Understanding Ring Groups

James Arthur - July 23, 2018

Reading time: 2 mins

Understanding Ring Groups

Posted July 23, 2018 by James Arthur

Ring Groups (also know as hunt groups, line hunting and call groups) are ways in which a PBX or traditional phone system can distribute calls from a single phone number of multiple agents.

Ring groups have been around for a while; traditional phone providers offer them as an additional service however the power of PBX, like Routr, allows them to be offered as standard.

The science behind ring groups is all down to a number of algorithms with the four most popular being Multi-line, Linear, Most Idle and Round Robin (Circular). Let’s dive in and explain how these algorithms operate.

Multi-line Hunting

Multi-line Hunting (also referred to as line hunting or multiline hunting group) allows one phone number to simultaneously dial multiple phone numbers or agents within a group. Not to be confused with call forwarding, this solution will try all lines unless it gets a busy or no answer tone from each.

If it connects a call it will stop dialling the others – if it cannot connect to any of the lines in the the group it will send a busy/no answer signal.

Linear hunting

Linear hunting (also known as serial hunting or terminal hunting) get its name from how it operates. A linear hunt will call the first number in a group, and if it gets a busy/no answer tone it will attempt to dial the next caller. It will call every line in the group until it has been answered.

If it gets a connection it will ignore the existing lines in the group. An easy way to imagine this is a hierarchy system; A client calls a phone number and the linear hunt will dial in the following order Support Agent, Sales Agent, Sales Manager, Sales Director, CEO.

In this example the calls should never reach the CEO; the CEO will only receive a call if the other lines return a busy/no answer signal.

Linear hunting can be problematic for companies who run call centers or agent support as it is likely that the first person in the line will likely receive a high volume of calls then other agents. This first agent who is getting bombarded with calls is likely to not be ready to handle the upcoming call.

Circular hunting

Circular hunting or round-robin distributes call fairly and logically. If Agent 1 recieves the first call, Agent 2 will receive the second, Agent 3 will receive the third and so on. This will continue even if lines become available. Once the hunt group has reached the end it will start again.

Lines are only ever skipped if the line is busy or their is no answer.

Circular hunting is popular in telesales teams so that generated leads are shared evenly or if dealing with electronic legacy office equipment such as fax machines.

Most Idle hunting

Most Idle hunting is popular in call centers as calls are delivered to which ever agent has been waiting the longest since their last call. It takes into consideration how long a agent has been waiting and how long they have been on the phone for.

This is the industry standard for sharing the workload of agents in call centers and increase the chances of call loads being shared evenly.