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How to Create an After-hours Phone Service

With the growing demand for follow-the-sun service, more and more businesses are looking for a way to boost their accessibility. Establishing an after-hours phone service is a great way for your business to meet customer expectations.

So, in this article, we’ll cover everything from defining after-hours service to walking you through how to set it up.

What is an After-hours Phone Service?

An after-hours phone service helps businesses remain accessible to customers and prospects outside regular business hours. It consists of time-based call routing rules that automatically direct callers to an alternate destination during predetermined times.

As such, callers receive service and assistance at their convenience – even if your business is closed. This also means you can easily provide global customer support without operating on a 24-hour schedule or asking employees to work the graveyard shift.

How Can Businesses Benefit?

Customers these days expect businesses to provide round-the-clock service and support options. Luckily, with after-hours routing, you can do just that. But how does boosting your accessibility benefit your company? Let’s take a look.

• Improve caller experience by expanding your availability. This way, customers always receive service and support at their preferred time of day.

• Increase retention rates by establishing a consistent communication method. Since callers can always get a hold of you, it deters them from contacting competitors instead. And it increases both customer trust and loyalty, as you are always available when needed.

• Generate more leads and boost sales by avoiding missed or unanswered calls. This way, you never miss an opportunity to identify valuable leads or drive conversions.

How to Set Up an After-hours Phone Service for Your Business

Now that we’ve covered the basics, let’s go over the process of creating an after-hours phone service for your business. We’ll break it down into 3 simple steps:

  1. Get a Call Routing Service
  2. Configure Time-Based Routing Rules
  3. Test Your Service

1. Get a Call Routing Solution

Setting up an after-hours phone service begins with getting a call routing solution. Since many different providers offer business hour routing services, comparing each option to your communication needs is essential.

To determine if a provider is right for your business, consider the following factors:

  • Experience in telecommunications
  • Pricing options within your budget
  • Setup or installation fees
  • Activation times
  • Other available services and features that improve efficiency (besides call routing)
  • Uptime guarantee and service reliability
  • Customer support options

Once you’ve found a provider that matches your requirements, sign up for their service and wait for it to activate.

2. Configure Time-Based Routing Rules

Since many call routing services are entirely customizable, there are a few different ways you can equip time-based routing. Naturally, how you configure these rules depends on your specific needs and chosen provider.

Those using Global Call Forwarding for their after-hours phone service can configure routing rules in their online control panel. From there, you can set up time-of-day call routing one of two ways – using our advanced routing capability or creating rules in the IVR manager.

The advanced routing feature allows users to set up after-hours rules based on:

  • days of the week
  • times during the day
  • start and end dates (if applicable).

And you can forward all incoming calls to one or multiple other locations. This is a great option for those looking for a simple setup process that routes callers directly to another line.

Here’s an example of an after-hours routing configured through our advanced routing feature:

A screenshot showing how to set up an after-hours phone service.

On the other hand, setting up an after-hours service through our IVR manager allows you to create a more complex phone service. You can add announcements, decide what happens if a call fails, establish waiting periods, and much more. This is great for those looking for a more customizable solution.

Here’s an example of an after-hours phone service configured through our IVR manager:

Creating an IVR for after-hours calls.

After deciding on a configuration method, you must choose where you want to forward calls coming in outside business hours. This decision will depend on your business structure and resources. But, here are some options to consider when determining where to route your after-hours calls:

3. Test Your Service

Once you’ve configured your routing rules, it’s important to test your after-hours phone service. This way, you know it works as intended. And if there are any bugs, you can fix them before they become a problem for callers.

Launch Your After-hours Service with Global Call Forwarding

Ready to set up your after-hours phone service? You can get time-based routing with any pricing plan from Global Call Forwarding. And since all of our solutions are cloud-based, you benefit from their affordability, flexibility, and scalability.

If you need additional help creating custom routing rules or setting up an after-hours routing, chat with us online or call us at +1 (561) 908-6171. We’re here to help!

20 Best Auto-Attendant Scripts for Your Business

An auto-attendant streamlines your inbound call management by automatically answering calls, greeting callers, and routing them to the appropriate destination. This feature is also known as a cloud attendant, digital receptionist, or hosted IVR.

