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During the COVID-19 pandemic, businesses were forced to rely on remote workforces. While some could manage to get their hands on the company’s tools after a period, many couldn’t, and thus certain businesses came to a standstill. The failure to cater to the customer’s needs via call is a major issue for any business – no matter what you sell. Thus, call forwarding comes to play. Be it during the pandemic or after it, call forwarding doesn’t lose its importance at all. Remember, missed calls are missed opportunities, so you need to implement strong call forwarding features to stay ahead.
What is Call Forwarding?
Call forwarding is simply how you transfer your incoming phone call to some other destination. Well, it can be a mobile phone number, a land phone number, a fax machine, a voice mailbox, or anywhere that has a telephonic number. You mostly require to forward calls while you are not at home or office.
For example, if you travel extensively, you will want to pick up the calls that come during that time at your office or home. So you can get those on your mobile instead of your desk.
Imagine you need to answer certain calls but are hesitant to add your personal number on advertisements or the website. In this case, call forwarding is a dandy feature to have.
To avail of the features of call forwarding, you need not be a business professional. Even if you are someone from the marketing industry, availing of such a service wouldn’t be wrong.
Being a marketing individual, you need to come up with different campaigns then and now. To understand the metrics of the campaigns, and make the most out of it – all you need to do is, purchase as many numbers as you would need.
Make sure you are assigning one phone number for each purpose such as – one number for your website, one to include in emails, and different numbers for social media ads.
Once your marketing campaign is over, you can check the call forwarding records and see how many calls you have received on each number. Such a procedure will give you perfect metrics about which part of the campaign needs more focus for the next time.
Why Does Call Forwarding Matter?
Call forwarding brings uniformity in business, especially to businesses that function in various parts of the globe. As you know any incoming call can be directed to any location.
For example, customers from Ohio or Bangladesh can call the same number yet their call gets directed to another place without letting them know that it wasn’t a direct line.
Call forwarding enables small businesses also to have a bug-league phone system. Moreover, they matter because they help in fulfilling the essence of customer service by directing the right call to the right destination, and at the right time. Even, they give the flexibility to filter calls by type, origin, and schedule.
Call Forwarding Lingo
Call forwarding is a little complicated and you should not be confused about the jargons used in this field. To make you familiar with the terms, we plan to discuss “rate centers” and ‘“hunt groups.” So to avoid confusion, read about them!
VoIP stands for Voice over Internet protocol. You might have heard about it before also. Well, it indicates the ability to receive or make calls utilizing the broadband internet connection in opposition to the PSTN or Public Switched Telephone Network.
For example, some of the platforms that use VoIP are Whatsapp, Facebook, Messenger, and Skype. As you make calls from these applications you use WiFi or Cellular data instead of the conventional phone connection.
Though transfer and forward are often used as synonyms, there is a subtle difference between ‘transferring and ‘forwarding’! So, it is better if you don’t use the term transfer while talking about call forwarding.
There are certain problems if you do so. Someone might refer to a forwarded call being transferred from one to another. Even, the one who answers the forwarded call can transfer it to another.
Thus, using transfer would become hectic for you! Use forward instead to avoid mixing.
To say it in a simple way, hunt groups are from where calls are forwarded to multiple numbers from a single number. These calls are also referred to as ‘simultaneous ringing’.
The person who answers the call fast gets the call whereas the ringing stops for others. However, there is a problem regarding these hunt groups. There is a chance that the voicemail can answer the phone.
So, to avoid it, providers have developed a way. They ask the recipient to press a digit to ensure that the call is not going to voicemail.
Queues are similar to hunt groups as they also forward multiple calls from a single number. However, the basic difference is that the hunt groups call all the numbers at a time, but the queue rings a number for a preset time and then moves to the new number.
The calls are even set to ring in a round-robin way to evenly distribute them across groups. However, they are also rung hierarchically. The complexity of queuing varies depending on the size of the business or call center.
To deal with complex settings, contact centers often use ACD or automatic call distributor that utilizes advanced logic to forward calls.
The rate centre is the geographical marker determining the call being local or long-distance. Are you curious about what is local and what is long? Well, the call within the geographical boundaries of the rate centre, between one user to the other is called a local call.
On the contrary, the call between two users from two different areas is termed long-distance calls. For example, if you call your neighbour it won’t be considered as a long-distance call.
Nonetheless, if you are someone under another rate centre, it would be charged as a long-distance call. Though certain exceptions are there; some areas might have more than one rate centre if the geographic area is large.
In that case, your call will be considered a long-distance call. Nevertheless, VoIP calls do not fall under this rule.
You are undoubtedly familiar with the term toll-free numbers. Commonly they are used by the big business firms to aid the long-distance calls for their customers.
Call Forwarding Pros & Cons
- Ensure your customer’s calls get answered.
- Send all calls to the destination number on the first ring.
- No busy signals.
- Forward calls when someone is unavailable to the right person.
- This call forwarding is on by default 24/7 so you do not need to remember to activate it.
