Automated Attendant, Line hunting and Call Wisper
Call Centre Automated Attendant, Line hunting and Call Wisperer, Automated Attendant, Line hunting and Call Wisperer are used in a Call Centre (Contact Centre). You will also find Remote Call Forwarding, Call Forwarding (or call diverting), Line Hunting (sometimes MLH, line hunting or MHG, Multiline Hunting Group) is a feature that allows multiple telephone lines going into a business to act as a single group, called a hunt group. This type of fallback is a somewhat more complex form of call forwarding. If the line called is busy, the call goes to the next available line. Only if no lines in the group are open does the calling party get a busy signal. Call Centre Automated Attendant, Line hunting and Call Wisperer are more complex, more information is detailed below.
Call Centre Automated Attendant
In telephony, an automated attendant (also auto attendant or auto-attendant, or sometimes autoattendant or AA) allows callers to be automatically transferred to an extension without the intervention of an operator (typically a receptionist). Many AAs will also offer a simple menu system ("for sales, press 1, for service, press 2, etc.). An auto attendant may also allow a caller to reach a live operator by dialing a number, for example '0'.
On a purely technical level it could be argued that an automated attendant is a very simple kind of IVR, however in the telecom industry the terms IVR and Auto Attendant are generally considered distinct. An Automated Attendant serves a very specific purpose (replace live operator and route calls), whereas an IVR can perform all sorts of functions (telephone banking, account inquiries, etc).
An AA will often include a directory which will allow a caller to dial by name in order to find user on a system. There is no standard format to these directories, and they can use combinations of first name, last name, or both.
The following lists common routing steps that are components of an automated attendant (any other routing steps would probably be more suitable to an IVR):
* Transfer to Extension
* Transfer to Voicemail
* Play Message (i.e. "our address is ...")
* Go To a Sub Menu
* Repeat Choices
In addition, an Automated Attendant would be expected to have values for the following
* '0' - where to go when the caller dials '0'
* Timeout - what to do if the caller does nothing (usually go to the same place as '0')
* Default mailbox - where to send calls if '0' is not answered (or is not pointing to a live person)
Many auto attendants will have options to allow for time of day routing, as well as weekend and holiday routing. The specifics of these features will depend entirely on the particular automated attendant, but typically there would be a normal greeting and routing steps that would take place during normal business hours, and a different greeting and routing for non-business hours.
Call Centre Call Whisper
Call Whisper, otherwise known as Call Screening, is a Calling Feature that often appears on Non-Geographic Telephony systems and hosted inbound call handling software. It involves the playing of a message to the ‘called’ party when they have answered a call, during which time the ‘calling’ party continues to hear ringing. The called party can then decides whether or not they wish to accept the call (usually by pressing a particular key whereupon the call will be put through to them) or to reject it (either by pressing a key or simply hanging up). They can also identify the caller by their Caller ID number or answer the phone in an appropriate manner for the number that has been dialled.
The Call Whisper feature can be customised, depending on the options offered by the hosting product, in many ways:
* The message played to the ‘Called Party’ can be customised to convey any relevant information that can be of assistance to the answering agent such as the number that has been dialled, a particular product for which the caller requires support etc.
* An element of dynamic content can be introduced to the recording so that it responds to the Caller ID in an intelligent way i.e. it could simply read out the Caller ID of the caller, it could specifically advise what location the call is coming from, based on the Caller ID, or it could check the Caller ID against a customer database and therefore advise the agent which customer is calling in and what their account number is.
* The amount of time the system waits for the call to be accepted or rejected can be shortened or lengthened. This can be particularly useful if there is a possibility of an automated messaging service answering the call creating the need to prevent useless voicemail recordings of the Call Whisper message being left in the mailbox.
Advantages of using Call Whisper
Because Call Whisper settings are specific to a particular Non-Geographic Telephone Number, the feature can allow the called party to identify which telephone number the caller has dialled. For instance, ten separate numbers can all be routing their inbound calls to a single destination number. However, each of the ten numbers could have their own customised Call Whisper message on them relating to the nature of the call i.e. the function of the number that has been dialled. Therefore, the agent answering will know the number that has been dialled and thus the appropriate way to answer the call.
Call Centre Line hunting
Hunting, or a hunt group is a telephony concept that refers to the methodology of distributing phone calls from a single telephone number to a group of several phone lines. Specifically, it refers to the process or algorithm used to select which line will receive the call.
Hunt groups are supported by some PBX phone systems. Also, some phone companies will provide this feature for a small fee. In the tariffs of some telephone companies, one may obtain hunting for free, but forward on busy is a charged service.
Multiline Hunting is a feature that allows multiple telephone lines going into a business to act as a single group, called a hunt group. This type of fallback is a somewhat more complex form of call forwarding. If the line called is busy, the call goes to the next available line. Only if no lines in the group are open does the calling party get a busy signal.
In linear hunting, calls are always delivered to the lowest-numbered available line. This is also referred to as serial hunting. It resembles busy/no-answer call forwarding. Calls are always delivered to the first line, unless it is busy - then the second, third, and remaining lines are considered in succession.
This configuration is most often found on multi-line phones found at small businesses. For automatic call distributor systems with high call volumes, this is usually the least preferable method, because calls will arrive at destinations that are in the process of completing the previous call, and depending on the circumstances, may be the least prepared to take the call.
Linear hunting can also cause problems in automated equipment that answers calls, particularly if a destination extension fails on a lower-numbered line. This extension will disrupt a disproportionately high percentage of the incoming calls, whereas circular hunting will spread that disruption evenly throughout all the calls, minimizing the possibility for a major disruption.
In circular hunting, the calls are distributed "round-robin". If a call is delivered to line 1, the next call goes to 2, the next to 3. When the end of the hunt group is reached, the hunting starts over at the first line. Lines are only skipped if they are still busy on a previous call.
Circular hunting is a good way to distribute calls to electronic answering equipment such as fax machines.
In most-idle hunting, calls are always delivered to whichever line has been idle the longest. This considers the length of time that the calltaker has been busy versus available. This is typically used in call centers where the calls are being answered by people, to distribute the load evenly.
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