Most IVRs allow you to upload and customize greetings, messages, prompts, voicemails, and more. But before you set up your auto-attendant and record these messages, you’ll need to create different auto-attendant scripts that fit your business and customer’s needs.

Let’s go over what information these scripts should include, best practices, and examples of auto-attendant scripts for your business.

Types of scripts we’ll cover:

What Should Auto-Attendant Scripts Include?

Many companies use IVRs to effectively manage inbound calls and fluctuating volumes. And since these systems are completely customizable, they vary from business to business. However, there are basic elements that every auto-attendant should include. Let’s take a look:

  • A greeting, introduction, or welcome message
  • Business name
  • Business hours
  • Alternate language options (if applicable)
  • A disclaimer if you’re recording the conversation (if applicable)
  • Options to talk to a live representative
  • And next steps if no one is available to help them (i.e., leave a voicemail, chat online, callback options, etc).

When writing your auto-attendant scripts, use these necessary elements as a starting point. This way, you can quickly establish your basic prompts and options – allowing you to focus on more complex call flows.

Best Practices For Creating and Recording Auto-Attendant Scripts

Your cloud attendant is often the first thing a customer interacts with when contacting your business. So, it’s important to get it right and design a customer-friendly system. To ensure your auto-attendant works as intended, here are 5 best practices for creating and recording your scripts.

1. Reflect your brand’s tone and identity

All business messaging should reflect your brand’s voice, and the same goes for your phone system. This practice helps your business stand out from competitors and build a consistent experience across all your touch-points. So, consider the word choice and tone of your auto-attendant script and how the speaker articulates it.

2. Cater to your target audience

Your prospects and customers are the ones who interact the most with your auto-attendant. As such, it’s important to prioritize their needs by putting popular phone menu options first. This way, they can quickly find solutions to their issues without listening to a list of irrelevant options.

3. Keep it short and simple

Keep every aspect of your IVR concise and straightforward. Don’t want to overwhelm callers with information, as this will ultimately confuse them and increase handling times. Avoid offering too many menu options and recording lengthy messages. And only use jargon when necessary.

4. Always use a human voice

Since hosted IVR offers personalization capabilities, you don’t have to use an automated voice. Using a human voice breathes life into your phone system. It humanizes your brand and keeps callers engaged. Ask employees to lend their voice and record your prompts in-house, or outsource this task to professional services.

5. Pay attention to audio quality

Bad audio quality can cause your cloud attendant to sound muffled or distorted – leading to confusion. For the best audio quality, record in a quiet setting with sound-absorbing materials. And consider investing in a quality microphone.

The best auto-attendant scripts for your business

Standard Auto-Attendant Scripts

Now, let’s get into some examples of auto-attendant scripts. We’ll start with standard scripts that are generic enough to work for most industries and businesses. You can implement them as is or use these scripts as a foundation to further customize them so they fit your brand identity and communication needs.

Greeting and Main Menu Scripts

This is the first thing callers hear and interact with when the line connects to your business phone system. Here are some examples:

Script 1
Thank you for calling [company name]. Our hours of operation are [state hours, timezone (optional), and days open]. This call may be recorded for quality and training purposes. To better assist you, please select an option from the following menu.

  • For customer support, press 1.
  • For the billing department, press 2.
  • For sales, press 3.
  • For all other inquiries or to speak to a representative, please press 4.
  • To repeat this menu, press pound.
Script 2
Hello, and thank you for calling [company name]. Regular business hours are [state hours, timezone (optional), and days open]. If you know your party’s extension, you may dial it at any time.

  • To continue in Spanish, press 6.
  • For sales or product information, press 1.
  • For technical support, press 2.
  • For the billing department, press 3.
  • To speak with a customer support agent and for all other inquiries, press 4.
  • To go back to the main menu, press 5.
  • If you wish to leave a voicemail, please stay on the line.

Voicemail Scripts

Provide customers with an option to leave your business a message by setting up a voicemail option. This way, you present an alternate option to callers in case your business is closed or all representatives are busy.

