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A Quick Guide to Call Coverage in Cisco Call Manager

Every call is precious to a collaboration engineer. That’s why Cisco Call Manager has so many options for delivering and forwarding calls. Cisco Call Manager has five features that eliminate much of your overhead while maintaining a reliable call center.

In his latest Cisco CCNP Collaboration training, CBT Nuggets trainer Chuck Keith explains the five types of call coverage features offered by CUCM.

What is call forwarding?

Call forwarding connects calls to voicemail or another user on the system when the primary user is away.

When would you use call forwarding? You’d use call forwarding when you’re out of town or not at your desk. If someone is calling, they probably want to speak to a human. At worst, they’ll get a voicemail box. By default, your phone will ring nonstop until it finally disconnects.

Call forwarding seems simple, but it’s a little complicated to implement. Chuck Keith covers all the call forwarding options in CUCM in his Cisco CCNP Collaboration course.

What are shared lines?

Shared lines connect several phones to one number and have all of these phones ring when a call is received.

When would you use shared lines? In a call center, you often need more than one person answering calls. All phones ring when a call is received, but only one person handles the call. The first person to pick up the phone with a shared line configuration gets the call.

In his Cisco CCNP Collaboration course, Chuck Keith notes that this is the most common coverage method you’ll find, and shows you how to set it up in CUCM.

What is a call pickup group?

A call pickup group is a shared line that forwards an incoming call among designated lines one at a time.

When would you use call pickup groups? A call pickup group is slightly different from a shared line. With a pickup group, one person’s line rings for a set amount of time. If this user doesn’t answer the call, then a secondary backup group of phones rings to alert others that the original user didn’t answer the call. With a shared line, all phones ring until someone picks up the call. This forwarding methodology provides better coverage for an employee who’s away from the office.

CBT Nuggets trainer Jeremy Cioara goes further into detail about the three types of call pickup — directed, local group, and other group — in his Cisco CCNA Collaboration course.  

What’s the difference between call park and hold?

A parked call provides much more flexibility than a call placed on hold. Only the user who put the call on hold can control the call. Parked calls are held in the system and accessible from other lines.

Jeremy Cioara refers to call park as “call holding in the cloud” in his Cisco CCNA course, and notes that park has to be configured. Call hold is the default.

When would you use call park? Call park is preferable to call hold. If someone says they’re putting you on hold, it’s likely that they’re parking the call. The call park feature for Cisco devices put a call on hold with music running in the background.

What is call hunting?

Call hunting occurs when Call Manager routes an unanswered call to a series of phones, one at a time. The phone rings for a few seconds, and if this recipient doesn’t answer then the call is routed to the next recipient.

When would you use call hunting? Call hunting is reserved for high priority clients who need a way to talk to someone. It’s similar to a pickup group except the number given to a caller is usually an 800 number where anyone available can answer. The call is routed until it’s answered. Usually, if no employee is available, the call is routed to a voicemail.

The call hunt lists, pilots, and groups must all be configured in CUCM. Chuck Keith dedicates eight videos to this topic in his Cisco CCNA Collaboration course.

Finally, don’t forget to reset the T301 timer

It’s the little things that matter. You can have the perfect routing set up, but one issue that you can’t forget is resetting the T301 timer. If you don’t reset this timer and it expires before your custom “no answer ring duration” time frame, the call is dropped. This causes frustration and anger for your customers, so make sure that you reset this timer before deploying your call management solution.

Properly setting up your call coverage

Collaboration engineers already have so much on their plate, so every minute saved is worth the money and set up so time can be better spent on new projects and maintenance. Cisco Call Manager is one way you can eliminate much of your overhead while maintaining a reliable call center.

Learn how to implement and manage CUCM, CEM, or Unity solution with Chuck or Jeremy.

 

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