Modern hosted VoIP telephony systems offer a large number of innovating features. This blog article looks at the call forwarding functions that are often either under exploited or very little known.
Popular Call Forwarding Features
We speak of call forwarding functions, plural, as there are many different variations.
The two best-known ones are assuredly call forwarding on a busy signal and on no answer. Most users will choose to set this forwarding to voice mail; remember that forwarding to an assistant or another colleague is also an option.
A third popular forwarding option but not often used is the permanent (or forced) call forwarding. This forces all calls to voice mail – or to another colleague. This forwarding option is well suited for meetings (to voice mail?), when on vacation (to another colleague?) or … when writing this blog post and we do not want to be disturbed :-).
Call Forwarding as a Business Continuity Plan
A fourth type of call forwarding is the non-reachable call forwarding. It is less known but quite handy as well. By “non-reachable” we do not speak of a person’s reachability at his or her extension, but rather the physical reachability of the IP phone itself. Take the cases of a power outage, an Internet downtime or simply an unexpected disconnect of the phone from its wall plug.
In each of these use cases, the phone set is considered as unreachable by IP4B’s hosted IP telephony system. For such cases, it is possible to program in advance an automatic call forward to an alternate phone number; for these situations we often recommend using the user’s cell phone number.
It is thus super useful to put in place a quite simple business continuity plan in order to never miss any incoming calls even in downtime.
Business Rules Driven Call Forwarding
While on the subject of “not well known but super useful” call forwarding methods, there exist the selective (or conditional) call forwarding. This is used to forward calls according to days of the week, time of the day, calling number or other criteria.
Imagine that you hold a recurring weekly meeting on Mondays from 10a.m. to noon. Think of setting up a business rule to forward all calls to voice mail for that period (or to a colleague) with the exception of calls from your boss should she want to urgently talk to you!
The Best Call Forward That There Is?
One last call forwarding of interest, and maybe the best of them all, is known as “find me / follow me”, also called “twinning”. As with non-reachable call forwarding, the idea is to pair (or “to twin”) a mobile phone number with a hosted IP telephony extension. In this way, if you do not answer your main IP extension, the IP4B telephony system will attempt to find you (and follow you) on your mobile phone. It is only then if you do not answer that second call that your voicemail will greet callers (if, of course, this is how you have set up your call forwarding on no answer as discussed before).
The “find me / follow me” call forwarding is super useful in order to never miss a call and to provide your customers with an exceptional service level. This type of call forwarding acts as a protection against Murphy’s Law, which states that anything that can go wrong will go wrong. Isn’t always the case that whenever you go to the coffee machine for a refill you then receive the most important call of the day? The “find me / follow me” call forwarding empowers you to always “answer the call of duty”.
We discussed six different call forwarding functions: call forwarding on busy, on no-answer, permanent (or forced) call forwarding, non-reachable call forwarding, business rule driven and “find me / follow me” call forwarding.
Each type of call forwarding has different purposes and use and each should be programmed for your organization. To assist you with setting up call forwarding, we invite you to visit IP4B’s YouTube channel to view instructional videos.
You may also contact our professional services group to help streamlining the best call forwarding strategies to increase your organization’s productivity.