Script 1
Hello, this is [company name]. Thank you for your call! You’ve reached us after our normal business hours – which are from [state hours, timezone, and days open]. At the tone, please leave your name, number, and a brief message. We’ll return your call on our next business day. Have a great night!
Script 2
Thank you for calling [company name]! Unfortunately, all of our agents are currently busy. We apologize for this inconvenience. Please stay on the line to leave a voicemail, and someone will get back to you shortly. We hope to speak with you soon.

After-Hours Script

When customers call outside your normal business hours, these after-hours scripts inform them of your hours and alternate options to contact your business.

Script 1
Thank you for calling [company name]. Our main offices are currently closed. We’re open tomorrow at [hours of operation].

  • Please press 1 to leave a voicemail, and we’ll get back to you.
  • If this is an urgent matter, press 0 to be directed to our after-hours service.
Script 2
Hello, you’ve reached the [company name] voicemail. We’re open from [state hours, timezone, and days open]. At the tone, please state your name, number, and a short message. Or, chat with us online at [website URL]. Thank you, and have a great night!

Holiday Scripts

Updating your auto-attendant for the holiday season lets callers know your holiday hours and when regular business hours will resume. And it gives you a chance to get creative and festive with your business’ voicemail and prompts.

Script 1
“Happy holidays, and thank you for calling [company name]. Please be aware that our offices are operating on our holiday hours [state hours and days open]. Normal business hours will resume on [date]. In the meantime, please listen to the following options”.

  • For customer support, press 1.
  • For the billing department, press 2.
  • For sales, press 3.
  • For all other inquiries or to speak to a representative, please press 4.
  • To leave a voicemail, press 5.
  • To return to the beginning, stay on the line.
Script 2 
Hello, this is [company name]. Thank you for your call. Our offices are currently closed in observance of the upcoming holidays. We will be back on [time and date].

  • To leave a voicemail, press 1.
  • If this is an urgent matter, press 0 to be directed to our response team.

Otherwise, please call back during our normal operating hours. Thank you, and we wish you a happy holiday season!

Disaster Response Scripts

Disasters often occur without warning and can lead to extended downtime. These types of interruptions to your service cause diminished brand reputation and loss of customer trust. This is especially true if customers don’t know your business is experiencing a crisis. Since IVR is a cloud-based feature, you can update it from any internet- or WiFi-connected device and let customers know about the delay in operations.

Script 1
Hello, you’ve reached [company name]. We are unable to take your call at this time, as our offices are temporarily closed due to [briefly describe disaster, such as “flooding in the area”]. We apologize for this inconvenience.

  • If this is an urgent matter, please press 1 to be routed to our [location] branch.
  • For all other requests, please leave us a voicemail stating your name, number, and message. We will return your call as soon as we can. Thank you for your understanding, and have a great day.
Script 2
Due to recent [disaster], [company name] is temporarily closed. We’re sorry for this inconvenience. Your call matters to us – so please stay on the line to leave us a voicemail or message us at [company email or online chat option (if applicable)]. We will get back to you as soon as we can. Thank you for your patience, and have a great day.

Related: How Much Does an IVR Cost?

Auto-Attendant Scripts By Industry

Looking for scripts more tailored to your specific industry? Whether you’re in the healthcare industry or marketing, we’ve got you covered with examples.

Healthcare Industry [Pharmacies + Clinics]

If you’re in the healthcare industry, you know that customers and patients call for a number of reasons. Whether they request information, schedule appointments, or refill prescriptions, it’s important to promptly assist them. This is why auto-attendant is a great solution for healthcare services. Let’s take a look at some script examples.

Script 1
Thank you for calling [pharmacy name]. All calls will be recorded and monitored for quality assurance. Please choose from one of the following options:

  • To refill a prescription, press 1.
  • To select the extension number of the prescribing doctor, press 2.
  • To hear the pharmacy’s hours of operation and address, press 3.
  • To speak with a pharmacist, press 4.
  • If you’d like to hear these options again, press 5.
Script 2
Hello and welcome to [clinic name]. If this is a medical emergency, please hang up now and dial 911. To best assist you, please listen carefully to our menu options.

  • To hear these options in Spanish, please press 9.
  • If you are a new patient, press 1.
  • If you are an existing patient, press 2.
  • If you are calling to make an appointment or alter an existing one, press 3.
  • If you’re a pharmacist or supplier, press 4.
  • To speak with our office staff, press 5.
  • To repeat this menu, press 0.

