Call transfer is a type of call handling and an integral part of any phone system. This capability allows you to forward calls to different extensions or departments to route callers to the party that they are trying to reach. However, the process of transferring a call will vary depending on the kind of phone system or device you are using.
The steps below will explain methods for transferring calls using the most common kinds of business phone systems.
SIP or VoIP Services
Session-initiated protocol (SIP) and voice-over-internet-protocol (VoIP) business phone systems have grown in popularity in recent years due in part to their lower costs compared to traditional landline systems. However, these systems also offer enhanced call management features that can be accessed using either the service’s app or with a desk phone. In addition to making it easy to transfer calls to other extensions, these services also offer functionality that reduces the risk of misdialed extensions during the transfer process.
Method 1: Use the Desktop or Mobile App
Most business phone systems offer desktop and mobile apps with their service packages. This is a fantastic feature because it gives you the convenience of configuring settings and making changes once you have signed up for service, but also provides call handling options within the apps. The desktop and mobile apps often have a built-in call transfer button to let you quickly make a transfer with no additional steps.
Using RingCentral as an example because it offers both a robust desktop that can be integrated into other business tools and mobile app you can transfer calls like this:
- Push the Transfer button.
- Choose whether you’d like to make a Warm Transfer, a Blind Transfer, or send the caller Directly to Voicemail.
- Greet the transferred party if it is a warm transfer and hang up. If it is a blind or voicemail transfer, simply hang up the phone.
This method is one of the best for transferring business calls because the app also lets you search by contacts, if you don’t have an extension memorized. This added search functionality helps prevent misdials. Also, the app gives you the option to announce a caller before it is transfer. This helps minimize the chance for calls being dropped or a caller hanging up without leaving a voicemail if the other party is unavailable.
Method 2: Transfer Using the Desk phone Dialpad
If you prefer using a desk phone over a softphone or dialer app, it is still possible to transfer calls with any SIP or VoIP system using your dialpad alone. The steps will vary depending on your phone provider and individual plan, so if you have specific questions about the transferring process, it is best to consult your phone system’s point of contact.
Here’s how to transfer callers to outside parties using RingCentral as an example:
- Dial double hash/pound (# #). This will put the caller on hold. You may hear the following automated message: “You have a call on hold, to return to the call, press #. To transfer this call to an extension, dial the extension number. For more options, press *.”
- Press the star (*) button. You may hear the following automated message: “To transfer this call, press 1. To cancel, press **.”
- Press 1. You may hear the following automated message: “Please enter the phone number or quick dial number and then press #. To cancel, press **.”
- Enter the 10-digit telephone number where you wish to transfer the call. Press the hash/pound key (#) to complete the transfer.
The steps are similar to transfer callers within your organization, but there are fewer of them:
- Dial double hash/pound (# #) to put the caller on hold. You may hear the following automated message: “You have a call on hold, to return to the call, press #. To transfer this call to an extension, dial the extension number. For more options, press *.”
- Dial the extension number. Note that this will be a blind transfer, so you can simply hang up the phone.
If you are considering making the move to a VoIP service and are looking for a top-rated, reliable system, visit our RingCentral ultimate guide to learn more about its features. RingCentral also offers a free trial, so you can try it out for yourself before making the switch. All you need to do is provide your contact details using the form below.
A landline system is a traditional phone setup that uses the analog copper network that’s been in place for more than a century. Similar to SIP and VoIP systems, there are two different ways to transfer calls from a landline to another telephone number. However, it is worth noting that both landline methods are much more complicated. Therefore, it is easier to make a mistake transferring a call using a landline phone than with other types of business phone service.
Method 1: Use the Telephone’s Built-in Transfer Button
The majority of landline telephones manufactured today have a built-in transfer button that you might not even know about. It is called the Flash or Receiver button, depending on your phone’s manufacturer.
Here is how to use it:
- Press and release the Flash/Receiver button: This will put your current caller on hold.
- Listen for the dial tone: You should next hear a stuttered dial tone. This indicates the system is ready for your next instruction.
- Dial the destination extension: This instructs the system where to transfer your caller.
- Introduce the caller as required: If you do not want to introduce the caller to the recipient or start a three-way call, simply hang up the phone.
- Optional step: If you want to remain on the call as an active participant, which is known as a three-way call, press and release the Flash/Receiver button once more.
Method 2: The *72 Command
The *72 command is another way to transfer calls. However, this will route all incoming calls to the number that you choose, meaning your phone will not ring again until you turn this command off. Therefore, if you want to continue to receive calls on your landline, this is not the method for you.
To use the *72 command:
- Pick up the receiver.
- Dial *72 using the phone’s dialpad. If you are using a rotary phone, dial 1172.
- Wait for three beeps. This will be followed by a dial tone.
- Dial the phone number to where you’d like to forward your calls.
- Note that if there is no answer or you get a busy signal at the forwarded number, wait three seconds before hanging up and trying again once more.
- If there is an answer at the forwarded number, keep the line open for at least five seconds to ensure it’s activated.
- To turn the service off, dial *73 or 1173 on rotary phones.
If your business phone system offers a mobile app, like RingCentral does, it is best for you to take advantage of the app’s call transfer capability as we discussed in the section on SIP and VoIP services. However, it is still possible to transfer a call even without a VoIP system’s mobile app. Since Apple and Android are two of the biggest names in mobile technology, we will guide you through their call transfer processes.
Call Transfer Using an iPhone
Depending on your carrier and plan, the call transfer option can vary between customers. Some plans support transferring an existing call to another party, but some only allow you to add in someone else as a conference call. Check with your carrier and plan settings to determine whether or not this is the case for your individual setup.
