What is call hunting ?
“Call Hunting” is a facility in PABX or any Telephone exchange which allows an incoming call to be landed on any extension or telephone number in a group of extensions or telephone numbers. There will be one “pilot number” which will be dialed by any person, and any call to that “pilot number” would land on any of the free line in a group which belongs to the pilot number group.
For example, in a PABX, 6600 is a pilot number which has hunting feature. 6601 to 6620 number are in a group whose pilot number is 6600. Now anyone calling 6600 may land on any number 6601 to 6620 depending on which is free! These 6601 to 6602 can be called directly too.
How it works
Normally, any call to pilot number will land route the call to next free channel available the group. Or, the sequence of hunting the numbers in the group, aptly called “hunt group” can be programmed and configured by user. It differs from automatic call distribution in a way that, it does not use any algorithm where calls land on all group members uniformly. In Hunting Call, the call always land on the next free number in the hunting sequence programmed.
Some PBX allows hunting group to have its extensions only. They can not include any external PSTN number in their call hunt.
Some high end PBX has facility to include external PSTN number in its call hunt group. This kind of facility is also known as call follow. It is specially useful for time based routing where call to office number may be routed to home after 8PM at night!
With the advent of automatic call distribution system, utility of call hunting has gone down as ACD offers much more flexibility as well as logical call landing to group members.
Major drawback is, its inability to allot calls to group numbers equally where all group members get fair share of calls.
Call hunting facility is still used as “call follow” or time based routing in PSTN exchanges for people which have more than one telephone connections. It is still useful for them as all numbers are used by one person. The telephone subscriber can program land call to the number where he is available immediately.
Call hunting is implemented in the PABX system only But it can also be implemented on a host PC using CTI. Implementing call hunting on a CTI platform may give many flexibility and logical routing of calls as per user requirement.