- Appeal to communities by setting up phone numbers with local numbers to forward to your business.
- Forgetting to disable call forwarding will lead to calls going to the wrong place.
- Calls ringing on all your devices can make it difficult to ever unplug and disconnect from work.
- If you set the call forwarding after a high number of rings, the caller experience will be less than desirable.
Types of Call Forwarding
Basic Call Forwarding (Forward all incoming calls immediately)
With this call forwarding type, you can turn on and off call forwarding using a special activation and deactivation code. However, make sure you check the key with your service providers, as different providers have different activation and deactivation keys.
You’ll either hear a confirmation tone indicating call forwarding is set or ringing. If you hear ringing, make sure to wait until the line is answered either by a person or a voicemail greeting.
Call Forwarding, No Answer (Forward calls only when I can not answer)
If “call forwarding no answer” is set on the phone line, it will automatically forward to the destination number after a configurable number of rings.
It gives you the option to pick up the call but if you get busy, or unavailable, you can have the calls routed to someone who is always available, for example, your customer service representative.
Busy Call Forwarding (Forward calls when I am on the line)
In case all your lines are in use, going for the particular option seems to be the best. Rather than hearing a busy signal, the caller will automatically forward a call on a busy signal. Soon, the caller will be redirected to the destination.
5 key benefits of call forwarding
- Round-the-Clock Service
The whole world doesn’t sleep at the same time. If your business deals with something that caters to the whole world, then there’s no way it can sleep as well. To make sure that your customers are able to reach you round the clock, availing call forwarding is a must.
- Remote Working Flexibility
Call forwarding has another big benefit: it offers work-from-home flexibility to you and your employees. Not only does working from home benefit workers but it means savings for a business, too. For each employee that works from home, a company can reduce its heating, lighting, electrical and technology costs.
- Increases Your Company’s Reputation
The customers link larger companies with being more professional, so this can definitely work in your favour. If you do opt for the dedicated call forwarding option, you’ll make your business look bigger. About 86% of people are willing to pay more for an enhanced customer service experience.
- Boosts Productivity
With call forwarding, you can take that phone call on the way to a meeting, while you’re traveling for business, or even on your way to your kid’s school play. When you’re tied to your desk waiting for that all-important phone call, the loss of productivity can be frustrating. Forwarding a call can help you cut short the unproductive time you are spending doing nothing.
- Customers Can Talk to Real People in Real-time
The sound of an automated voice on the end of a line can cause a customer to hang up. For happy customers, your reputation for customer service needs to hinge on speaking to a real person in real-time. Call forwarding ensures your customer service team can take calls from anywhere at any time.
Why does your business need call forwarding?
For a business, call forwarding can be highly advantageous. You don’t just get to forward calls to available employees but also to whole departments! Despite the size, strength, or technical proficiency of an organization, the use of call forwarding can effectively streamline business communications.
This can be better understood with the help of an example.
For most business persons, giving out their personal telephone numbers to other parties is not a desirable practice. However, they have to do so because if their main business number remains unavailable, they might end up losing an important client!
It is in situations like these that call forwarding services for businesses can help. You can give out your official number and have the calls forwarded to your number if the former remains unanswered. This way, both your needs for staying connected and maintaining privacy, can be satisfied.
Similarly, call forwarding can be utilized to bring together multiple phones from geographically distant locations. For instance, let us consider that your business operates from four different cities. Even if you have a landline connection in each one of these regions, coordination within the organization and outside it can become increasingly difficult.
Business call forwarding equips you to solve this issue. You can have all your customers call just one number and then reroute the call to a location of your choice. This ability to ring multiple phones with one number can aid your business in instilling a sense of operative synchronicity and transparency.
At present, call forwarding service for businesses has developed into a reasonably standard mechanism that can be easily used to help an organization fulfill its communication objectives. It has moved much beyond being just a peripheral feature.
Now, it is a versatile feature that can employ tools like voicemails, auto-attendants, and call forwarding to multiple phones, to empower your business for gaining a decisive edge over all its competitors.
Urban ladder is a leading e-commerce platform that has been dealing in furniture and home decor items. Not only do they provide free delivery and installation services, but they are also known for doing a great job at taking care of their customers. Nonetheless, around the time of their inception, they were facing a significant hurdle.
They had hired many agents in different regions who were connecting to the customers with their private phone numbers. This didn’t just compromise the agent’s privacy but also blurred the line between professional and personal. Urban Ladder approached a call forwarding service to find a solution.
In other words, a single, customer-facing number was developed, calls on which were automatically forwarded to the different agents on their cell phones. This helped the organization fill a crucial communication gap.
PrintVenue is India’s fastest-growing e-commerce store that sells personalized gifts, corporate cards, stationery, and the like. During its early days, while it was trying to scale up operations, the company wanted to craft a professional image and develop a deep connection with its customers. To do this, they had to ensure that they didn’t miss a single call from their customers.
