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Hunt Groups (Admin Center Voice Feature)


Hunt Groups is a voice feature for automatically distributing incoming calls between users, agents, or other destinations based on a selected distribution strategy and priority levels. Hunt groups can improve customer service because they make it much more likely that a caller will be connected with an available agent.

Hunt groups usually (but not necessarily) parallel certain departments in a company. For example, the technical support and sales department will each have its own hunt group.

You can also use a hunt group to forward a call to several lines or external phone numbers.

For call distribution you also have the option to use Call Queues. Read more about the similarities and differences between the two features here.   

Priority Levels

Within a hunt group, agents are arranged by priority levels. All agents within a level are rung at once. The first agent to answer gets the call and the system will stop ringing the other agents. 

If none of the agents in the level answer by a defined number or rings, the system will move to the next level.

You can also set the number of rings and music or ringing choice for each level separately in the Level Settings.

Existing Page Groups

The Hunt Groups screen is accessed at Admin Center Menu>Voice Features>Hunt Groups, listing the existing groups by name and description. You can check one or several groups and select   to delete them.

Select    on the top-right to download a CSV file of existing hunt groups showing a system ID for the hunt group, name, description, owner ID (0 if the group has no owner), destination type (DTYPE), and destination number (DNUMBER).

Select  to search for a specific hunt group(s) by name, description, or any value from the CSV file.

Adding a New Hunt Group

To create a new hunt group select ADD HUNT GROUP from the top of Hunt Groups List screen or from the Voice Features Shortcut menu.

Provide a name for the group and select CREATE. You will be directed to the Hunt Group Settings screen (see next) to configure the group and add agents to it.

Hunt Group Settings and Agents

Select any page group or create a new one to show its settings and agents screen. There are two expandable settings categories.

On the top-right you can use the arrows to select the next or previous group without having to go back to the Hunt Groups list.

General Settings

Name/Description: Self-explanatory. The description is optional. 

If you are using both queues and hunt groups, name each in a way that you can differentiate from one another as they are both displayed on the same column in the Active Calls Switchboard (i.e. "Sales Hunt Group" vs "Sales Queue")

Owner: Select a user who owns the hunt group and can edit its settings even if he doesn't have administrator credentials. 

Call Distribution Strategy: This determines the order in which the system selects the next agent to ring.

There are 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.

With the two smart strategies 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 two regular strategies emphasize agents' level ranking while the two smart strategies ensure all agents are involved in answering calls even if they have lower priority levels.

  • Circuar: Start at next (level) from previous callThe system will start hunting at the next priority level based on the previous (recent) level for an answered call. Then it will hunt for an available agent going through the next priority levels in succession. When reaching the lowest priority, the hunting will start again with level 1.

  • Linear, Always start at 1: The system will always try to send a call to the agents with level 1 or the highest available priority level. If those agents are busy or unavailable, the system will move to the next level.
  • Smart circular: Last that answered, then circular: The system will first send the next call to the agent who has been waiting for the longest since he last answered a call, then calls will be handled in circular strategy starting with the recent priority level. 

  • Smart Linear, last that answered, then linear: The system will first send the next call to the agent who has been waiting for the longest since he last answered a call, then calls will be handled in Linear strategy starting with level 1 or the highest priority level. 

Ring each level for: Select a default duration from 5-60 seconds that the system will ring agents on each priority level as it applies the call distribution strategy. You can set up separate durations for each level using the Level Settings

to give some levels and agents, who may be generally busier, more time to pick up the call.

Call screening: Call screening gives agents an idea about the identity of a caller, as the call rings, so they can decide if to accept the call or not. 

The selection here applies to the entire group, but you can also enable or disable it for each agent separately.

While agents are shown the screening information, the hunting process will continue based on the distribution strategy and ring duration for each level. If any agent picks up the call, the system will immediately stop ringing all other agents.

Enable or disable the feature by selecting:

  • No: Disable call screening. Note that this may override any routing related to the hunt group. If you don't want to override use...

  • Unchanged (defaults to): Disables call screening without affecting any routing.

  • Yes, and play caller ID: The system will play the caller ID of the caller to the agent before he decides to take the call.

  • Yes, and ask caller to record (his) name: The system will prompt the caller to record his name and play it to the agent before he decides to take the call.

Allow destinations to forward calls: Toggle this on to let agents who receive a call from the hunt group be able to forward it.

