There have been a few instances lately, which I’m sure many of you were affected by. One of the major phone carriers (I will not name names!) had 3 widespread outages within the past 2 months. My team handled the frantic calls from our clients who wanted us to transfer their phone lines on their behalf. The problem? We as the answering service do not have the ability to remotely forward or unforward your lines. This is a feature that must either be manually done (which was impossible during the outages) or your phone carrier needs to do it remotely for you.
I recommend checking with your phone carrier to find out what automatic options they have available to you during emergency situations. It is also good to also know if your phone company offers an online portal option which you can use to complete the transfer during an outage.
Many new clients question how they get their calls transferred to us. Below are the basics of Call Forwarding Options.
Automatic Call Forwarding Options
There are several different options that can be set up by your phone system vendor or phone service carrier that allow your calls to be transferred seamlessly to your answering service. Some of these options are;
- Delayed Call Forwarding – This option allows the call to first ring on your line or lines a certain number of times and if the call goes unanswered the caller will be routed to your answering service. This option is very useful because it ensures that calls do not go unanswered regardless of time of day. It also means that you do not have to remember to “turn on” your answering service.
- Busy Call Forwarding – This option is the same as above, except, if your line is busy the call will be transferred to your answering service. This is also a great option because your callers will never hear that dreaded busy signal.
- Scheduled Call Forwarding – This option allows you to set up designated times of the day with your phone company or phone vendor to transfer the lines to your answering service. Beneficial again because you don’t have to remember to transfer your lines. The only drawback is you need to make sure to let your phone company know if your office will be closed for holiday, inclement weather or vacation. This scheduled call forwarding can be used in conjunction with Delayed Call Forwarding.
These automatic features are a great tool for our clients. You will have to provide your designated call forwarding number along with basic account information to your phone company. We do ask if you are using an automatic feature to inform our staff that we will get calls during your working hours so we can better assist your callers. Also make sure to update procedures with your answering service to ensure we know the during office hours procedures you would like us to follow.
Manual Call Forwarding and Removal
This is done by you or your staff physically using your phone. To manually forward your lines you simply pick up from your office phone and enter a code followed by your dedicated call forwarding number. It is important to check with your phone vendor/carrier as the codes can differ. An example for Comcast customers, you lift the receiver and dial *72 and wait to hear a dial tone. You then enter your 10 digit call forwarding number. If you are unsure it worked, you can simply call your office number. When you hear your answering service greeting, you’ll know the calls are connecting.
To remove call forwarding simply lift the receiver and enter the appropriate code. Again, make sure to check with your phone company for the correct code as they will differ, one example is *73.
Other Call Forwarding Options
For companies with an internal I.T department or comprehensive phone line system, please check with that team for the different options available to you.
Call Forwarding Problems
If you are concerned that the call forwarding is not working, please call your answering service immediately. We will check first that there is not an issue on “our end” which is rare but can happen. If it is, all reputable answering services should be able to provide you with a back up working number immediately.
It is important to remember that unfortunately my team is unable to remotely forward or unforward your lines as we do not have control over your phone number. If there is a situation in which your office lines were not transferred, please contact your phone carrier right away and they should be able assist you.
It is important for you and your staff to know what your call forwarding number is. If you do not have this information readily available, please contact us. We have each call forwarding number on file and easily accessible by all members of our team.
My company offers phone system checks in which my staff will call your office line on designated days and times you would like and place a test call to make sure your calls are being connected to our system. If there is a problem, we contact you right away so you can get the issue resolved.