Every business relies on its telephone system. Whether you’re using it to connect to colleagues, customers or prospects, you need your system to be reliable and easy to use.
One feature that many modern telephone systems take advantage of are hunt groups. Hunt groups make it easier than ever for your callers to navigate your telephone system, and get to the department they need to quickly and simply.
What are hunt groups?
A hunt group is a feature on a telephone system that groups users together. These grouped users can then be dialled simultaneously, sequentially or in any order you wish. Hunt groups are most commonly used to get a caller to a department within a business. For example, a sales hunt group would ring all of the sales staff.
Hunt groups can be configured any way you’d like. They’re very versatile and highly flexible. You can have any number of people in each hunt group, and it will seamlessly deal with the calls for you.
Hunt groups are one of the most commonly used features on any telephone system. They help get callers to the right person quickly, which leads to a better call experience, and allows employees to deal with the call, rather than having to transfer them to a different department.
How does a hunt group wok?
With a VoIP telephone system, each member of staff has their own ‘extension’ or DDi. A DDi is a telephone number associated with each user. These DDi telephone numbers can be put in a hunt group, which tells the telephone system that they are part of the department. For example, you may have 10 sales staff, whose DDis can all be put inside the sales hunt group.
With a modern VoIP telephone system, hunt group calling patterns can be customised to fit any business. By changing the ring pattern, you can choose how the hunt group behaves. There are five different calling patterns that hunt groups can use:
The regular call pattern rings through a list of hunt group members. If person 1 doesn’t answer, or is busy, then it moves onto person 2, and so on. The next caller starts at person 1 and works their way down the list.
The circular call pattern is similar to the regular call pattern. It rings through a list of members one by one until the call is answered. However, if person 3 picks up the call, then the next caller starts the list at person 4, and then then continues down the list. This prevents person 1 from taking more calls than the other hunt group members.
Uniform call battery distributes calls to the user that has been idle the longest. That means that the calls are distributed evenly among hunt group members. This is commonly used in call centres, where they experience high call volume.
This call pattern does what it says on the tin. It rings all the phones in the hunt group simultaneously. Each member of the hunt group gets called at the same time, and any member can pick the call up. If a caller is on the phone, they do not get called.
While the least common, weighted hunt groups do have their uses. Weighted ring patterns call the members based on a pre-set percentage. For example, if you had 4 users, you could assign user 1 40% and users 2,3 and 4 20%. This means that 40% of the calls would be directed to user 1, and the remainder of the calls would be split between the other users.
When a user is added to a hunt group, they will receive all the relevant call traffic. If they’re on the phone when the group is called, they will not receive the incoming call.
Hunt groups can also be configured to ‘overflow’. This means that if everyone in the group is busy, then the call can be pushed to another group. You can also configure it to re-call through the group or return to the main menu.
Another application of hunt groups is voicemail. If all the members of a hunt group are busy, then the caller can be told to leave a message for the group. This ensures no caller gets sent to the ‘busy’ tone—which is especially helpful for sales teams.
How can my business use hunt groups?
Many businesses make use of hunt groups. They’re common place in most modern telephone systems, whether on premise or cloud-based.
The most common place you’ll find a hunt group is attached to an auto attendant. Auto attendants are over-the-phone menus that are presented to callers when they ring your business. The auto attendant gives your caller options to choose from. When they choose the option, their call is pushed onto a hunt group, which rings its users.
For example, if your business has a sales department, and an accounts department, then you could say to callers “Press 1 for sales or press 2 for accounts”. If the user pressed option 1, then they would be forwarded onto your sales hunt group. From here, all the sales phones would ring, so that they could take the call.
With a Bytes Digital VoIP telephone system, your business can benefit from an unlimited number of hunt groups. We’ll configure each group to your specification to ensure that the caller gets where they need to, quickly and easily.
What telephone systems have hunt groups?
As I say, most modern telephone systems use hunt groups. They originally came from on-premise PBX systems, but as the industry moves more towards IP and cloud based VoIP telephony, hunt groups have moved with them.
Hunt groups are an essential part of any telephone system, because they’re so handy. When you upgrade to a Bytes Digital telephone system, we build up a plan of your business. This helps us to create a map of your telephone system which we can turn into hunt groups. Ensuring all your calls get to their destination as quickly as possible and with no drop-offs.
What benefits are there of using hunt groups?
There are many great benefits to using hunt groups, but here’s a few of the top benefits that your business can take advantage of.
A great benefit of having hunt groups in your telephone system is minimising call wait times. We all know how frustrating it is trying to get hold of a company with long wait times. Hunt groups help lower those wait times by distributing incoming calls to the desired party quickly; improving callers experience.
Having calls directed automatically for you is obviously a very quick way to control your calls, but it also eliminates the need for a receptionist. By distributing the calls automatically, it removes the need for a human to manually put calls through to each department, saving your business time and money.
The final benefit is reduced call drop-offs. The last thing any business wants is unanswered calls. With hunt groups and overflows, you can ensure that every call is answered. Your business won’t lose out on potential leads and big sales because of poor telephony.
Hunt groups are such a vital asset to any telephone system, that there’s practically no argument against them. They provide your business with automatic, simple and easy call distribution to help callers get to the right destination quickly and efficiently.