Hunt groups is a term used to refer to a group of PBX (Private Branch Exchange), extension numbers or IP-PBX resources that are shared by users. In a hosted PBX phone system, the term refers to a set of extension numbers grouped as a single unit. Hunt groups are primarily used to distribute calls effectively in and out of an organization. Additionally, PBX hunt groups are adopted to efficiently manage open phone lines, extensions, and channel incoming calls. Take for instance, when a call is made to the company’s business lines, the PBX runs through the hunt group to seek any available extension, open line or channel that can be used to receive the call.
Common Hunt Group Configurations
Depending on the configuration setup of the hunt group, all incoming calls will follow a predetermined pattern when ‘hunting’ for the available agent. Some of the common configurations used include:
- Regular: The call rings each user following the order they appear on the user list.
- Circular: The PBX notes the last user to answer a call, and then the call is connected to the next user on the list.
- Simultaneous: In this setup, the PBX directs the call to all the extensions at once.
- Most idle: For this configuration the call is directed to the user/agent that’s been idle for the longest time.
It’s important to note that defining a hunt group and setting up a configuration to distribute calls minimizes the chances that a caller will receive a busy signal. Each extension will be tried in the order stipulated until a ‘free’ extension is reached. Typically, extensions with agents on call or marked as “blocked” will be skipped.
ACD- Automatic Call Distribution
Modern call centers adopt Automatic Call Distribution technology to automatically distribute calls to free agents. In practice, they work more or same as hunt groups only that the system is more digitized and relays the calls to only users who are not engaged.
Summing up, when shopping for a hosted PBX provider it’s vital to consider the level services of their hunted groups. This is because ‘hunt groups’ have a huge bearing on a business’ communication success.
- Hunt groups are used to distribute calls in and out of an organization
- Configurations are used to reduce chances that a call will get the lines busy.
- Modern host PBX providers use Automatic Call Distribution technology instead of hunt groups.