For as long as telephony has been an important part of business life, companies employing multiple people have often needed to face the problem of handling multiple calls at the same time. In the not too distant past the only way to ensure that neither callers nor employees heard a busy line – and therefore preventing them from making calls – was to install complicated on-premise PBXs and connect the business’s physical location to the phone network with multiple physical lines. This meant spending a fortune on devices and communication channels that would only become obsolete within a short amount of time anyway. With VoIP, however, handling multiple lines is a simple case of adjusting a few settings and you’ll be good to go.
Not That Kind of Line
Before we reveal the secrets behind using multiple VoIP phone lines efficiently, it’s best to clarify exactly what ‘line’ means in the world of cloud telephony. Whereas in the traditional sense of the word this meant the physical cable that connects a phone system to the phone network, a VoIP phone line can be interpreted in various ways, such as the number of simultaneous incoming/outgoing calls a system can handle, an extension, or a phone number – which is the closest interpretation of all.
The reason for the term ‘line’ being seen as something else in the world of virtual phone systems is simple: voice traffic comes through the internet, meaning that aside from hooking up the necessary devices to the web – which is often unnecessary since it is installed already – no additional wiring is required to operate such a system.
Multiline Features That Make VoIP Systems More Efficient
One System With Multiple Phone Numbers
VoIP has many advantages over traditional phone systems but one of the biggest reasons many businesses prefer handling calls through the internet is a centralized phone system manager. Being able to modify certain settings in one place with just a few clicks is a huge asset, but VoIP also allows users to utilize multiple phone numbers and direct calls to a central number. This is mostly beneficial for companies with domestic or international branch offices as callers are able to place calls for local fees, whereas the business itself can initiate calls from phone numbers that clients are more likely to answer as they would appear to originate from the same territory with a similar area code.
Splitting the Line Into Extensions
Since they exist in the cloud, virtual phone systems can house an unlimited number of extensions, each of which can be assigned to an employee or even entire groups. In fact, multibranch businesses adopting VoIP systems for the first time but that don’t operate in other countries could simply rely on a single phone number and assign an extension to every branch office. Combine this with extra functions like the auto-attendant and the fully customizable interactive voice response menu (IVR) and you will ensure callers can direct themselves to the right person without holding up the next in line.
While businesses can do everything they can to direct callers to the person or department they are looking for, there may be instances when there is nobody to answer the call or another colleague or different department is required. Thankfully, VoIP systems can be set up to forward calls to other phone numbers in cases where the person who’s supposed to take the call isn’t available. However, there is also the option to forward calls manually within such a system, allowing employees to continue the conversation on another device or let someone else take over the call.
There are often times when multiple lines must be connected together, too, and cloud phone services are as just as competent at unifying multiple calls – or ‘lines’ if you may – into an audio conference. In its simplest form, this manifests as a merging of two calls together or inviting a third party into the original conversation and therefore creating a so-called three-way call. However, VoIP is more than capable of dealing with tens if not hundreds of simultaneous calls by allowing callers to connect to a designated extension, where they can have their discussion without blocking any connected caller.
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