Hunting group and call queue

1. Description

Hunting group (sometimes multi-line hunting, MLH,or MHG, multi-line hunting group) is a feature that allows multiple local users (extensions) going into a business to act as a single group, called a hunt group. If current local user is busy, the call goes to the next available local user. Only if no local users in the group are available, the calling party gets a busy signal.

1.1 Hunting strategy

There are always several strategy to hunting a local user.Typically, we often use following strategy:

  • Circular hunting
  • Linear hunting

In circular hunting, the calls are processed "round-robin".If a call is delivered to local user 1, the next call will go to 2, the next to 3. The succession throughout each of the local users even if one of the previous local users becomes free. When the end of the hunting group is reached, the hunting starts over at the first local users. Local users are only skipped if they are still busy on a previous call.

Linear hunting is also referred to serial hunting. In linear hunting, calls are always delivered to the first local users, unless it is busy, then the second, third,and so on.

In fact, there is another hunting strategy: ringing all. In some system, such as miniSIPServer, this strategy is implemented as another service: ringing-group. In this document, we will not disucss "ringing all" strategy.

Following scenario is an example of hunting group.

1.2 Using hunting group

Hunting group feature often works with auto-attendant feature to service small business. In the auto-attendant service document, we have a demo scenario:

scenario network

In this scenario, the sales team, or the support team, can be arranged to be ringing group if we want all their lines ringing together for incoming call.And we can also configure them with hunting group, then once calling party press 1 or 2, we can route the call to an idle guy in sales team (or support team).

2. Service in miniSIPServer

In MSS, this service is supported from version 2.10 and higher.

2.1 Group

MSS can support at most 100 hunting groups, and each hunting group can support several operators. These hunting group can be configured with independant hunting strategy. As described in above chapters, "linear strategy" and "round-robin strategy" are supported in MSS hunting group. "Ringing all" is support in MSS' ringing-group feature.

2.2 Operator

The members in a hunting group are named as "operator" in MSS.

Local users (extensions) can be configured to one hunting group and become an operator. One local user can only belong to one hunting group. The local user who has been configured to one hunting group can login or logout the group manually itself.

Once the operator logins to the hunting group, MSS will route the incoming call to it according to its status and the group strategy. If the operator logout from the hunting group, of course MSS will not route the call to it.

By default, operators can dial "*72" to make a call to login to its group and dial "*73" to make a call to logout from its group. In another way, operators can be configured to login into hunt-group directly when they login MSS.

2.3 Call queue

If there is an incoming call while all operators are busy, MSS can be able to process it in two ways:

By default, MSS will release the call. It is simple but uncomfortable for the calling users.

In another way, MSS can be able to put the incoming call to a queue until there is a available operator to handle it. This queue is "call queue". Each "hunting group" can have its own call queue. In one call queue, we can control how many calls can be hold to waiting and how long the calling party can wait.

When the incoming call is putted to call queue, the calling party will hear the waiting number to know how many users are waiting. And he/she will continue to hear music when they are waiting.

3. Configuration

When we configure hunting group feature in MSS, we need think about following items:

  • What's kind of group? how about its strategy?
  • Which operators should be configured in the group?
  • How to trigger the hunting group for an incoming call?

These questions are resolved in MSS configurations: group configuration, operator configuration and detection.

You can visit MSS menu "services --> Multi-lines hunting group" to configure them.

3.1 Configure group information

Please click sub-menu "Hunting group informaiton" to configure group like following:

hunting group configuration

In this configuration, the "no-answer timer" can be applied to all its operators. Once the operator cannot answer the incoming call within such time, MSS will try to route the call to next operator.

If we want to enable "call queue" for this group, we need enable "put the call into queue when all operaors are busy" item.

Once "call queue" is configured with current group, we can control how many calls can be hold in the queue which is indicatd by item "Maximum call counts in queue", and how long the calling party can wait which is indicated by item "Maximum waiting duration"(the call will be released if there isn't available operator when the duration is expired).

3.2 Configure operator

Please click sub-menu "Operators informaiton" to configure operators like following:

operator configuration

By default, the operator number is local user number.

If 'login group automatically when login system' is selected, this operator will not need to dial "*72" to login hunt-group manually. MSS will add it to hunt-group directly when the operator logins MSS.

3.2 Configure detection

Please click sub-menu "Detection configuration" to configure detections like following:

detection configuration

With dial plan, it will be very flexible to trigger hunting group. Different calling parties can be configured to different dial plan, then different hunting group can be triggered with the same called number.

In our above scenario, when the calling party users hear the announcement and press "1" to ask sales team (or support team), the call can be routed the the sales team in U.S if the calling party user is in U.S, and the call can be routed to the sales team in China if calling party users in China.

After we finish above configurations and the operators login to the group, the hunting group is ready now.