Thursday, August 23, 2018

Hunt Group vs Call Queue

Hunt group and call queue have the same purpose to distribute incoming calls. They are very similar. The key difference is queue. However, call queue has more complexity,  better customization, better management and better distribution, and is more expensive.

In telephony, Hunt group (a.k.a. ring group, call group, line hunting) is the method of distributing phone calls from a single telephone number to a group of phone lines. Specifically, it refers to the process or algorithm used to select which line will receive the call. Hunt groups are supported by most PBX phone systems.

A hunt group is an extension or phone number that rings directly to multiple phones defined in the Hunt Group. Calls can be delivered in several different manners. They can be sent sequentially, (i.e. if nobody answers it goes to the next line in the group), or simultaneously, (i.e. all the phones ring and the first to answer takes the call). Other options include, round robin, percentage weighting, least used line etc.

When a call comes into a ring group, it rings the phones in the group as per the setup. But if a phone is busy then that phone is temporary out of the group. When all phones in the group are busy then the ring group will no longer "hold" the calls and will follow the call handling rules set up in the hunt group for when the phones are busy/not answered. Usually the call is forwarded to voicemail or gets disconnected.

When a call comes into a call queue, it will keep the caller in the queue even if ALL phones in the queue are busy. The queue will only move on when the queue timeout is reached or there are no extensions logged in.

Call Queue is a concept used in inbound call centers. Call centers use an Automatic Call Distributor (ACD) to distribute incoming calls to specific resources (agents) in the center. ACD holds queued calls in First In, First Out order until agents become available. Administrator can monitor call queue status and make dynamic adjustment to the queue based on incoming call volume.

Usually there are 4 Types of Call Queues

1. Round-robin (longest idle) – routes callers to the available agent that has been idle longest.
2. Ring All –  routes callers to all available agents at the same time.
3. Linear Hunt – routes callers to the available agents in a predefined order. The order is defined when editing the queue's agents.
4. Linear Cascade – routes callers to groups of available agents in a predefined order. The order is defined when editing the queue's agents.

To sum up, if you want to keep your callers in the queue while you finish your other calls then use a queue. If you want them to go to voicemail then use a hunt group.

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