TABLE OF CONTENTS
- General information
- Ring strategies
Dial groups are used to group a number of extensions into one network and once a Dial group has been called, calls will be distributed to extensions into that Dial group. Depending on the needs of that group (i.e. support/sales department) and team members’ knowledge, different ring strategies can be used.
First of all, let’s go through some general information about Dial group options:
Incoming limit per call
Incoming limit per call should be kept at a lower value, between 2-3, in order to avoid looping, as this option defines how many times the call will be routed between groups. If this is set to 1 as it is by default, and the current Dial group sends the call to the next group (or any other object on the system), returning the same call from that object will not be permitted as the same call can enter this group only once.) It would be the best practice to set this option to 1 to avoid looping. This option is often misunderstood and users tend to set it to a higher value meaning that is how many simultaneous calls can be in the Dial group, but that is not what this option is used for.
Loops defines how many times to dial all extensions again if nobody answers. For example if there are 4 dial group members and the call is routed to the dial group, if nobody answers on the call, if this option is set to 2, the dial group will be dialed one more time before the call goes to the Last destination.
Define the looping mode for Dial groups by selecting one of the following options:
Per Extension: an Extension rings multiple times before the next one starts ringing
Circular: an Extension rings one time before the next one starts ringing
(E.g. The Dial group 1000 has three Extensions (101, 102, and 103).
a) First case scenario:
Loops: set to 2
Looping mode: set to 'Per Extension'
Timeout (sec): set to '7' and option Force Dial Group Timeout set to Yes
Ring Strategy: set to 'Round'
In this scenario, the Dial group will ring Extensions respectively and multiple times. This means that the Extension 101 will ring for 7 seconds, if the call is unanswered, the Dial group will ring again the Extension 101 for 7 seconds. If the call is left unanswered for the second and the third time, then the Dial group will ring the next Extension 102, and so on.
If option Force Dial Group Timeout is on behavior will be the same, just extensions will be ringing for that many seconds set on the Extension itself.
b) Second case scenario:
Loops: set to 3
Looping mode: set to 'Circular'
Timeout (sec): set to '7' and Force Dial Group Timeout set to Yes
Ring Strategy: set to 'Round'
In this scenario, the Dial group will ring Extensions respectively and one time. This means that the Extension 101 will ring for 7 seconds, if the call is unanswered, the same will be repeated for 102 and 103. In that case, no one answered the call in the first loop, the call will enter a second loop and three Extensions will be dialed again in the same manner.)
If option Force Dial Group Timeout behavior will be the same, just extensions will be ringing for that many seconds set on Extension itself.
There is an option to set a custom ringtone to the Dial group. So, for example, if in the Sales Department there are multiple projects, such as Sales_Winter_Vacations and Sales_Summer_Vacations, for which there are two Dial groups created and Ext1 is part of both Dial groups. Using custom ringtones here would be beneficial as per phone ringing Dial group member can know which Dial group is being called and so he can prepare himself immediately for the call, and open Brochures with Summer vacation offers in this scenario.
Replace Caller ID
This option replaces the Caller ID with the custom data provided here. This is used when there is a need to have some specific value displayed for Caller ID for all incoming calls coming to the extension from that Dial Group. For example if the extension is part of two Dial groups, in order to show on the extension’s phone display from which Dial group that call is coming, under Dial group settings administrator, can add for example SALES. In this case, when a call comes from a number, let’s say 1202123456, the dial group member should see on his phone display SALES 1202123456. This way a dial group member knows from which dial group the call came and can prepare himself for the call, but will also know the original phone number, should there be a need to call that caller later on in order to provide some additional information.
Store Unanswered CDRs
This option is used to exclude unanswered CDR records from a report.
If the option is set to 'No' the following will change:
The call was not answered/canceled: Instead of 2 generated CDRs per extension in the Dial group, only a single CDR will be stored.
The call was answered: Instead of 2 generated CDRs per extension in the Dial group, a total of 2 CDRs will be generated (one for the call to the Dial group and one for the extension that answered).
In case when there is a need to track all of the calls from the Dial group to its members, Store unanswered CDRs option should be set to Yes. Therefore, if there is a need to see which members are answering calls the most, and which members are those who are missing the calls often or rejecting the calls, you can check that under the Reports page by searching per that extension (in from field set Dial group number and in To field set extension number).
It is important to mention that enabling this option will generate much more CDRs than when this option is set to No, so when it is important only to check if the calls were answered or not set this option to No.