However, call forwarding is an option on all Apple iPhones. Here’s how you set it up:
- Navigate to the Phone section of the settings menu.
- Select the Call Forwarding option.
- Toggle the option on and type in the phone number you wish to forward your calls.*
- In the top left of your iPhone screen, you will see a new symbol that looks like this: This is the call forwarding icon, letting you know that you are currently forwarding your calls.
- To turn the feature off, simply toggle the Call Forwarding button off.
*The iPhone gives no notification that it has saved your number, but it has. If the forwarding icon appears, then you know for certain that your options have been saved.
Call Transfer Using an Android Device
Like an iPhone, call transfer options will vary between carriers and plans. You may or may not have the ability to transfer calls to a third party on your Android device, but you can forward calls to another number.
- Select the Phone app and tap the three-dot or three-line menu button.
- Go to Settings or Call Settings (it will depend on the make and model of your phone).
- Choose Call Forwarding. From here, you can choose from four different call forwarding options:
- Always forward
- Forward when busy
- Forward when unanswered
- Forward when unreached
- Once you’ve chosen the option you want, choose the phone number that you’d like to forward your calls.
- Choose Enable, Turn On or OK.
- To turn off call forwarding, simply select Disable.
If you do not have access to a SIP or VoIP phone system’s desktop app, you can still make and transfer calls using your PC provided your machine is operating on Windows 10 and has been updated after May 2019. In order for it to work, you must pair your existing Android smartphone with the PC to take advantage of the built-in Windows calling app. In addition, at this time, this feature only works with Android devices running version 7.0 or later.
Set Up the Your Phone App
- From the Start menu, begin typing the word “Phone.” The first result to populate should be the Your Phone Microsoft app. Select it to open the app.
- Select either Android or iPhone from the menu. Follow the on-screen prompts to continue the setup process.
- Once you’ve completed the setup process and have linked your phone, you can make and receive calls from your PC.
Transferring Calls From the Your Phone App
- Inside the app, go to More, and choose the Settings option. Find the Call Forwarding option and select it.
- Under the Incoming Calls option, tap the Forward Calls selection.
- In the Forward Calls To screen, tap the selection of your choice:
- New number
- New contact
- Your personal mobile phone number
- Enter or search for the contact as required
- Choose the times that you’d like to forward calls under Apply Settings. You can pick from All the Time or During Outlook Work Hours.
- Tap Done to save your settings.
Reasons You Might Need to Transfer a Call
Beyond simply guiding callers to their desired extension, there are many different scenarios that might require call transfers. Call transfer is a highly useful tool that goes above routing calls. Consider the following scenarios:
- A contact is having a conversation with you but wants to speak to another party who is currently out of the office. Forward the call directly to that party’s mobile phone.
- You took a call on your cell phone, which is about to die. Transfer the call to a different phone to continue the conversation.
- A client is asking questions that you do not have the authority to answer. Forward the call to your supervisor to get the client’s needs taken care of.
- You want to leave a detailed voicemail for a client or colleague. Transfer directly to their voicemail extension to leave a message.
Call Transfer Etiquette Tips
Call transfer is a helpful feature for both business users and end consumers alike. However, you do not want to just blindly transfer without telling the caller, since that could be interpreted as rude. You should follow these etiquette tips to maintain as professional a business presence as possible:
- When you transfer a call, let the caller know they are about to be connected with another department or individual. Otherwise, they will be confused when they are suddenly disconnected and are speaking with another person.
- To make sure your customers are satisfied and felt cared for, ask them if they have any questions for you before being transferred.
- Do not lie to a caller and try to answer questions that you do not know the answer to. If you don’t know how to help the caller, try telling them that you will either send them somewhere where they can get their question answered or that you will find out the answer and get back to them.
- Give the caller your direct number before transferring them. If they get disconnected during the transfer process, they can reach you directly to try the transfer again. This is far more convenient than having to call the main line and navigate through the automated attendant again.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What is blind transfer?
When transferring a call, you can choose to either transfer blindly or announce it first. A blind transfer means that you send the caller directly to their desired extension and hang up after doing so. Announced transferring, also known as warm transfer, means that you wait until the desired party has picked up the phone, introduce the caller, and then hang up the phone.
How much do call transferring & forwarding capabilities cost?
This will ultimately depend on a number of factors, including your service provider and individual plan. If your plan includes unlimited minutes, then it will cost you nothing. If you have a cap on the number of minutes per billing cycle, then the cost will vary.
Are there limitations on who I can forward a call to?
You need to ensure that the number to which you wish to transfer is 10 digits long. This means that you need to include an area code no matter what kind of number you are calling (e.g., residential or business).
Can I transfer calls to international numbers?
Again, the answer will depend on your carrier and service plan. Some carriers, such as Verizon, do not support international call transfers at this time. Double-check with your carrier if you are unsure.
Understanding how to transfer a call is critically important for providing quality customer service.
When done properly, it spares your customers from having to hang up and redial the proper extension, which reduces the risk they will call your competition instead. However, dropped calls and transfers to an incorrect extension give the appearance you don’t take a caller or their business seriously.
The reliability of your phone system is, therefore, just as important as the words you say when you have the caller on the line. This is why we recommend RingCentral. In addition to making it easy to transfer calls on its desktop and mobile apps, RingCentral also offers auto-attendants, which help route callers without human intervention, and call flip, which lets you seamlessly switch between devices. Learn more about these features by visiting their website.