I promised i will speak a little about the hunt groups and the coverage answer group in the previous post. I'll try to give a light explanation of what they are and how they are used. Also this post tries to explain ways to implement hot lines(one number for multiple people). Please note that i'm not going to cover how more advanced stuff like queing will be done until we are going to learn about vectors.
So, hotlines. How can we implement them ? Well, there are 2 types of hotlines:
- One type is where you want all the phone members to ring at the same time (imagine a travel agency).
- On the other hand, you might have hotlines where you want the "share" the load between members or you want to make sure that the most knowledgeable person knows it (imagine a help desk line).
However what they have in common is the fact that the "client" calls one number and gets connected with somebody. This hotline number can be implemented in different ways:
A phantom line is a station that you create with add station x and where you define the station type as phtm. Port will be X (specifies that there is no hardware assigned to it) and the name will be the name of the particular hotline. Assign as many call-appr buttons as you wish. For each call-appr that you add that hotline will be able to pick up another call. Now, for each member that will answer in that particular hotline you can assign a brdg-appr for the line 1 of that phtm hotline number you just added. In this scenario, all the users in the group will recive the call at the same time.
Step1. Add a phtm station that will be your hotline number. The extension is the hotline number. Give it the name you desire.
Step 2. Assign as many call-appr as you wish to this line.
Step 3. Go in each station of each member (assuming that the member are 1002 and 1003 you will issue change station 1002 and then change station 1003. For each one do the change bellow) and give them a bridge apperance for each line in the hotline.
A coverage answer group will forward the call to the members defined and ring all their lines at the same time. The customer would call a number that has a coverage path defined that points to this coverage answer group. Keep on reading for an example.
Step1. You can issue the command add coverage-group next or add coverage-group y (y is a index, not the number where a user will call a hotline). Now you can define up to 8 members in here. These are the members that you want to receive the call. No changes are needed on the members.
Step 2. Create a coverage path where you setup all calls (both internal and extenal - make sure that the All line is setup to Y for both Inside Call and Outside Call) to go to point c1, ring that line for 3 times then go to the voicemail (h99 in my case). C1 is the coverage answer group we added earlier. Why 1 ? Because if you look in the picture above the Group number is 1. If you were to issue the command add coverage-group 9 in the previus step rather then add coverage-group next then you would put in here C9. Now, you might ask why didn't I just put c1 in here ? Why did i had to put h99 as well ? Well, if you don't add termination (something to answer the call - voicemail or announcement for eg) to a coverage path then a caller that would call outside "business hours" would end up ringing and ringing and riniging. There would be no finality to his call and that would cause frustation. So, i added voicemail as the next point in line in case none of the 8 users we defined were not able to pick up the line in the first 3 rings (read coverage paths in here if you find this frustation).
Step 3. After we created the coverage path, we need to assign it to something. We will assign it to the hotline number (in this case 1005). See the coverage path how it's set to 3 ? Well, why 3 ? Look at the previous picture. The coverage path number was 3 so this is what we set it up to.
Well, the problem with these 2 types is that we cannot add any "logic" behind it. Also, we cannot do any measuremements. Here is where hunt groups come to help up. They are very easy to setup and easy to understand. First: the main difference is that in a hunt group only 1 station (the first available) is ringed at a time. The station is picked up from a list of stations based on a logic that we define. There are 2 types of logic that are most common:
- CIRC : Round-robin : in this scenario you want to "balance" the load across the members. You assume that all the members of that hotline are equal in skill. The system will pick up the first available agent that has the lesser number of calls picked up.
- DDC: Skill level: in this scenario you have agents that are more skilled the others. You want these agents to pick up most of the calls as they are the most knoledgeble. When somebody calls the hotline the system picks up the first available agent that is closest to the top of the list that you define. Please note thought that if you have 30 agents and 100 calls but all 100 call are made one after the other (no multiple calls at the same time), your 1st agent will pick up all 100 while the rest of 29 agents will not be used.
Step1. Issue the command add hunt-group next or add hunt-group x (x is the hunt group number, each hunt group has it's own calling number defined in it under Group Extension).
Step1. In the group name add the name that you wish to display when calling. Change the group type to CIRC or DDC depending on the logic that you want behind it. Put the hotline number in the group extension field. Make sure this number follows your dialplan. We will go in the queuing later in the - advanced part of this (this part is the basic because we stop here with the logic, but you can have announcements played while people are waiting for somebody to pick up for example - teaser alert :), just wait for the advanced part to be written )
Step 2. Starting with page 3 start adding members to the list. These will be the members assigned to the hotline.
PS: There is a mistake in here. Can you see it ? If not then go to the solutions page to see what the problem is.
Needles to say that one can also issue the commands:
- list hunt-group
- display hunt-group x
- remove hunt-group x