Use original Caller ID for external calls
This option is useful in cases when there is a need to show the original Caller ID on the phone display when the call is sent to an external number instead of sending the Caller ID which is set on the Tenant/Trunk/Trunks&Tenants level
With this option enabled when the call comes to DID and is sent to External number, Original caller iD will be shown on callee’s phone.
When the exit digit is pressed during an active call, the call will be sent to the Exit destination. For example, if 9 is set to be the exit digit and Voicemail is set to the Exit destination, when the call comes to the Dial group but there are no available members who can answer the call and the caller does not want to wait anymore, he can press Exit digit to be sent to Exit destination. The administrator will need to upload a greeting in Dial group settings in which he will provide instructions for the exit digit and exit digit destination.
Ring all strategy
This ring strategy connects and rings all of the available members and the call will be connected to the member who answers the call first. It is ok to use this ring strategy in the case when in the department (e.g. support department) all of the members have the same knowledge and when the call comes to this group all of the members are able to provide the same or similar level of support to the caller, considering that it is not a large department.
Generally speaking, it is not desirable to use one Dial group with Ring all strategy in departments that have a large number of members as that will increase the system's load. With ring all strategy all extensions would ring at the same time.
For example let’s say there are 30 members in one Dial group, when a call comes to that Dial group 30 simultaneous INVITEs will be sent for a single call (considering that all Dial group members are online), and if there are some kind of call forwardings on extensions, that is more INVITEs for just one call. Now let’s imagine what will happen if all of the extensions have BLFs on their phones with department members. That would be 29 NOTIFY packets sent only for one extension, and if that is multiplied by 30, imagine the load on the system caused by one Dial group call. If you add to this also Loops (which means how many times to send one call to all Dial group members) load on the system caused only by one Dial group call will be even more increased. Imagine the load on the Multi tenant system where there are multiple tenants with the same Dial group settings, and add to that outgoing calls and incoming calls that do not come to the Dial group.
Besides this technical disadvantage also in groups with a large number of members, considering that all of the members will get the call, it could happen that most of them will ‘ignore’ the call thinking the other member will answer. This way answer time (which is the greatest benefit of using this strategy) can be increased.
To increase the system’s stability and performance using Ring all strategy should be avoided in cases when some other ring strategy would be fine too or to create cascading Dial groups, meaning dividing department in small groups of people.
If a department has a large number of members what can be done here is to divide people into a couple of groups, so for example put 6 members in group Support1, put 10 members in group Support2, and put 14 members in group Support3 and in Dial group Support1 set Support2 to be Last destination, in this case when all of the members are busy call will be forwarded to Support 2, in Support 2 set Support 3 to be Last destination.
At first glance, this would may seem unfair to those members who are in the first Dial group and that they will get most of the calls, but considering that generally Ring All strategy is ringing all members, and the member who is available will pick up the call so it is not based on ‘fair’ principle. However, if all members from the first Dial group are not available the call will be forwarded to the second one which is set as the Timeout destination, and so on.
In case the department has members who have other responsibilities besides phone support, cascading Dial groups can be created. Here, the administrator will put members who are only in charge of phone calls in the first Dial group. Then in the second Dial group, which will be the last destination for the first Dial group, the administrator will put members who have some other responsibilities besides phone calls. This way all calls will be forwarded at first to Dial group1 to members who are in charge only of phone support and then if all of them are busy, the call will be forwarded to the second one -> to members who usually have some other things to do but can also provide support to the caller.
Also if there is a department where members have different levels of knowledge, cascading Dial groups can be used. What can be done is to create small groups -> Level1Support, Level2Support, Level3Support, where the administrator will put members with the best knowledge to be in Level1, those who are less experienced will be in Level2 and new hires will be in Level3. This way callers will get at first the most experienced members on the phone and they will get the most of the calls, this way other team members can hear how to resolve specific problems and increase their knowledge level. Level2support will be set as the Last destination in the Level1 group and Level3 support will be set as the Last destination for the Level2 group. Also if a Level1 member answers the call and sees that the problem can be handled by someone who is a ‘lower level’ the call can be forwarded to another person.
Leastrecent Ring Strategy
This strategy will ring the extension with the least answered calls, meaning the call will be routed to the least recent agent, the one who did not answer any call for the longest period.
This ring strategy rings members one by one for the number of seconds set in the Ringtime option under extension.
