Set up Ring Groups
Ring groups allow incoming calls to be distributed efficiently among a group of users and throughout a business. A Ring group allows you to have multiple phones ring when one extension or number is dialed. It is a great way for a business to share the distribution of incoming calls among employees. It is often used to efficiently distribute calls within specific departments such as Sales, Customer Support and Accounting. You can have all the phones in a ring group ring at once or set up a “round robin” approach where the extensions in the group ring in a specific order until the call is answered.
Ring groups allow your employees to be more productive and help decrease customer hold time. If all of the users assigned to a ring group are unavailable, you have forwarding options such as routing the call to the ring group’s voicemail or transferring the call to another extension.
- Allocate multiple phone numbers to a ring group.
- Choose from a variety of ring patterns: Cyclic, Cyclic Repetitive, and Simultaneous.
- Forward calls to voicemail, a user, a call queue, a ring group, or an external number when no users are available.
- Allow user access to ring group voicemail; users must dial <555> from their assigned number, or <500> from any other phone in the phone system.
- Reorder members easily by dragging and dropping them in the list.
- Play audio (a message or music) for callers as they wait to be served.
- Define the total time to alert a member before a call goes to the next member, or the no-answer call forwarding rule applies.
Here are some examples of how a business can use ring groups:
- Small business with four employees: Set up a ring group to include all four employees. When a call comes in, you could have all four phones ring simultaneously so whoever picks up first takes the call. Otherwise, you can set up the ring group so the phones ring in a specific order to better distribute the workload.
- Larger business: Set up a ring group for your sales team. When a call comes in to your Sales number, you can set it up to ring the sales representatives in a certain order so they each get a turn to answer incoming calls. Otherwise, you can set it up so all the phones in the group ring simultaneously; whoever answers the phone fastest gets the sale!
- Multiple Departments: If you have multiple departments in your company, use ring groups to simplify transferring calls. Set up ring groups for Sales, Technical Support, Shipping, etc. Then you can either set up your auto attendant to route calls to these ring groups (for example, "Press 1 for Sales, Press 2 for Technical Support, etc..."), or you can have the receptionist transfer live calls to the appropriate ring group instead of calling multiple extensions to find a live person to take the call.
Ring groups offer inbound calls to group members by ringing their phones extension-to-extension in succession, in a specific order, or simultaneously:
- Round Robin (Cyclic Pattern): Also known as rollover. A cyclic pattern allows an equal distribution of calls, making sure all extensions in the ring group assist in answering the calls. You can set the number of times the call cycles through the extensions before going to voicemail.
For example, in a four-line ring group, the first call rings John (no answer), Lisa (no answer), Rob (answered). The second call rings Andy (no answer), then John (answered).
- Sequential (Cyclic Repetitive): Allows calls to be distributed among all users in the group in the same order that the users are listed in the group. Each new call starts at the first user. You can set the number of times the call cycles through the users before going to voicemail or next destination.
For example, in a three-line ring group, the first call rings John (no answer), then Lisa (answered). The second call rings John (answered). The third call rings John (no answer), Lisa (no answer), then Rob (answered).
- Simultaneous Ring: Ensures that all extensions in the group ring when a call is received. The first extension to pick up the phone answers the call.
The following diagram is an example of a cyclic ring pattern. For a four-line ring group, the first call rings John (no answer), then rings Lisa (no answer), and then goes to Rob (answered). The second call is offered to Lisa first, then goes to Rob and Andy if it is not answered.
Ring groups allow your employees to be more productive and help decrease customer hold time. A ring group allows you to direct a call to multiple users instead of a single user. For example, if your company's billing department experiences a high call volume, you can create a ring group containing all billing representatives, and forward the call to the ring group. When customers call, the call is offered to the entire group (rather than a single representative), decreasing customer hold time. If none of the users assigned to a ring group are available, you can use call forwarding options to send the calls to the ring group’s voicemail, another extension, or your auto attendant.
To set up a ring group, you need a name, a site, and a dedicated extension number. Select a ring group caller ID for your callers, choose a ring pattern, set up a voicemail password for users to check the ring group messages, select the audio to play for callers, and set up rules to forward the calls when needed.
To set up a ring group:
- Go to Home > Work Groups > Ring Groups, then click + Create Ring Group.
- Enter the Basic information, such as group name, site, phone numbers, and extension number. You can select one or more phone numbers from the available numbers. When setting up a ring group, the available phone numbers appear in the phone numbers list. You may need to claim more numbers if you do not have any numbers to assign.
- Select an Extension Number for the ring group.
- Click to enable Display Ring Group in company directory. The ring group's name and extension number appears in the company directory.
- Select the Ring Group Caller ID and choose how you want your incoming calls to be displayed for this ring group. The caller ID can be a group name and number, a caller's name and number, or a group name and extension. The default setting is Ring Group Name and Ring Group Extension.
- If you select a Ring Pattern, you must also enter the number of Cycles before the calls are routed to voicemail. Simultaneous Ring automatically selects one cycle. See what is the right ring pattern for you.
- Enter the Total time to alert a member. This value defines how long an incoming call should ring before moving to the next member, or to a call forwarding rule. Each member gets 15 seconds by default that is equal to three rings. The maximum alert time is 180 seconds.
