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November 08, 2007

Useful VoIP PBX Features: Follow-me and Hunt Groups

By Mae Kowalke, TMCnet Associate Editor

Small businesses today have access to some pretty useful phone system features these days, thanks to the availability of hosted VoIP PBX (News - Alert) solutions. Such solutions host most or all of the equipment (except phones and in some cases switches or routers) at the provider’s premise, freeing the small business from the upfront and ongoing costs associated with maintaining a business phone system.
Many of the features that come with hosted VoIP PBX solutions add new levels of flexibility to the lives of small business owners. As any small business owner or employee knows, business can be conducted anytime at any location, if the right communications tools are available.
Two examples of such tools are the follow-me and hunt group (aka call treatment) features that come with Nuvio’s (News - Alert) nPBX hosted VoIP PBX system. These two features enable mobile communications for small businesses, allowing them to compete on a global stage without breaking the bank.
The follow-me feature, also sometime referred to as “find-me,” has to do with how incoming calls are routed. More specifically, a call must “terminate” (ring) somewhere. Thanks to the advanced technology in the nPBX hosted VoIP PBX, this termination can take place at more than one location (e.g. phone or circuit).
To enable follow-me, the hosted VoIP PBX is configured to route a call to two or more different phone numbers in succession. So a call may be first routed to an office phone, and if it isn’t answered, re-routed to a mobile phone. If the recipient doesn’t answer either number, than the call is routed to voicemail.
Hunt groups work in a similar way, but route calls based on the status of a particular destination—available or busy. Each hunt group configured for the hosted VoIP PBX is a list of secondary numbers to which an incoming call should be routed if the primary number is busy.
So, for example, say a customer calls but the main phone line at the office is busy. The call is then routed to the cell phone for one of the company’s sales people; this number is also busy. The call is then routed to another cell phone for another sales person, which is available and the call is then answered.
Follow-me and hunt groups ensure that small businesspeople don’t miss important calls, even if they are not in the office, and that customers are served promptly and don’t get lost in a voicemail system or have to play phone tag.
To learn more about the benefits of hosted VoIP PBX solutions, please visit the VoIP PBX channel on TMCnet.com, brought to you by Nuvio.
Mae Kowalke is an associate editor for TMCnet, covering VoIP, CRM, call center and wireless technologies. She also blogs for TMCnet here.

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