Dial group has 3 members: Ext1 (Ringtime=10s), Ext2 (Ringtime 10s), and Ext3 (Ringtime 6s), and Ext1 was the one with the longest waiting time
Timeout on Dial group is set to 30s
Timeout destination is IVR 400
When a call comes to dial group Ext1 will be called and will be rung for 10s, then the call will be routed to another least recent extension (Ext2) and it will be rung for 10s, after that it will be routed to Ext3 which will ring for 6s and if the call is not answered it will be sent to Last destination. If Ext1 rejects the call, it will be sent to Ext2, and so on…
In case when option Force Dial Group Timeout is set to Yes, every extension will be rung for 30s (Dial group timeout), and if the call is not answered after that it will be sent to the last destination.
This strategy distributes the call volume equally among all the agents and keeps all the agents active, so this strategy is desirable to be used when it is important to distribute calls equally between department members, all of the department members have a similar level of knowledge and it is not important which member will get the call as they can provide similar or equal support.
What can be some kind of disadvantage here is that holding time can be increased, as if the first couple of members are not near the phone, the caller will need to wait until the call is answered by some member but this strategy does not make the load on the system as Ring all strategy does.
Round Ring Strategy
This ring strategy will ring all available members from the group one by one. Dial group members will be rung in order of how they are added to the Dial group. If the call is not answered by the first member, the second one will be rung, if the second one does not answer, the call will be forwarded to the next one. Members will be rung for the number of seconds added in Timeout on the extension, unless option Force Dial Group Timeout is set to yes, then members will be rung for that many seconds.
This ring strategy gives the administrator the opportunity to define the specific order in which members will receive calls. If there is a need to forward calls always at first to one specific extension. So extension which is added in the Dial group first will get all the calls, (considering that it is available and not on the call), if it is on the call then the call will be forwarded to the second one, and so on.
This ring strategy should be used when there are members in the department who have different levels of knowledge, so on positions 1 and 2, the administrator can put the most experienced members, on positions 3 and 4 put less experienced members, and on 5 and 6 trainees.
So this ring strategy should be used when equality of call distribution is not the most important thing, but the user experience which would be better as top members will solve the customer’s problem quickly, without the need to forward the call to some other member.
A potential disadvantage here can be that members in first positions will be those who will get most of the calls and other members will get less opportunity to resolve issues, but on the other hand, the less experienced members can listen to senior colleagues and increase their knowledge that way.
Another potential disadvantage here is again waiting time - if the first member is not near the phone, the caller will need to wait until the call is forwarded to the next available member in the group, so the wait time can be increased.
Another example could be when the support department provides support in multiple languages, i.e. English and French, the administrator can put English and French speaking members in the first positions and those who speak only English in the last positions. This way calls will be routed first to members who are speaking both languages and no matter which language the caller is speaking they can provide support, in case they are all unavailable, those members who are English-only speakers can answer the call and provide support if the caller is English speaker if a caller is French speaker, a member can ask the caller to wait a bit and then forward the call to another member when he is available.
If there is a member in the department, let’s say team leads, who has some other responsibilities and phone support is not the main job that person is working, the administrator can put that member in the last position so that member does not need to worry about being the first one to answer the call. The call will be forwarded to that member only in case when all other members are busy or unavailable.
Dial group has 3 members Ext1, Ext2, Ext3, a call comes to Dial group
First case scenario
Call comes to Ext1 first
Extension answers the call
Next call will get to Ext 1 when the first call is finished
Second case scenario
Call comes to Ext1 first
Extension 1 does not answer the call and call is answered by Ext2
Next call will come to Ext1
Round Memory Ring Strategy
This strategy is similar to Round strategy with little difference, it follows pre-defined order in which members will ring but it keeps a record of who was the last member on the list who answered the call.
So if this ring strategy is compared with Memory, in this strategy calls will be forwarded to every member equally, so based on that, this strategy is more desirable for departments where all members are with the same or similar knowledge. So the advantage is that all members are being used, all of them have the same possibility to provide support to callers. If the first member does not answer the call, the call will be routed to the next one.
This ring strategy can be used in cases when in the department are members with different knowledge levels but there is a need to have some defined order in which members will be rung, but not to always ring the first members to lower the workload on those members. A potential problem would be that the most experienced member will need to wait for the last member to take the call in order to get the call again.
Dial group has 3 members Ext1, Ext2, Ext3, call comes to Dial group
First case scenario
Ext 1 is ringing and answers the call
Next call will get to Ext2 first, Ext2 answers the call
Next call will get to Ext3
Second case scenario
Ext1 is ringing and does not answer the call
Ext 2 answers the call
Ext 3 will get the next call
Let’s say there is a small business company which has 6 employees in the Customer service department where 4 members are in charge of phone support and two of them are in charge of tickets. There is a need to ring at first 4 members simultaneously for 60 seconds, if there is no answer for that time or all 4 members are on the call send the call to the other 2 members which will ring for 30s and if there is no answer, ring them again for 30s and if there is no answer send the call to the secretary.
