How to Use Call Transfer & Effective Routing Techniques
This article is part of a larger series on VoIP.
A call transfer is a business phone feature that allows you to move an incoming or live call from one recipient to another. Users can easily implement call transfers on voice-over-internet protocol (VoIP)-enabled devices through soft key or app button press, or by using touch-tone commands on traditional devices. There are also four different techniques: warm, cold, voicemail, and hold queue, which influence how business calls are transferred.
How to Transfer Calls by Phone System
Initiating call transfers depend on the call management systems you are currently using. There are three types of call transfer systems that you can choose from: VoIP, virtual phone, and standard public switched telephone networks (PSTN) landlines.
Find out below how to transfer calls depending on the type of system you are using:
VoIP systems provide great flexibility in functionalities and access. As agents aren’t tied to a single location with these cloud-based solutions, the possibility of reducing voicemail transfers is high, given that more agents can be available from anywhere. Call transfers in VoIP systems are usually done through a desk phone or a web or mobile application.
Let’s take a look at one of the leading VoIP providers, RingCentral, which stands out for its comprehensive set of features for businesses of all sizes. It also offers scalable plans that grow with you as your company grows.
RingCentral lets you forward calls through desk phones and desktop and mobile apps. Let’s take a closer look at each:
Through RingCentral Desk Phone
There are two ways to transfer calls from a RingCentral desk phone: through a soft key and touch-tone commands.
Transferring Calls From a Desk Phone Through a Soft Key
To begin the process, press the designated soft key labeled “transfer” or “trans.” Users can press the “blind” key when it appears. To initiate a cold transfer, dial the phone number or extension of the destination agent.
To perform a warm transfer, users must simply skip pressing the blind key and go straight to pressing the recipient’s phone number or extension. Meanwhile, if you want to direct the caller to the recipient’s voicemail inbox, even if he or she is available, just press *0 before the number or extension.
Transferring Calls From a Desk Phone Through Touch-tone Commands
Another way is through touch-tone commands if the desk phone doesn’t have soft keys for call transfers. To send a call to another extension in your account, double-press the hash or pound (##) to place your caller on hold, and then dial the recipient’s extension number. If you want to perform a warm transfer, just press the star (*) key first before dialing the extension.
To transfer a call to a different phone number, press the hash or pound key twice (##) to place the caller on hold, and then press the star (*) key to access other options. You may hear a prompt specifying that pressing 1 initiates a call transfer. Press 1, enter the phone number, and dial the hash or pound (#) key to complete the process.
Through RingCentral Softphone for Desktop
Softphone systems typically have a very straightforward and easy-to-use interface. Once you’re in a call, you can choose actions from displayed options, such as mute, record, place the call on hold, or transfer.
Forwarding calls to another agent is as easy as pressing the transfer button and then dialing the phone number or extension. RingCentral also offers a submenu for the types of transfer, including blind, warm, or voicemail.
Through RingCentral Mobile App
The call transfer process on the RingCentral mobile app—compatible with both Android and iOS—is similar. It starts with tapping the “Call Actions” button and then “Transfer.” A list of contacts will appear where you can select your preferred agent or use the dialer. For a cold transfer, select “Transfer Now.”
If you wish to perform a warm one, select “Ask First.” Lastly, if you need to direct the caller to the recipient’s voicemail inbox, then press “To Voicemail.”
Using a Virtual Phone Number
Virtual phone services, like Grasshopper, allow dialing exclusively through its software. Unlike standard VoIP providers, such as RingCentral, users cannot use a desk phone to manage calls. Let’s discuss how to transfer calls with Grasshopper below.
Call Transfers With Grasshopper
You can transfer calls on Grasshopper through its “Transfer Call” button on its desktop app or by dialing the pound or hash (##) key twice on the mobile app. Regardless of the device you are using, you’ll just have to input the extension followed by the pound key. To transfer an incoming Grasshopper call to an external number, you need to enable the virtual calling card feature—available in all plans.
If call transfers are set up on your PSTN landline, initiating them is a breeze. You can either use a switchhook flash—a device or lever that lets you access a secondary dial tone while on a call—or by dialing the pound (##) button twice.
After doing any of the two ways mentioned, you’ll hear a stutter dial tone, indicating that you can make a second call to another person. You can then dial the number of the call’s destination. When using a switchhook flash, you need to press it again to connect the two calls.
Call Transfer Routing Techniques & When to Use Them
The different types of call transfers are essential tools to streamline your customer service operations. It helps you ensure that your customers will be directed to the most appropriate agent to address their needs, especially when your business handles a high volume of calls.
