Hunt groups and queues are methods of distributing phone calls between users and agents based on priority ranking,  predetermined strategy, and consideration of call volume and users' availability. 

Queues and hunt groups usually parallel certain departments in a company – a technical support department can have a hunt group to handle its callers and a sales department may have a call queue to allow callers to wait for available agents.

Queues and hunt groups can be created and managed from the Voice Features  menu of the Admin Center. See more details for queues here and for hunt groups here.

Call Distruibtion Startegies

A Call Distribution Strategy determines the order in which the system selects the next agent to ring in a hunt group or a call queue.

The Admin Center offers two regular strategies Circular and Linear. With a circular strategy, the system will look for the next agent based on the priority ranking of the agent who most recently answered a call. In other words, it cycles through all priority rankings in succession. Linear strategy, on the other hand, always starts finding agents with the top priority ranking.

A circular strategy looks to involve more agents while a linear strategy gives priority to more qualified agents. 

There are also two smart strategies where the system first sends the next call to the agent who has been waiting for the longest, then handles additional calls with either circular or linear strategy. The smart strategies ensure all agents are involved in answering calls even if they have lower priority levels.

Hunt Groups

After agents are assigned to hunt groups, the distribution strategy can route calls to them based on their assigned priority ranking or by the agent who has been waiting for the longest since he last answered a call. If a call is not answered the system will "hunt" out the next available agent with the same consideration. 

When considering agent priority you can select to always start at the top-level priority (Linear strategy, emphasizing more qualified agents) or just go for the next priority in the sequence (Circular strategy, emphasizing agents involvement.)

Hunt groups can also be configured to have all relevant extensions ring at once, allowing the first agent who picks up to receive the call. 

If despite all "hunting" a call is not answered it can be routed to a group mailbox, a receptionist, an IVR menu,  or any other Admin Center destination or features. You can even route the call to the same hunt group to make another attempt at reaching an available agent.


Queues work similarly to hunt groups in how they use distribution strategies and priority ranking but if all agents are busy they can also have callers wait in a queue for an agent to become available. Callers receive a more engaging experience with the system providing queue information and hold time estimates, directional prompts, on-hold music, and business and promotional information.

This helps minimize missed or abandoned calls and allows for the handling of a much larger call volume with a limited staff. 

Queues also have an exit-rules feature to route calls to any other queue or phone system destination when the queue becomes too busy with calls, when holding times are too long, or when no agents are logged into the queue.

For agents, queues allow prioritizing the departments they prefer to handle by logging themselves in and out of queues directly from the TeleConsole.

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