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 hunting 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.
There are always several strategy to hunting a local user. Typically, we often use following strategy:
In circular hunting, the calls are processed "round-robin". If a call is delivered to local user 1, the next call will go to local user 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 user, 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. This document will not disucss "ringing all" strategy.
Following scenario is an example of 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:
In this scenario, the sales team, or the support team, can be arranged to ringing groups if we want all their lines ringing together for incoming calls. And we can also configure them with hunting group, then once calling party press 1 or 2, we can route the call to an available guy of the sales team (or support team).
Hunting group can be configured with independant hunting strategy. As described in above chapters, "linear strategy" and "round-robin strategy" are supported in miniSIPServer hunting group. "Ringing all" is supported in ringing-group feature.
The members in a hunting group are named as "operator" in miniSIPServer.
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, miniSIPServer will route incoming calls to it according to its status and the group strategy. If the operator logout from the hunting group, of course miniSIPServer will not route calls 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 miniSIPServer.
If there is an incoming call while all operators are busy, miniSIPServer can be able to process it in two ways:
By default, miniSIPServer will release the call. It is simple but uncomfortable for the calling users.
In another way, miniSIPServer 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.
When we configure hunting group feature in miniSIPServer, we need to think about following items:
These questions are resolved in miniSIPServer configurations: (1) group configuration, (2) operator configuration, and (3) detection.
You can visit miniSIPServer menu "Services / Hunting group" to configure them.
Please click sub-menu "Group" to configure group like following:
In this configuration, the "operator no-answer timer value" item can be applied to all its operators. Once the operator cannot answer the incoming call within such a time, miniSIPServer 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 if 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).
Please click sub-menu "Operator" to configure operators like following:
By default, the operator number is a 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 because miniSIPServer will add it to the group directly when the operator registers to miniSIPServer.
Please click sub-menu "Detection" to configure detections like following:
miniSIPServer can trigger different hunting group according to the called number of incoming calls or the IVR results.
In our above scenario, when the called number of incoming calls is "1", the calls will be routed the the sales team.
After we finish above configurations and the operators login to the group, the hunting group is ready now.