Software and Technology Sectors

Over 66% of customers typically use the phone to resolve issues with a company. And for software and technology-based businesses, this is crucial as they often offer tech support for troubleshooting or sales services for new products. In this case, auto-attendant helps you figure out why customers are calling and directs callers to their desired department. Here are some examples of how software and technology services can use this feature.

Script 1
Thank you for contacting [company name]. Our offices are available from [state hours and days open]. If you know your party’s extension, you may dial it at any time. Please select one of the following menu options:

  • For technical support, press 1.
  • For questions regarding your invoice, order, or contract, press 2.
  • For information or queries regarding software updates and licenses, press 3.
  • If you need help purchasing or finding the right product, press 4.
  • To hear this menu again, press 0.
Script 2
Hello, you’ve reached [company name]. Let’s get you to the right place. Please select an option from our menu by pressing a number on your keypad or verbally responding.

  • For questions about your account, like billing or cancellations, press 1.
  • If you need help downloading, installing, activating, or using [name of product], press 2.
  • If you need help buying a [company name] product, press 3.
  • To speak with the next available representative, press 4.
  • To hear these options again, press 0.

Financial Services

Financial institutions offer customers a wide range of services. Using an auto-attendant, you can easily direct callers to investment, debt management, and card activation services. And with its personalization capabilities, you can create the perfect IVR for your business. Here are some scripts designed for finance companies.

Script 1
Thank you for calling [company name]. If you know your party’s extension, please dial it now. Otherwise, remain on the line for our menu options.

  • To speak with our telephone teller, press 1.
  • To report your card lost or stolen, press 2.
  • To apply for a credit card or loan, press 3.
  • For mortgage and collections departments, press 4.
  • For investment services, press 5.
  • For business accounts and services, press 6.
    To repeat this menu, press 0.
Script 2
Hello, you’ve reached [company name] at [location]. Calls may be recorded for quality and training purposes. Select one of the following options.

  • For our hours of operation, press 1.
  • To hear our address or find another branch location, press 2 for the directory.
  • To access your account details and recent transaction records, press 3.
  • To make a payment, press 4.
  • To speak with a [company name] associate, press 5.
  • Stay on the line to hear these options again.

Travel and Tourism Industry

46% of consumers said their recent experiences when calling a travel or hospitality company were “just OK.” When it comes to travel, your business’s best interest lies in making the process for reserving, canceling, and more easy and worry-free. Auto-attendant not only helps improve caller experience by efficiently managing each call, but also establishes your business’ professional image. From travel agencies to hotels and resorts, let’s take a look at how those in the travel and tourism industry can use an IVR.

Script 1
Welcome to [travel agency name], [tagline, ex: “where we make planning a vacation easy”]. We’re here to help. Please press 1 for English, 2 for Spanish, or 3 for French.

  • To learn about a business listing, press 4.
  • To cancel or change a booking, press 5.
  • To access details about a booking, press 6.
  • For questions about billing, press 7.
  • For all other inquiries, press 8.
  • To hear these options again, press 0.
Script 2
Hello, and thank you for calling [Hotel Name], located at [location or address]. Your call is important to us, and we’ll be with you shortly. You can also make reservations and inquiries on our website at [website URL]. Please listen carefully to the following options.

  • For reservations and bookings, please press 1.
  • For customer service, press 2.
  • For group reservations, press 3.
  • For information about the [location, ex: London downtown area] or sightseeing recommendations, press 4.
  • Stay on the line to hear these options again.

Marketing Services

An auto-attendant gives your marketing or advertising agency the opportunity to further establish your brand. You can use IVR’s custom messages to introduce new clients to your business, promote your services, and solidify your professional reputation. Let’s take a look at how marketing and advertising agencies can use this technology.

Script 1
Hello, this is [marketing agency name], [tagline]. We look forward to working with you. If you know your party’s extension, you may dial it now. Otherwise, please stay on the line to hear our menu options.