While ringing: Select what the caller will hear while waiting for an agent to pick up the call – Play ringing  for a ringing tone or Play music for the music on hold. You can change the default music as explained below.

If no agent answered route to destination type: Select the type of destination to route the call to if no agent on the hunt group has answered the call. The default option is to hang up the call, but you can select any of the Admin Center destinations and features. 

You may want to direct the caller to a mailbox, an IVR menu, a call back number, etc. You can even route the call to the same hunt group to make another attempt at reaching an available agent.

If no agent answered route to destination type (this will only show for relevant destination types): Select the actual destination to route the call to if no agent on the hunt group has answered the call.

Show in active calls switchboard: Toggle this on to have the group displayed in the Active Calls Switchboard (Accessed by Admin Center Menu>Live Dahsboard>Active Calls Switchboard). Make sure you name your hunt groups in a way that you can differentiate them from the queues shown on the same screen (i.e. "Sales Hunt Group" vs "Sales Queue").

Music on hold: If the Play music option is selected, this is the music (or message) callers will hear while waiting for an agent to pick up.

Change the current music with Select Music or select Use Default to go back to the system's default music. 

Each on-hold music selection can contain up to 10 audio files that will play in a sequence. When you select or change the music you can use the arrow buttons to switch back and forth between those files (indicated as 1/3 in the following example.)

On the Edit Music screen, you can select Add Music to go to the Voice Features>Audio Files>Music on Hold options. After naming the music you can upload, record, or use text-to-speech to create music on hold sequence. See more about on-hold music and audio files here.

Hunt Group Missed Calls Notifications

Here you can provide email addresses for agents, administrators, or other individuals who should be notified about calls that were not answered during each hunting cycle for the group. 

Select  to edit an existing notification or ADD to create a new one and Provide the Recipient name and Email.

Toggle on External only to  provide notifications only for external calls.

The Active toggle lets you enable or disable a notification without deleting it.

Hunt Group Agents

The agents who belong to the hunt group appear here with a division of priority levels. 

Select  to edit an existing agent or ADD Agent to add one to the group and edit the following options:

Select agent destination type: Select Phone to add an agent based on his internal phone line, an External phone number, or a SIP URI address.

URI stands for Uniform Resource Identifier and it lets you add external recipients to the group based on their SIP IP and user name. The format to use is similar to an email address – username@domain or username@ip address.

Destination: Based on the destination type, select either an internal phone line or enter an external phone number or a SIP URI address.

Level: Select a priority level for the agent from 1 (highest) to 10 (lowest). Depending on the call distribution strategy, the system will try to first reach agents with higher priority. 

Append to caller ID: This will append any additional numbers that the system can provide to the caller ID that the agent sees for the call. For example, an extension that the call may have been transferred from, or the company number when the system dials an agent on an external number.

Call screening: Call screening is explained above in the General Settings where it applies to the group as a whole, but here you can select to enable or disable the option for each agent separately. Selecting Unchanged will match the General Settings configuration.

Available for calls: This toggle lets you enable or disable the agent's participation in the group without having to remove him from the group. When toggled off an agent will be shown as "Unavailble", meaning he is only available for the hunt group but can otherwise still accept calls.

Level Settings

Here you can configure the Ring each level for duration and While ringing choices for each level. The default choices for these settings are selected in the General Settings.

All the levels will first appear with the Hunt group default selection. For the levels you want to configure select from 5-60 seconds for the duration the system will ring its agents and select either Play ringing or Play Music for what the caller will hear while waiting for agents to pick up. Altering between ringing and music provides callers with audio variety and can indicate to them their call is progressing toward being answered.

Assigning Hunt Groups as a Destination 

To use a hunt group you need to assign it as a destination of one of the relevant Admin Center's routings and features. The most obvious choice is an IVR menu where callers will be directed to the hunt group when trying to reach a certain department. Another application is to use a schedule to direct callers from a phone number to a hunt group during busier times.

Assigning a Hunt Group as an IVR Menu Key Option

To use a hunt group from an IVR menu you need to assign it as a phone key that callers can dial: 

  • Go to Admin Center Menu>Voice Features>IVR Menus.

  • Select the relevant IVR menu and expand the Key Press Options settings.

  • For the key you want callers to dial to reach the hunt group, select Hunt Group (found under Voice Features) as the Destination Type.

  • Select the relevant hunt group as the Destination.

Don't forget to also include instructions in the IVR Menu's greeting to direct callers to the group (like "Dial 2 for sales" in the example shown here.)

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