Call Transfer Technique
This feature places the customer on hold while the first agent updates the new recipient with the caller’s information.
This type transfers calls to another agent without any preparation, and calls will be treated fresh by the next agent.
This transfer forwards callers straight to voicemail when the intended second agent is unavailable.
This option lets first recipients transfer the caller to another agent’s hold queue, where they wait for their turn to be attended to.
All providers in our list of the best business phone systems come with one or multiple types of call transfer. Moreover, it works best with other top VoIP phone features, like music on hold.
By correctly setting up your call transferring capabilities, your customers may get the help they need faster—helping you gain or retain customers. However, if you aren’t setting up your call flows correctly, you are prone to long waiting times, driving your customers to hang up. This is why it is important to understand the different types of call transfers and when to use each strategy, in addition to how to do it with hardware or software technology.
A warm transfer, also known as an attended or consultative transfer, places the customer on hold while you forward the call to a more qualified agent. It is a more organized process: the first recipient updates the second agent with the gathered information during the call hold. Once data is shared and the call is transferred, the original recipient can then hang up the phone.
Warm transfers have a variety of advantages, including:
- You can confirm if the intended agent is available and ready to take the call.
- If the intended agent is unavailable, you can then decide to either forward the caller to the recipient’s voicemail or to another person in the same department.
- The second recipient is more prepared to deal with the customer’s needs with the first agent’s shared information. It also enables them to provide a more customized experience to the caller for a more pleasant experience.
The disadvantage to this feature is that it exposes the caller to a wait time, which a lot of customers dislike.
Cold transfers pass callers to another agent without the first recipient speaking to them first. These are also called blind transfers because the caller isn’t informed that the call is being sent to another person.
Since there is no preparation, unlike warm transfers, the recipient of the call has limited information about the customer’s needs. It may take a bit more time to collect the essential details, and the call will be treated fresh.
While warm transfers seem more appealing at most times, cold transfers work best when a caller doesn’t need a specific agent to resolve their issues. For example, if a customer just needs to talk to any sales representative to discuss packages, you can transfer the call to anyone in the sales department. This way, you are eliminating wait times while still ensuring that the destination agent is capable of answering their inquiries.
Voicemail transfers take place when the intended second agent is unavailable, and calls are forwarded straight to their voicemail. Note that some customers dislike being sent to voicemail. However, those who want a step further into resolving their issues are glad to record voicemail messages to the agents.
Hold Queue Transfers
You can also place your caller in another agent’s queue. While this type of transfer ensures that you are matching your customers with the most appropriate agent, it also comes with a potentially long wait time, depending on how many people are in the queue.
Why It’s Important to Train Teams on Call Transfer Techniques
By transferring customers to the wrong department, you are exposing them to longer wait times, potentially resulting in losing them. According to Accenture’s report, 81% of consumers find it frustrating when it is difficult to transact with businesses. Moreover, 73% are expecting customer support to be more convenient, while 61% wish for it to be faster.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQS)
Can you transfer a call to your other devices?
Yes, and this feature is known as call flipping, pushing, or pulling. This capability is beneficial for agents on the go or those who utilize multiple devices. You can switch devices, depending on which is best to use at the time. For example, if your smartphone has a poor connection or runs low on battery, you can transfer the call to your IP phone without the customer knowing it.
What other call transfer settings ensure a great customer experience?
Apart from knowing when to use the different types of call transfers, you should also consider other factors of the process, such as hold music, customized greetings, or call transfer spiels. Some businesses play catchy audio that advertises some of their products, while others play entertaining music.
These parts of the process shouldn’t be ignored as they contribute to the experience of the customers, which can affect their decision in either waiting or dropping the call.
Can I use my contact list in selecting the recipients of the call?
In most VoIP providers, yes. It depends on your provider, but some, including RingCentral, allow you to quickly access contacts on your desktop or mobile device. A lot of systems also include a search tool that lets you easily transfer calls using names or numbers.
Call transfer features keep evolving, and now, your customers won’t even be notified that you are being sent from one line to another. You can also configure your call routing system to forward your callers without dropping the line. These capabilities are now essential in handling high call volumes to ensure that wait times are kept at a minimum.
While various systems and technologies are available today, you must ensure that your business knows how to optimize these tools for efficient call flows. Not only does it save agents’ and customers’ time, but it also enhances customer experience, leading them to keep coming back to do business with you.