Call parking is a popular feature found in phone systems that enables you to place an active call on hold that you can then continue on another phone extension. Whether you need to switch devices, transfer the call to another busy employee, or give yourself a little time before answering, call parking provides the flexibility your business needs to deliver top-notch customer engagement.
How Call Parking Works
Call parking is one of the more helpful voice-over-internet-protocol (VoIP) system features for call center environments. It serves as a virtual waiting room or a temporary lobby your customers can wait in while you work behind the scenes to establish the best customer engagement experience before picking up the call.
Here’s how it works:
- Your customer dials your number and initiates an active call.
- You park the call in a virtual parking lot by using the button on your phone system’s desk phone or softphone.
- Your customer waits in the virtual parking lot while you switch devices, coordinate with another employee before transferring, or finish last-minute business before continuing the call.
- You or another employee unlocks the parked call and continues the conversation with your customer.
Like with a physical parking lot, most business phone systems provide a fixed number of call parking spots. Each one of these spots has a unique identifier to help you easily find the call you’re trying to connect to.
Call Parking Providers
Whether you’re using a cloud-based VoIP provider or a traditional, hardwired PBX system, call parking is a fundamental feature you’ll find on most business phone systems’ basic or free plans.
However, some providers deliver better call parking experiences with additional parking spaces, extension-specific routing, and high-quality virtual parking lots. Below are three of the top call parking providers.
RingCentral is a cloud-based VoIP provider that delivers robust call management features, unified communication capabilities, and extensive third-party integrations. Pricing plans start at $29.99 per user, per month, and every tier includes 50 parking spots for both inbound and outbound calls. Unanswered parked calls will ring back every five minutes to ensure your callers don’t go forgotten.
RingCentral’s call parking also includes security features that enable you to create private park locations. This makes these calls visible to only a select group of individuals, ensuring only authorized users pick up the call.
Nextiva is a unified communication as a service (UCaaS) phone system that powers customer engagement with voice, video, fax, text, business messaging, and more. Plans start at $21.95 per user, per month and include call parking. Parking and retrieving calls is easy, and you can even park calls at a specific extension (or group extension) to guarantee your customers end up in the right hands.
Grasshopper is a basic business phone number service that (unlike more robust business phone systems) provides call management essentials without requiring you to install equipment. Its easy-to-use phone system includes a call parking feature that also includes a few helpful finishing touches. “Call blasting,” for example, rings all your available forwarding numbers simultaneously so that your parked calls get answered quicker.
You can also customize your virtual parking lot with music (your own uploaded tunes) or recorded messages to keep your customers entertained and informed while they wait. Plans start at $29 per month and include call parking and all Grasshopper features.
Types of Call Parking
Not all business phone systems provide the same level of functionality when it comes to call parking. Some provide simple call parking, while others offer advanced call parking. The differences between these features are:
- Simple: Simple call parking enables you to park an active call and then continue that call by connecting to the virtual parking spot.
- Advanced: Advanced call parking enables you to park active calls at specific extensions or create private parked locations that only authorized users can see and access.
Call Parking Pros & Cons
Call Parking Pros
Call Parking Cons
Receive inbound calls without making your customers hear the busy tone or leave a voicemail
Forgetting to route the call or retrieve the parked call could lead to call parking purgatory for your customers
Improve customer satisfaction by decreasing wait times and transferring customers to the right people
Security and sensitive information could be compromised if the wrong party continues the parked call
Provide professional call experiences by eliminating the need to call back on a different device or asking customers to dial a different number
Unnecessary feature if you have a small team or receive a limited number of calls each day
Call Parking Alternatives
While most business phone systems provide a call parking feature, it’s not a staple. However, if your provider doesn’t offer call parking, there’s a good chance they provide an effective alternative.
Calls are routed to another phone extension. Unfortunately, if the desired party isn’t available and doesn’t pick up, the phone will continue to ring, or the customer will be forced to leave a voicemail or call back later.
Like parking, active calls can be put on hold. However, a simple call hold will not allow you to switch devices or route the call to another extension, like with parking.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
How long does a call stay parked?
Most parked calls will remain on hold for five minutes. After that, the parked call will continue to ping forwarded extensions or re-call the original phone number. Individual call parking settings vary based on providers.
What’s the difference between parking, transferring & holding?
Parking allows you to put a call on hold and answer it on another device or forward it to another extension. Transferring the call bypasses the waiting room and automatically begins calling the extension, even if they’re unavailable or currently on another call. Holding the call puts the caller into a waiting room, but that call can only be continued on the same device.
What is call retrieve?
Call retrieve is the act of resuming a call by pressing the unpark button or dialing the virtual parking space extension.
What’s the virtual parking experience like for customers?
Experiences differ depending on providers. Some providers, like RingCentral and Grasshopper, allow you to customize the waiting room with music and recorded messages, while others will play default music or ambient noise.
Call parking may be simple, but it’s an easy way to guarantee top-notch phone experiences for your customers. Parking goes above and beyond transferring and holding by enabling you or your employees to pick up the call on your own terms. This allows you to provide better customer support for each and every customer.