Cisco Call Manager – Use hunt groups to handle unanswered calls.
You know that feeling when you call someone and they don’t answer their phone? Let’s be real, it’s 2015… they most likely looked at their phone and placed it right back in their pocket. Now amplify that feeling when you call a business during hours and don’t get a response. This kind of thing can be a make or break for capturing potential business. Hunt group capabilities allow you to build out sets of phones that ring if the first group isn’t answered. Some real world application of this would be a CEO’s phone being in a hunt group with his secretary as a fallback for unanswered calls. Another example might be a call center where there are tier’s of technical personnel. If the first group doesn’t answer, it rings through to the next tier to ensure the call is fielded.
Alternate solutions are available, which I’ll cover configuration of in their own respective articles, but the application of each is dependent on your needs. For example, that CEO who doesn’t know how to answer his phone? You could attach his same line extension to the secretary’s phone. However then she has to listen to her phone ring all day for calls that may not require her involvement. Furthermore, you could use a Call Pickup group, so that the secretary can take over the call after a few rings unanswered. Downfall for this example is if the CEO is still working on getting to the call, she may take it before he picks it up unintentionally, and she also has to perform some steps to take over the call. For these reasons, some of the examples listed are best handled by a Hunt Group. So with that said, I’ll shut up and get to the configuration guide for a hunt group.
Step 1. – Login -> Call Routing -> Route/Hunt -> Line Group
As with most things Call Manager related, configuration is dependent on 3 different pieces connected together in a hierarchy. If you don’t build a line group first, the next steps will not work as they rely on it.
Step 2. – Add a New Line Group
Click Add New and fill out the required fields (notated by an asterisk). The important parts of this are the actions that take place when calls aren’t answered, as well as adding extensions to the line group. Note that if you are using multiple phone/extensions in a particular line group, you can have calls go to these phones in a specific pattern (default is the phone who’s sat without calls the longest will receive the next call). Furthermore, you can specify if unanswered calls should go to the next extension in the group, or move straight to the next group of numbers… perhaps as a way to save wasted time in case that whole group is busy or not responsive.
Step 3. – Additional Line Groups
Repeat step 2 as many times as needed for additional line groups. These are the groups of numbers that you will add to a hunt list, the next step. Hunt list is basically the way to group these sets of numbers into one area so Call Manager knows which calls should move to other groups.
Step 4. – Line Groups Complete
You should now have any line groups that you wish to send calls through. It will look something like this
Step 5. – Call Routing -> Route/Hunt -> Hunt List -> Add New
Not much to this part, just fill out what’s needed and click save.
Step 6. – Still configuring Hunt List
After you saved, you noticed Cisco now showed some additional fields on the Hunt List configuration page. Now you see where you add the line groups you just created to have calls hunt through. Add any line groups required, and save again. You will also need to reset the line groups, however Call Manager will tell you this. Just click the Reset button at the bottom.
Step 7. – Call Routing -> Route/Hunt -> Route Group -> Add New
We’ve made it. Lucky step 7 is where we begin to configure the final step of this process, The Hunt Pilot is where you will set the number that kicks off this whole process of hunting through lines. For IT personnel, this likely would be a number that everyone knows to call for IT support. For a CEO, this would be a different extension than the CEO’s specific number, and would have to be made known as such. If individuals know a particular extension and call it directly, it will not utilize the hunting process and would bypass everything you’ve setup. If you already have numbers in place and this is a new instance, you can take the already known number and make it the Hunt Group number, while assigning a new/different extension on the line. This way, callers do not even know they’ve now reached a different process when calling. Alright, enough of that… back to configuration. I’ve highlighted some of the more important fields, and you can see where the Hunt Group uses the hunt list, which then contains the Line groups… bringing this whole thing together. Click save when done.
We’re done here
That’s it, you’ve configured a Hunt Group for processing calls that go unanswered to another phone or set of phones automatically in call manager without requiring shared lines or call pickup intervention.
Until next time….
Happy Networking, Nerds!