VoIP Resources VoIP Fundamentals Introduction to Business VoIP

Ring Group Options and Strategies

by Joe DeBari

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

Ring groups are a powerful tool to make sure calls are answered quickly and efficiently. If this is your first time setting up groups, your head may be spinning with all the options: Simultaneous ring, hunt ring, and cyclical ring. How are they different and what are the best ways to use each one?

We’ll explain a few of the different group calling feature strategies and show you how to use them like a pro.

Ring Groups 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 can automatically distribute calls among the team members of the entire department.

When you create the group call feature in your VoIP service’s web-based admin portal, give the group a name and decide who to include. So if you’re setting up a group for your sales department, name it something like “Sales Group” and add each sales agent. When a call comes into the group, it will ring the members of the sales group in a particular manner, which we call your “ring strategy.”

You can customize the VoIP ring group to fit your needs. One thing to decide is where the call should go if everyone in a group is busy answering calls. This scenario is called a failover option. For example, you can allow the caller to leave a voicemail message by making the failover location a voicemail box. Or automatically forward the call to someone outside the group, like the department’s manager or a receptionist.

And you can even add a phone number so that callers who dial the number get sent directly to the group.

Ring Group Strategies: How Calls Move Through the Group

How do you want calls to get to the group’s individual members? Here are your options:

Simultaneous Ring: Phones Ring All at Once

The simultaneous ring strategy rings the phones of all group members at the same time. The first person who picks up gets the call; once that happens, the other phones quit ringing. You can determine how long the phones will ring—this is done so that if the call goes unanswered after your chosen number of seconds, it will be sent to the group’s failover option.

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. Anyone in the group is able to confidently 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, that group member will be skipped and the call will go directly to the next person 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 using this ring strategy are naturally 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 the same as a hunt ring, but with one main difference. Calls ring each member of the VoIP ring group one at a time 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 member and ring each person in order again 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 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

The call strategies of ring groups 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