Call parking is a business phone system feature that enables you to put an active call on hold in a virtualized space like the cloud or on an internally hosted server. Then, you can either reconnect to the call using a different device, transfer the call to another agent, or collect more information before assisting the caller. Call parking’s versatility gives your business additional flexibility, helping you deliver high-quality customer experiences with every inbound call.
How to Start Parking Calls
Call parking is a simple feature to activate. For example, most voice-over-internet-protocol (VoIP) desk phones have a preprogrammed “Call Park” button, while your phone system provider’s mobile and desktop apps likely include a call parking option on the active call’s interface.
Here’s what the call parking process looks like:
- An inbound caller dials your number to initiate a call and your agent answers the call.
- At some point during the conversation, your agent presses the “Call Park” button on the desk phone or call application.
- Your caller is transferred to an unused extension, which will often play prerecorded messages or on-hold music.
- Your agent either decides to answer the call on a different device, wait for another agent to continue the conversation, or collects their thoughts or more information before continuing.
- Your agent retrieves the parked call by dialing the extension number to continue the conversation.
How Call Parking Steps Differ by Provider
Call parking functionality and execution differs by provider. Some providers offer more advanced call parking features like on-hold music and prerecorded messages while others simply place a parked call into a waiting room.
Here are a few popular business phone systems and how they provide call parking:
RingCentral’s pricing plans include 50 parking spots for inbound and outbound calls. If a parked call goes unanswered for more than 5 minutes, the system rings agents to remind them of the parked call.
You can also set security preferences to create private call park locations. Private locations are only visible to users with the right administrative permissions, ensuring only authorized users can pick up the call. This is an excellent feature for protecting conversations with high-paying or elite customers.
With Grasshopper’s business phone number service, account admins enable call blasting, a feature that rings all available forwarding numbers simultaneously until a parked call gets answered. You can also customize your call parking experience with custom music or recorded messages, helping keep your customers engaged while they wait.
How Call Parking Works
Call parking isn’t highly advanced or revolutionary, but it still has great benefits for your business. Being able to switch devices midcall or temporarily park a call while you wait for another agent helps lead to better customer experiences—and better customer experiences will directly impact your bottom line.
When you park a call, you’re essentially transferring the call to an unused extension. This unused extension plays on-hold music or recorded messages while the customer waits. When an agent dials the parked extension to retrieve the call, their line is connected, and they can continue the conversation.
Types of Call Parking
Not every parked call acts exactly the same. Some providers offer varying levels of functionality that impact both the agent and the customer experience. Here are descriptions of three types of call parking:
- Simple call parking: Park an active call in a virtual parking spot until the call can be retrieved.
- Advanced call parking: Park an active call in a virtual parking spot with on-hold music or recorded messages playing to keep the caller engaged.
- Private location call parking: You can assign sensitive calls to private parked locations to ensure only permissioned users can see or retrieve the calls.
Call Parking Best Practices
While call parking is a powerful feature for businesses and contact centers, there are wrong and right ways to use it. Here are the best practices you should keep in mind when deciding whether to park a call.
When to Park a Call
- If you need to switch devices
- When you need time to gather more information before continuing the call
- When you need time to collect yourself before continuing a conversation
- If you are currently unavailable and want to give another agent the opportunity to answer the call
- If the appropriate agent’s extension is busy and you want to give them time to wrap up their current call
When Not to Park a Call
- If you’d like to continue the call and don’t want to risk another agent picking up the call
- If your provider doesn’t have permission-based settings and you don’t want an unqualified agent retrieving the call
- When there are already too many parked calls not getting answered
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What’s the difference between parking a call, transferring a call, and holding a call?
Transferring a call automatically begins redirecting the call, whether the agent is available or not. Putting a call on hold doesn’t place the call in the cloud, so your agent has to take the call off hold on the same account and device. Call parking lets you or another agent continue the conversation whenever you’re ready, on the same device or from another device.
Why would you want to park a call?
Parking a call adds flexibility to how you handle caller experiences. If you need to leave the office, you might park the call while you get out the door and onto your mobile phone. If another agent is more equipped to handle the call but is currently unavailable, you may park the call while they finish up their conversation.
How long does a call stay parked?
Parked calls usually remain on hold for up to 5 minutes. After that, the parked call will begin ringing forwarded extensions or ring the original phone number again to ensure someone picks up the call. Check your provider’s settings to see how you can adjust call parking rules to your preferences.
What’s the virtual parking experience like for customers?
The call parking experience differs by provider. Some providers, like RingCentral and Grasshopper, provide waiting rooms with music or recorded messages. Other providers may play default music or ambient noise while customers wait.
Call parking is a must-have business phone system feature, regardless of if you’re a team of one or a team of 100. Parking gives you more flexibility than transferring or holding a call by enabling you or another agent to pick up the call on a different line or device. This additional flexibility improves your ability to provide top-notch customer support for every caller.
If you’d like to add call parking to your phone system’s repertoire, give RingCentral a try. RingCentral’s call parking functionality gives you the most flexibility, allowing you to add music, recorded messages, and even permission-based virtual parking spots.