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Incoming Call Handling for Departments or Teams

Calls to an Individual Person

If someone is calling an individual on their Personal number, the expectation is that nobody else needs to be involved in accepting the call. If the individual is not at their desk, they can choose to receive incoming calls at any location using a PC, a mobile phone or a range of other devices. If they cannot take the call, they can have it divert to voicemail. If they are on leave, they can update their voicemail message to tell callers who else to ring. If the caller is internal, they can use presence to see if the person is available before they call. It is very flexible and efficient for the individual to manage their calls and voicemail messages; there is little to be gained from picking up a colleague's ringing phone and taking a message.

Calls to a Resource Line

As calls to an individual may never ring a desk phone in a office, this makes it important to understand where Resource Lines need to be requested to handle calls or enquiries directed to a team or department. Read about the different types of line that can be ordered.

A Resource Line will normally be directed to a single physical phone. For instance:

  • a reception desk
  • a department administrator
  • a meeting room
  • a lab
  • a shared office

There are some options that can be added to a Resource Line:

Voicemail - A Resource Line can be configured to have voicemail. If voice messages are to be notified via email, there must be a Resource email account with which it can be associated. A Resource email account can only be associated with a single phone line. A Resource Line cannot be associated to a user's personal email account

Announcement Message - A Resource Line voicemail box can be configured to play an announcement and then hang up without allowing the caller to leave a message.

Additional Directory Entry - additional directory entries can be added for a Resource Line number. Typically this is for members of staff who do not have a Personal Line but can be contacted via the Resource Line.

Hotdesk Logon - by default, it is not possible to use a personal login to log on to a Resource Line phone i.e. to use the phone as a hotdesk phone. However in some situations such as a meeting room, this may be desirable so that a staff member can log on and make an international call. Note that while someone is logged on to the phone, it will not be possible for anyone to call the Resource Line number.

When requesting a Resource Line, you need to specify:
  • a name for the line (The name will normally be visible in the phone directory, so needs to be meaningful and unique for the entire campus. The name will also be displayed when calls are made from this phone to another campus phone.)
  • whether additional directory entries are required for the number (such as staff member(s) who do not have a Personal Line but can be contacted via the Resource Line)
  • whether the number should be internal only. i.e. Can only be called from another University phone as extension 12345 or via the University switchboard. Cannot be dialled directly as 02476 012345 from a mobile phone or a location outside the University
  • whether voicemail is required for the line
  • whether voicemail should allow callers to leave messages or only play an Announcement
  • the Resource Email account associated with the Resource Line if voice messages can be left and should be notified via email (not a user's personal email account)
  • whether hotdesk logon will be allowed on the phone

Ring Group – Personal and/or Resource phone numbers (maximum 32) are assigned to a Ring Group and the group has its own unique Resource Line Phone number (the pilot number). When someone calls the pilot number, all the phones that are present in the group will ring until the call is answered.

Alternatively, a single phone can ring and if it is not answered, the search continues down the list for the next available member and their phone will ring.

Staff can individually control whether they are present in the Ring Group at any time. It is possible for a member of staff to be included in more than one ring group, although this will require staff training to be successful.

If the call is not answered, the Group can be configured to either keep ringing, play a recorded announcement, or go to a voicemail box. If all members of the Group have made themselves not present, calls will go to the announcement or voicemail immediately.

When members of the group make calls, the calls will display as coming from the phone they are using, not from the Group name or number.

When requesting a Ring Group, you need to specify:


  • A name for the group (This will normally be visible in the phone directory, so needs to be meaningful and unique for the entire campus)
  • The pilot number (if it is an existing published number)
  • The list of Resource and/or Personal numbers that will be members of the Ring Group
  • If all phones should ring or whether the call should ring each phone in turn (search)
  • How long each phone in a search should ring before moving on to the next one (default 5 seconds)
  • If a search should start with the same phone each time (Terminal ring group) or start with the group member after the last one to receive a call (Circular ring group)
  • Whether voicemail is required for the Ring Group
  • How long the call should ring for while waiting to be answered, before going to voicemail (minimum 30 seconds)
  • If voicemail should allow callers to leave messages or only play an Announcement
  • The Resource Email account associated with the Ring Group if voice messages can be left

Hunt Group (no longer used) – Where departments previously used Hunt Groups, they will be configured as Ring Groups on the new system if they are still required.


Call Pickup Group – Existing Personal and/or Resource phone numbers can be assigned to a Pickup Group. Users must have a physical phone handset to use this feature. If another phone in your group is ringing, you can get a visual indication on your handset and easily pick up the call on your phone. There is no separate phone number published for the Pickup Group; it is simply a convenient way to answer another phone.

If a Resource Line Phone is made part of a Pickup Group, then calls to it can be easily answered by other staff in the Pickup Group. Each Personal or Resource phone number can only be in a single pickup group.

If a call to any of the numbers in a Pickup Group is not answered, nothing special will happen to it. It will be answered by voicemail after the normal ringing time (assuming there is voicemail configured on the number dialled).


ACD System

The ACD system offers a range of more advanced call handling facilities than a Ring Group. The annual cost of ACD lines is more expensive than the other types of line.

You might consider ACD lines if any of the following apply:

  • You need to schedule automatic opening and closing of the phone service
  • You wish to answer calls as soon as they are made and play recorded messages to callers while they queue
  • You wish to provide self service choices for callers (press 1 for new bookings, 2 for cancellations, etc)
  • You wish to provide web chat as a contact method, as well as telephone calls
  • You may have a large number staff handling calls simultaneously (more than 30)
  • You wish to monitor live call queues to react to queue times
  • You wish to produce regular reports on items such as call volumes, queueing times and service levels