Being available at all times is a must for any business owner if they want to guarantee customer satisfaction. This is why it is highly beneficial to have a call forwarding feature implemented into a cloud phone system, because this way callers can reach you no matter where you are. “Wait, wasn’t that supposed to be call routing?” you may ask. And your confusion would be totally understandable; indeed, call forwarding and call routing are eerily similar to each other, since they are both intended for connecting the caller to the next available person.
However, as much as call forwarding and call routing are confused for one another, there are some slight yet important differences between the two.
Also known as follow-me find-me, call forwarding is a set of commands that ensures calls are automatically forwarded to another number or numbers should the initial line be busy or unavailable, such as if your main business phone number is engaged or out of hours.
In simpler words, when the phone numbers you have provided to the cloud phone system are called, they will all start ringing simultaneously or sequentially based on the call order settings determined earlier. But if the caller is unable to reach you, the system acts according to your command and the call is either directed to voicemail or is disconnected.
The benefits of call forwarding – aside from being available for anyone connected to your phone system – is that no matter where you are, your clients can reach you during business hours regardless of your availability without even noticing that their calls have been forwarded to another phone number. With call forwarding one phone line is more than enough to keep your business running, since calls can be automatically forwarded to your employees’ cell phones until one of them is connected to the caller.
Call forwarding eliminates geographical problems, too: your office can even be in a different state, since with properly programmed call forwarding added into the mix a local number can automatically push calls to your main line. And we haven’t even mentioned that call forwarding is a true lifesaver in cases where the system is down for whatever reason, as the system will continue looking for an answer even if the main number is temporarily disconnected.
Call routing is higher in the ‘hierarchy’ because, unlike call forwarding where the caller is usually put on hold till the right person is reached, call routing is a feature that connects a call to the correct end point immediately or navigates the caller to the right person or extension based on different criteria determined by the phone system’s administrator.
With these criteria even the simplest thing can be set up, like what should happen to incoming calls during and after business hours or during holidays. However, thanks to the fully programmable dial paths (better known as answering rules) the system’s admin can create a more complex set of instructions. For instance the system can connect calls directly to you, forward a call to a colleague or switch to voicemail according to individual caller IDs entered into the system’s memory. But there is more: call routing can be programmed in such a way that callers could direct themselves to the right extension via dial commands following the instructions of an auto-attendant.
How These Features Appear in Cloud Phone Systems
There is a very good reason why we constantly mention call forwarding in our cloud phone system reviews: it’s one of the few features that are present in both residential and business subscription plans. Additionally, call forwarding is highly conventional for VoIP users who lack the necessary resources of hooking up all of their desk phones to the internet, since they can simply direct calls to their mobile phones and accept them through the phone system’s own app, therefore replacing immobile devices.
Call routing falls under a different category, since it’s a feature not always available for VoIP subscriptions. When your system is capable of handling answering rules, they can usually be customized similarly to call forwarding, like in the case of eVoice. However, there are cases like MightyCall where answering rules can be created in a similar fashion to flow charts, which is not only visually appealing but logical as well.