They availed call forwarding service and made sure that all inbound calls were received without fail and that the customers could be immediately connected to a staff member of their choice. This enhanced the organization’s customer support levels and enabled them to build a good brand image.
Advantages of using call forwarding
For most customers, a telephone call is the first point of contact with a business. This is why it is important to ensure that the customer finds someone to talk to. Call forwarding can ascertain that your interactions remain seamless and your productivity stays high.
If you are still wondering what does call forwarding do and how it can be of assistance to you, let us understand a few of its advantages:
Because someone or the other would always be available, it becomes easier for customers to place their trust in your business. They know that they can reach out to you at any time, without any inhibitions.
Business call forwarding makes your entire staff available to serve the customer’s needs at all times. Even when the personnel is not in the office, important calls can be redirected to their numbers.
For example, you set calls to be directed to your physical office between the times of 8 AM and 6 PM. Set these calls to automatically switch to your mobile or home phone at all other times. It’s even possible to set the system to automatically send inbound calls to your voicemail at certain times, such as during your lunch break or after the workday is complete.
If a business knows exactly how call forwarding works, it can massively expand its reach. Multiple numbers based in different locations can be connected to one central switch, from where all toll-free calls are routed.
For example, a business with locations in Westchester, NY, Columbus, OH, and Saratoga, CA, has their calls all routed to these locations from a single toll-free number. These office locations are also configurable to ring all at once, and when someone picks up, they stop ringing for all. This is a concrete way to manage calls quickly and get customers the timely help they need, even when a branch office closes for the night.
As you can forward calls to multiple phones, your employees do not need to restrict their everyday movement. They can move around on official and unofficial trips without hampering any aspect of their communication.
Installing a call forwarding system is surprisingly quick and cost-effective. No wires, cabling or additional costs have to be incurred. The system can practically be installed with zero downtime.
For example, in foreign, non-English speaking markets, local calls from these remote areas are forwarded directly to your agents with the needed language proficiency. For the caller, there’s no sign that they are reaching your Florida branch office and not an office in their home country.
With a competent business call forwarding feature in your telephony solution, you can quite literally take a step towards ensuring customer satisfaction and business profitability.
5 ways call forwarding makes customer handling easier
- Better efficiency
Well, you can’t answer all the calls that come to you – it’s not humanly possible. Maybe, you are in a meeting or you are on a call with another customer, they may hear a busy tone on the call. However, call forwarding and routing helps to reduce any customer frustration if someone takes their call.
- Round-the-clock Service
Is your business a 24-hour service? Or, do you sell something that requires customers to reach out 24/7? Well, no matter the working hours, there can be a need for 24-hour contact alternatives. The flexibility of call forwarding means that it’s simple to reallocate the number for calls to be forwarded to.
- Satisfied Customers
Missed calls can mean missed sales, an unsatisfied customer, or one who starts considering your competitors. Providing quality customer service is a must for any business.
Setting up good call forwarding can make sure a customer gets to speak to a human agent as quickly as possible. It can also help in encouraging customer loyalty and retention by providing a consistent and reliable service.
- Efficient Employees
This is particularly true if you’re a call centre agent fielding a large number of calls per shift. But those lapses, even if temporary, can lead to a poor customer experience for the caller. However, call forwarding can allow agents a little more breathing space if they need it.
If you can get a good look at when spikes in call volume happen, it can help you plan your inbound call strategy. Spikes in inbound calls can happen for a number of reasons but that doesn’t mean that you have to go on a hiring spree – you can always forward calls. You can even set the system up to direct to a temporary external answering service if you feel it’s needed.
What Are Best Practices for Remote Call Forwarding?
- Create Short IVR Menus
If you get a lot of incoming calls, you probably use IVR menus to find out the reason that the customer is calling before the call is forwarded to another number. In the case of remote companies, the caller can get where they need to go with the first connection that they make.
- Keep Your System Up to Date
Imagine changing the name of the business, then forwarding calls to a number that uses the old name instead of the new one – how confusing will that be. It could make you lose business if they disconnect the call and look for another alternative because they thought that they reached an incorrect number. So, make sure that the IVR system is updated regularly.
- Highlight Your Brand
If calls are being sent to another telephone number using remote call forwarding, you will want to make sure that your brand is still highlighted before the call is answered. However, adding a greeting for your customers with your business name and tagline would ensure the right brand recognition in any case.
- Keep Timeout Values Short
Customers don’t want to wait for 10 rings before the call is forwarded to another remote location, so make sure that your settings give the customer a great impression of how your brand deals with customers. This timeout value needs to be relatively short so that the caller stays on the phone line, and the call is resolved.
The usage of business call forwarding as a medium to improve availability and reach is gaining focus. Being easy to implement and rely on, this feature has empowered many businesses to bolster their customer and client interactions.
The future can bring a lot of uncertainties. To handle these, a number of communication alternatives are likely to spring up. However, it is only safe and viable features like call forwarding, which will be able to help a business provide true value to its customers.