A typical busy contact centre have to answer calls all day long with many calls waiting in an inbound queue. In current competitive environment, it is imperative that customer calls are answered as promptly as possible. Letting your existing or prospective customer wait indefinitely on the other end of the line is a grave business mistake.

This current scenario gives rise to call hunt groups. Technically defining, line hunting or hunt group is a cloud PBX phone system feature that distributes phone call from a single number to a group of in house telephone lines. This technology is about a designed process or an algorithm that will determine which line will answer the telephone call.

To put it in easier terms, call hunt group is a system that diverts a phone call to the first free telephone line. Most of contact centres or technical support departments have initial customer interaction through interactive voice recognition (IVR) answering services. This service lets the customer select their choice of department and direct the call accordingly.

It is humanly impossible to have so many telephone numbers with an operator each. Organisations have a limited number of telephone Extensions and staff. It will also be hectic for a customer to dial in one number, find it busy , try another, find it busy too and try yet another. Typically, multiple telephone lines are set against one single extension number.

Customer calls this number and with call hunt grouping he will be directed to first available free line within a configured group of telephone lines. This method allows customer calls to be answered as quickly as possible. As soon as an agent is free, call is diverted to his/her desk. This makes contact Centres cost effective, efficient and productive.

Telephone lines within a hunt group will have a single unique extension number. When a customer puts a call to this number, lines assigned to the group will ring in whatever mode is selected by your contact centre. You can choose between broadcast, sequential and rotary ringing modes. You can also customise how you want to respond if all lines appear busy.

If you choose to have broadcast mode, all your free telephone lines configured to this extension number will ring simultaneously. Alternatively, you can prioritise all telephone lines within a hunt group. With a sequential mode, the system will ring the first line in the list. If the line is busy, it will call one by one all the lines until a non busy telephone line is reached.

The rotary ringing mode works a bit differently. It will assign list numbers to the lines in the group. If for example, last call was answered by line 3, it will first ring line four. If line four is busy, it will ring line five and so on until a free telephone line answers the call. Rotary ringing mode allows maximum break for each agent in between calls.

If all lines appear to be busy you can either choose to let the user receive a busy tone at the first place without connecting call. Alternatively the call can be initially connected, and the caller hears a ring back tone until an agent is available. This method is known as Queue method. The last option is that the call is initially connected but the caller hears a default busy tone.

There is also an option to set a queue out time. This time defines how long the call remains in queue before being terminated. However, to some customers queue out is more bothersome than initial busy tone since they have now waited additionally before being disconnected. While call hunt group is good for call management, managing call hunt group is also a rare art that few possess.