How to Set Up International Call Forwarding Hunt Groups

Using sequential ringing to create a global, virtual hunt group is an effective way to deliver a superior experience to your international callers. It’s also easy to change as needed.

Call Forwarding Hunt GroupGlobal call forwarding numbers are an important communications tool for any international business, including enterprise organizations and small businesses alike. By design, each virtual call forwarding number is assigned a destination “ring to” phone number.

Thus, a phone call made using a global call forwarding number is forwarded to another phone, often in a different country, that rings and is then handled accordingly.

The actual phone call can be handled in any number of ways. At its most basic, the call would be answered and a conversation started. If the call goes unanswered, the next logical step would be to have it go to voicemail. However, this is not always desirable, especially if you have human resources available who could promptly answer the call.

Hunt groups are commonly used in businesses and call centers to make sure calls are handled promptly by live agents. The phone systems themselves can be configured to either ring all extensions simultaneously or ring the next available extension in the “hunt group.”

If you set up your global call forwarding number to ring to the main telephone number for a business or call center, the call will be treated by the phone system much like any other call using that phone number. Thus, you may have some sequential ringing already in place at the physical location thanks to how the phone system is set up.

With virtual phone numbers, however, your destination phone number may be dynamic, changing based on the time of the day or other factors. You might even have a distributed team and lack a PBX system altogether. Fortunately, an advanced call forwarding feature, sequential ringing, gives you greater control over how each incoming call is handled. Using the sequential ringing feature, you can set up a global hunt group to ensure that your incoming calls are handled appropriately.

How to Set Up Sequential Ringing

The process itself is a simple matter of selecting Sequential Ringing and entering up to four phone numbers in the desired sequence. It’s helpful to sketch it out on paper first.

  • Determine if the main number’s existing sequence should be bypassed. You might not want your virtual numbers handled in the same way as most calls coming in. For instance, you may have a handful of people responsible for answering your global phone calls. Who are those people and what are their direct phone numbers and extensions?
  • Determine if fluency in the caller’s language needs to be considered. If so, you’ll want to make sure that only those who are fluent in the language are included in the hunt group. Again, identify those people and write down their direct phone numbers and extensions.
  • Determine if other offices or call centers should be included in your sequence. The correct people to handle your global call forwarding calls may be located in different offices or call centers around the globe. Identify the individuals and/or other branch offices that should be included in the sequence and write down their direct phone numbers — even if they are located in different countries. Global call forwarding numbers can be configured to ring to phone numbers around the world.
  • Determine a logical timing of the sequence. If you have a distributed team or if offices in different time zones will be involved, your sequence should make sense timing-wise so that the ring-to phones will actually be staffed when most calls are likely to come in.
  • Decide how you want to handle calls if everyone in the sequence is unavailable. In most cases, you’ll opt to have the call go to voicemail.
  • Determine the ideal sequence for your call forwarding calls and the desired length before the next number in the sequence begins ringing. The delay is cumulative, so you’ll want to make sure your most competent agents are first and second in the sequence and consider the third and fourth agents as backups in case your main agents are occupied. Try to allow enough time for the agent to answer, but not too much time before the next number rings if it goes unanswered. For example, if you have a 10-second delay between each number in the sequence, the caller will have waited a full 30 seconds before the fourth person answers or 40 seconds before landing in voicemail.
  • Configure sequential ringing. Once you have your sequence laid out, head to your global call forwarding online dashboard and select the sequential ringing option. Enter the destination numbers in your hunt group sequence and the desired length before the call will ring to the next number in the group.

Using sequential ringing to create a global, virtual hunt group is an effective way to deliver a superior experience to your international callers. It’s also easy to change as needed.

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International Call Forwarding