- Enter the number of times calls will cycle through before being forwarded. The valid range is 1-20. Let's say you enter a value of 3, an incoming call to the ring group cycles three times, if not accepted, gets forwarded.
- Enable Notify members even if busy. This option notifies the ring group members that there is another incoming call, even if the member is busy.
- Select a Ring Back music file to play music or a message for callers while they wait to be served. The default audio file will be used if you do not select a music of your choice. Click Change to access the audio files library. For details, see our content on Manage audio files library.
Ring Back music functions in the same way as Music On Hold. When you select Ring Back music, a continuous ring back plays by default.
- Scroll down to add Members. The left-side navigation menu allows you to jump to the desired section quickly without having to scroll multiple screens. You must have at least one member in your ring group. You can search and find users by their first name, last name, or email ID. You can select members from all sites within the same phone system (PBX). You can change the order of members in the group by dragging and dropping them. The order of members in sequential pattern determines who gets the new call first. See Sequential (Cyclic Repetitive) ring pattern.
- In Voicemail Settings, set up the following options:
- External voicemail greeting: Greeting played for people outside the company. In the absence of a custom external voicemail greeting, the default audio greeting is played.
- Internal voicemail greeting: Greeting played for people inside the company. In the absence of a custom internal voicemail greeting, the default audio greeting is played.
- Voicemail password: Set up the password for the ring group’s voicemail. The members need the password to access the queue's voicemail. The password is numeric-only, and must contain 6 to 15 non-sequential digits. You can direct calls to the ring group's voicemail by editing the call forwarding settings. To access the voicemail messages, from any extension in your 8x8 system, dial 500. See our FAQ question: How do I access my ring group voicemail?
- Set up Call Forwarding rules for the ring group when the Internet connection is down, all members are busy, or no one in the ring group answers. To edit the call forwarding rules, while editing a ring group, go to Ring Group > Call Forwarding and click next to a rule. You can forward the calls to a voicemail, a user or service, or do not forward any calls. The callers only hear a ring tone. See FAQ: How do I access the ring group voicemail?
- Click Save. The new ring group is added to your ring group list. Scroll down or navigate to see additional results.
You can quickly check a ring group's information by opening the ring group's Info Panel.
To view ring group's Summary information:
Refer to the following frequently-asked questions for more information:
No; you need to contact your administrator to reset the ring group voicemail password.
- To edit a ring group, go to Home > Work Groups > Ring Groups and click next to the desired ring group.
- To delete a ring group, go to Home > Work Groups > Ring Groups and click next to the desired ring group.
- While creating or editing a ring group, scroll down to Ring Back music, and click Change File.
- In the window that opens, click + Create Audio Files. You can either upload an existing file, or provide a phone number for the system to make a call to. The system calls your number and prompts you to record a new audio file.
- Drag and drop your audio file, or click to browse your file directory. The supported file formats are AU, WAV, and MP3. The files must be 5MB or smaller in size.
- Click Save. The audio file is uploaded to the ring group.
Play the file and verify that it is correct. You can determine the speed at which the audio plays by choosing 0.5x, 1x, and 2x from the menu.
No; once you are selected as a member by the administrator, you cannot log in or log out from a ring group. The incoming calls to the ring group are offered to you.
- From any extension in your 8x8 system, dial 500.
- Enter the Ring Group extension number, and press <#>.
- Enter the Ring Group voicemail password, and press <#>.
- From the Main Menu:
- Press 1 to listen to your messages.
- Press 2 to change your greeting.
- Press 3 to manage user preference options: change voicemail password, call waiting preferences, busy handling, ring no answer handling, Internet outage routing, and email notification preferences.
- Press 4 to establish or change call forwarding rules. Options include: listen to, set, change, or cancel call forwarding rules.
- Press 5 to set a specific greeting for business hours, after business hours, lunch time, meeting, weekend, and vacation.
- Press 6 to enable or disable Announcement Only mode (e.g., your vacation greeting).
- Press 9 to exit voicemail.
While editing a ring group, scroll down to Voicemail, and click Reset Password. Enter a new password. It must contain 6 to 15 non-sequential digits, and Save. An email with the new password is sent to the ring group members.
If a call comes in to a ring group and is answered by another member of the group, it appears as a missed call for other members of the group.
If your phone does not ring on incoming calls to a ring group, one of these reasons may apply: call forwarding rule(s) are enabled, the Do Not Disturb (DND) status is enabled, the device is offline, or the ring group settings are not valid.
While creating or editing a ring group, scroll down to Members. Click next to the desired user, and select Enable voicemail access or Disable voicemail access from the menu.
While editing a ring group, scroll down to Members. Click the bar to the left of the desired user, and move it up or down to change the order of the members in the group. For example, if you have moved John to the top of the list above Lisa and Rob, and selected Sequential (Cyclic Repetitive) call pattern, a call is always offered to John first, Lisa second, and Rob third.
While editing a ring group, go to Ring Back Music and click Change File. Click next to the audio file that you like to delete. If you do not choose another audio file before deleting the currently selected audio file, the default audio file is selected. The audio files repository is also accessible from Users, Auto Attendant, and Call Queue edit pages.