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What’s the Difference Between ACD Queues and Hunt Groups?

Following our recent addition of the all new ACD Queues on Dash, we’ve been getting some increased interest in how businesses can benefit from them. In some cases, those companies have been waiting their entire existence for the sleek and reliable call management that comes from the all-new ACD Queues on Dash, but for others, there has always existed an even more appropriate solution. Ring Groups, also commonly called Hunt Groups, are an alternative option to using a full call queue system like the ACD Queues on Dash that offer plenty of similarities and advantages for the right business over their more enterprising big brother. What else makes them attractive to some businesses is that Ring Groups are already an included feature in all Dash Basic, Pro, and Unlimited Plans. To help companies decide which departmental queue system to use for their business, we have the following comparison of the difference between ACD Queues and Hunt Groups.

VirtualPBX Announces New Call Queues for Dash Business VoIP

What are ACD Queues and Hunt Groups?

To begin outlining the difference between ACD Queues and Hunt Groups, it’s best to make clear the basic function of each. Ultimately, businesses with a growing call volume found it was best to provide easy channels to drive inbound callers to the appropriate parties separated by their needs and the directed to the relevant departments. This is also where the term, “Departmental Queues,” comes from as queuing systems are generally divided along departmental and job-function lines. Early queuing systems provided by legacy telephone companies over copper wires required truly massive footprints to house expensive on-site hardware and were prohibitively costly for all but the wealthiest of businesses. As hosted telecom and VoIP platforms like the modern day Dash Plans began to replicate and improve on call queues, the technology began to become far more widely available to businesses. Along the way, though, and before products like the all-new ACD Queues on Dash were made available, there existed a clever alternative called Hunt Groups, or on Dash as they are still known, Ring Groups. Though the two technologies serve to answer the same general needs for businesses, they go about it differently and have their own strengths.

So What’s the Difference Between ACD Queues and Hunt Groups?

Ahh, yes, the million dollar question. Below we’ll address some of the key differentiations between Ring Groups and ACD Queues and then you should have the information you need to determine which technology is right for your business.

  • Complexity The core variation between the two technologies boils down to their vastly different complexity. Ultimately, Ring Groups are just a collection of extensions that a user selects to represent any given department or queue but remain static until the admin makes any changes. ACD Queues are dynamic lists of agents that can surge and act as backfill automatically per a predetermined hierarchy that admins can adjust as calls are being received. And because business can change on a dime, this means that ACD Queues are designed to react and adjust as call volumes spike proactively, and not necessarily require that an admin make those adjustments for the system.
  • Customization A simple Ring Group can be made as elaborate as the user wants, but the number of options on how to do that is relatively limited. If there is a small organization and everyone shares roughly the same tribal knowledge and autonomy to serve customers, then they all could really be included in each one of the department queues a caller can choose from. From larger organizations where the skills and knowledge base is far more specialized and segmented, the departmental (and therefore the queuing) divisions are much clearer. However, because some departments will have more insight into others than just their own, they can be assigned to serve as backups to any particular queues. For example, Accounts Payable can field calls for Accounts Receivable and vice versa and perhaps Sales will be able to pitch in if Marketing is swamped, as well.
  • Management From a people management standpoint, this is where ACD Queues are head and shoulders above Ring Groups. Admins can use any number of ranking systems to assign to their agents from how skilled they are, how tenured (meaning newer trainees can be given lighter call loads), and of course their skillsets or specialties. Also, ACD Queues allow for custom wrap-up times following calls for agents to properly annotate accounts and prepare for new calls along with a host of other options that all allow for equal and even call distribution among agents. Ring Groups do not have these advanced options available.
  • Distribution Combining all of the above comparisons leads to this next key differentiator. Whereas ACD Queues offer a multitude of options on how a queue’s traffic will be divided among that department’s agents, the same cannot be said for Ring Groups. Ring Groups, instead, simply ring all members of a group simultaneously until one of them answers the call. In a small office, this can be just a small consideration, but as organizations grow, they often find that the surgical assignment of individual calls to specific agents to be a more effective and efficient method of handling inbound callers.
  • Mobility One good thing about both systems is that, because they each operate on the award-winning cloud-based Dash platform, they each enjoy mobility benefits like no other system. All of the respective functions, reporting, analytics, and customizations for Ring Groups and ACD Queues can be accessed and managed from the palm of one’s hand anywhere there is a data or internet connection. This type of physical freedom has opened the doors to a new breed of call center that is completely decentralized and one that accommodates the popularization of the remote workforce.
  • Cost One of the other clear distinctions of Ring Groups and ACD Queues on Dash is the cost of each approach. Ring Groups are included in Dash Plans as just one of dozens of advanced features whereas ACD Queues are a premium feature not unlike Salesforce CRM or Webhooks Integrations that also come as an available option to businesses. Whichever direction a company chooses to go, however, it is abundantly clear that each of these options is wildly more flexible and affordable than anything offered by an on-site telephone option.

Get Started With Better Call Routing

Another similarity that both Ring Groups and ACD Queues on Dash have is that getting started with either is as simple as 1-2-3. In most cases, new users of Dash can be up and running and actually making and receiving phone calls in as little as 5 minutes. Simple head to the Dash Plans page, pick the one that works best for your budget, and you’re off and running. Also, we’re around 24/7 so you can always contact one of our expert Support Staff or even find on social media at our Twitter or Facebook accounts. No matter how you decide to reach out, though, we’ll be happy to help you answer any other questions you may have about the difference between ACD Queues and Hunt Groups, and which will be the right strategy for you and your business.