Call holding and transferring are faster and easier with VoIP. VoIP and virtual PBX even have a few exclusive features. This article will cover the basics of transferring calls in a VoIP environment. Note that call transfers are designed for inbound calls, and some of these features may not work if the call originates from your phone.
Call Transfer: Blind or Announced
A blind transfer is when a call is routed to another extension, and the call, as far as the first phone is concerned, is ended. In order to perform a blind transfer, you dial the blind transfer sequence/key, which puts the caller on hold and gives you a dial tone. You dial the extension you wish to transfer the call to, and your line is then dropped.
It is the easiest way to transfer a call, but not always the best, because the customer may have to spend time reintroducing himself and explaining the problem to another agent. If the call goes to voice mail, or, worse, is dropped, the customer may have to call you again. Fortunately, UCC applications like Fonality HUD and Vocalocity Desktop can alert departments to incoming calls, effectively making it an announced transfer.
An “Announced Transfer,” also called an “Attended Transfer,” is a call that is put on hold, then you call the extension first to make sure that your coworker can take the call, then the call is transferred. In order to make an attended transfer, you dial the announced transfer sequence/key, which puts the caller on hold and gives you a dial tone. You dial the extension you want to transfer the call to, and then ask if they can take the call; they can say no by hanging up, and you will be returned to the call. Otherwise the call will be transferred when you hang up.
When a call is placed on park, a new extension is temporarily assigned to that call. The telephone announces what that extension will be, and/or the UCC software will show an on-screen notification of a call on park. Anyone can pick up the held call by dialing into that extension. You put the call on hold, and then park the call. You can then dial any number, or take any action (such as an intercom or overhead page) to announce that that the call is being held on that extension. Anyone, including you, can then dial that extension to pick up the call.
Call Pickup: Group or Directed
A “group pickup” means that you can pick up any call that goes to your specified ring group. This is useful in sales and technical support call centers. If more than one phone rings at the same time and someone else in your group picks up the phone, then they receive the call.
The “directed pickup” feature allows you to answer your own extension from someone else’s phone. If you are in a coworker’s office and you hear a phone ring that might or might not be for you, you can dial the pickup number and your extension and the call will be automatically transferred to the phone you are using. If it turns out the call wasn’t for you, the call won’t be transferred.
Live Call Transfer
“Live Call Transfer,” which goes by several names, such as “Call Flip” or “Call Pass,” is the ability to transfer your call to another number entirely, such as your cell phone or your home line. Live Call Transfer can be done during a call, without notifying the other caller. Depending on how your system is set up, either dial the correct special code, or activate it using your VoIP provider’s mobile app. Your second phone will ring, and the conversation continues.
This is a separate feature than a conference bridge. With 3-way calling, you put the first caller on hold using the “hold” or “flash/hook” button, then dial a second number. Once the second call is connected, release the hold, and all three callers can now talk to each other.