VoIP Resources VoIP Fundamentals Business VoIP Tips

Group Ring Strategies Explained

by Joe DeBari

Simultaneous ring, hunt ring, and cyclical ring. What are the differences between these ring group ring strategies?

When you set up a ring group, you have a couple of different customization options available to you. One of these options is the group’s ring strategy. Here, we’ll explain a few of the different ring strategies that you can use in your sales or support team’s ring group.

Ring Group Feature Overview

A ring group (also known as a call group) is a useful hosted VoIP phone feature for a sales, support, or billing team because it automatically distributes calls among the entire department of team members.

When you create the ring group in your VoIP service’s web-based admin portal, you pick and choose which staff members you want to have in the group. So if you’re setting up a group for your sales department, you’d add each sales representative to your sales ring group. When a call comes into your sales line, it will be directed to the members of the sales group.

You can customize the VoIP ring group to fit your needs. You can add a failover location for it (a voicemail box, the department’s manager, a receptionist, etc.), and you can add a phone number so that callers who dial the number get sent directly to the group.

Screenshot of ring groups in the OnSIP app.
Setting up a ring group in OnSIP's web browser softphone app (the OnSIP app).

Group Ring Strategies: How Calls Move Through the Group

Another customization option is the group’s ring strategy: How do you want calls to get to the group’s individual members? You have a few group ring options from which to choose.

Simultaneous Ring: Phones Ring All at Once

The simultaneous ring strategy rings the phones of all group members at the same time. The first group member who answers the call takes it; once that happens, the other phones will stop ringing. You can define the ring time duration—this is done so that if the call goes unanswered after a certain number of seconds, it will be sent to the group’s failover location.

When Should You Use the Simultaneous Ring Strategy? Use this ring strategy if all members of the group generally have the same amount of product knowledge or level of training. When a call enters this kind of ring group, any team member can answer it and provide a similar level of support to the caller.

Hunt Ring: Phones Ring in Sequential Order

The hunt (or sequential) ring strategy rings the phones of group members one at a time and in sequential order. When you set the ring time duration for the hunt strategy, it defines how long a call rings a particular phone before moving on to the next member in the group. And if a group member is on a call when a new call comes in, the new call will bypass that specific group member and go directly to the next member in the sequence.

If the call rings each member in the group and no one answers, it will automatically be sent to the preselected failover location.

Groups utilizing this ring strategy are also called “hunt groups.” And because calls go down the line in a sequence, pay particular attention to the order that you place your team members in—that’s the order that incoming calls will follow in the hunt group.

Person's hand on a desk phone.
Group ring strategies distribute your business calls to your call reps in an orderly and automated fashion.

When Should You Use the Hunt Ring Strategy? Use this ring strategy if the group’s members have differing levels of product knowledge, training, or tenure. You may put your most experienced team members in positions 1 and 2 of the group order, less experienced members in positions 3 and 4, and any new hires in position 5 and so on. That way, the new employees can get up to speed in their training and maybe even listen in on how their more experienced colleagues handle calls.

Cyclical Ring: Phones Ring in Sequential Order, and Then Start Over at the Beginning

Another ring strategy you may encounter is the cyclical/circular ring. It works exactly the same as a hunt ring, with one main difference. Calls ring each member of the VoIP ring group one at a time and in sequential order; if the call gets to the last member of the group and goes unanswered, it will be sent back to the first group member and ring each person in order again (if necessary) until someone answers the call. You can set the number of times that a call will cycle through the group list before it gets sent to the group’s failover.

When Should You Use the Cyclical Ring Strategy? You can use this group ring strategy in the same situations as you’d use the hunt ring strategy. You’d also want to use the cyclical ring strategy for times when you don’t want callers to reach a voicemail; the call will continue to be sent down the line until someone can answer it.

VoIP Ring Group Strategies Help Route Calls to Your Reps

Ring group call strategies are one of the many inbound call center features that VoIP services offer. Choose the one ring strategy that works best for your team of call representatives!

Learn more about VoIP Fundamentals