Create two dial groups, CS and CSbackup
In the CS dial group put 4 members in charge of phone support and set ring strategy to ringall and Timeout 60s, set option Force dial group timeout to Yes
In the CSbackup dial group put the other 2 members and set ring strategy to ringall, Timeout to 30s
In CS dial group add CSbackup dial group to be Last destination
In CSbackup dial group -> set Secretary extension to be Last destination, set Loops to 2 and looping mode to per Extension
Let’s say there is a big company which has 40 members in the Sales department.
In order to avoid ringing all 40 members at the same time, to avoid system performance problems, instead of using one ring group, it would be good to split that one big Dial group into smaller groups.
Let’s say the Sales department works on different projects: Events, Travels and Boat cruises. Most of the members are working on Travels and Boat cruises projects and 10 agents are working on Music events projects.
So it would be good here to split the Sales department into 3 ring groups and point DID to IVR in which the greeting will be uploaded, so callers can decide from IVR which sales dial group to call. For example: “For Travels press 1, for Boat cruises press 2, for Events press 3.” This way callers will be sent to the desired Ring group based on the number they dial from IVR and will be forwarded to the employee who is in charge of the theme they are interested in.
In each of these dial groups, the administrator can define a ring strategy that will be used. For example, there is a need to ring Travels dial group members one by one, in specific order -> set Round ring strategy here.
The events dial group has only 10 members and there is a need to ring all of them at the same time -> set Ring all strategy here.
5 employees who are working on Travels projects work as well on Boat Cruises projects. In order to know from which dial group the call came, the administrator can set different ringtones on these two dial groups so dial group members who are part of two dial groups can know from which dial group the call came based on the ringtone of their desk phone.
In case when dial group members are using a Communicator app, where the ringtone can not be changed, in order to inform dial group members which dial group has been called, Replace caller ID field on the Dial group can be used. So, when the call comes to their phone, they will see for example Travels followed by the original caller ID of the caller.
A big company has 26 members in the support department and has offices in two countries: Great Britain and France and provides support in English and French. Instead of sending every call to one dial group and dialing all of the members, create 2 dial groups for every location.
Main GB support dial group (14 members)
Second shift dial group (3 members)
France support dial group (8 members)
There are two DIDs, the main support DID and one France DID. France support dial group members provide support in French but 5 of them are also English speakers. GB dial group provides support only in English and most of the calls coming to the main support DID are English-speaking callers, but French-speaking callers also dial this DID, because of that administrator has added Greeting in the main dial group where he has uploaded a sound file: “For French press 5”. In the Main dial group he has set France support dial group to be the Exit destination and 5 to be the Exit digit. This way when the caller is a French speaker, he will hear the greeting and can press 5 to be immediately forwarded to the France dial group.
Also, considering that the Main dial group has more calls than the France dial group, the administrator has set the France dial group to be the last destination for the Main dial group, so in cases when there is a large load on the Main dial group, calls will be sent to the France dial group. If the call is answered by a member who does not speak English, he can transfer that call to a colleague who is an English speaker.
The main dial group has 24-hour support (Mon-Fri), and members are working in 3 shifts. First shift working hours are 07:00-16:00, and during this period Dial group gets the most of the calls so in this shift there are 14 members. The second shift working hours are from 16:00 till midnight and there are 3 members. The third shift has only one member who is working from midnight till 07:00 as there usually are no calls during this period.
The administrator has created a second shift dial group and in the Main dial group Operation times has set this dial group to be a Custom destination from Mon-Fri (16:00- 23:59) and set Ext 101 as the second Custom destination from Mon-Fri (00:00-07:00).
The France office works from Mon-Sat but they are working only the first shift (8 AM - 5 PM), after 5 PM they are dealing only with tickets.
In the Main dial group settings, the administrator has defined Operation times rules and set the France dial group to be the Default destination, so on Saturdays all of the calls to the Main dial group are forwarded to the France dial group.
In France dial group Administrator has set Operation times rules and uploaded a greeting for closed hours which will be played after 5 PM: “We are currently closed, calls will be forwarded to our office in Great Britain, in case you want to get support on English please stay on the call, otherwise please open ticket on our support portal”.