  • To speak with your account manager, press 1 for the name directory.
  • For client services, press 2.
  • For questions regarding your bill, press 3
  • For more information about our offerings, press 4.
  • To repeat this menu, press 0.
Script 2
You’ve reached [marketing agency name], [mission statement, ex: “delivering best in class marketing services to small businesses”]. Thank you for your call! To get started, please select one of our menu options.

  • To hear more about our services and how we can help your business, press 1.
  • For advertising services, press 2.
  • To make changes to your current account, press 3 or enter your manager’s extension.
  • Stay on the line to hear this menu again.

Set Up Auto-Attendant with Global Call Forwarding

With your scripts ready to go, you’re all set to configure IVR for your business. You can get auto-attendant software with Global Call Forwarding when you purchase any of our phone number plans. This means you’re not paying additional fees to use this communication feature. Then, you can record your scripts and set up a cloud attendant through our online control panel.

Need additional help getting auto-attendant setup? Check out our step-by-step guide or call us at +1 (561) 908-6171. We’re here to help 24/7!

How to Prevent Phone Numbers from Being Marked as Spam?

Are your teams placing a high volume of calls to customers and prospects? Have your response rates dropped? There’s a chance that your business phone number has been flagged.

If that’s the case, you will regularly have trouble connecting with customers. Besides running an actual scam operation, there are a few other reasons why legitimate businesses struggle with this problem.

In this post, we’ll identify why calls get flagged and how to prevent phone numbers from being blocked or marked as spam or scam likely.

Reasons Why Calls Get Flagged as Spam

As it stands today, a recipient’s carrier manages call blocking or spam reporting. So, these carriers are generally the ones watching how many calls come in, the type of number, and if it’s gaining a reputation as a ‘spam caller.’ They also watch for phone numbers using caller ID reputation registries because they have already been marked as spam or ‘at spam risk.’

So, why is a phone number flagged as a scam or spam number? There are a few different reasons:

  • Receivers marking your calls — through their phone’s capabilities or by reporting it to the authorities
  • Short call duration — generally for calls that last less than 5 seconds
  • Low connection rates — calls are not answered by receiver, usually because they do not recognize the number
  • High number of hang-ups — receiver not interested in the conversation
  • Contacting people on a Do Not Call (DNC) list — calling people who have opted out of receiving calls from telemarketers
  • And fresh or new numbers — where one uses a brand new number to place hundreds of calls an hour.

What are Your Options if Your Number is Flagged as Spam?

The first thing to do is determine the cause. Check your call detail records (CDRs) to map out what your calling habits show. Look for:

  • Abandoned or unanswered calls
  • Calls that don’t last long
  • Low connection rates
  • Amount of calls made per hour, and so on.

You may even contact your VoIP provider to understand why this is happening. Once you identify the cause, you can start to mitigate the problem and improve your phone numbers’ reputation.

An image that shows how to prevent calls from being flagged as spam.

Steps to Prevent Calls from Getting Flagged

As discussed above, common signs that your phone number has been marked as spam include low connection rates (or calls not going through at all) and customer complaints. So if this happens, here are a few appropriate steps to prevent your phone number from being marked as spam:

1. Register Your Numbers with the Major Carriers

Once you purchase your new outbound numbers, make sure to register them with major carriers (Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile) and local authorities. When you do this, your outgoing caller ID will display your company name instead of a private or unknown number. This will help improve connection and response rates as receivers will know it’s your business calling.

2. Use Good Call Practices

Next, be courteous with your calling. To avoid your phone numbers from being marked as spam, do the following:

  • Follow the FCC call compliance regulations strictly
  • Don’t spam people with numerous calls; especially avoid triple calling
  • Make sure to respect the DNC registry
  • Call customers only between 8 am and 9 pm local time
  • Follow industry-specific regulations, if applicable (HIPAA, FDCPA, TILA, GDPR, etc.)
  • Avoid predictive dialers when possible as the FCC has certain automatic telephone dialing restrictions (emergency lines, cellular phones or smartphones, medical institutions, etc.)

3. Ramp up New Numbers Slowly

Next, be judicious with your calling habits, especially with a fresh number. No new business will immediately have a long list of prospects or customers, justifying 100 calls an hour. Start slow and grow as people interact with and use your product.

This is another reason to avoid predictive and automatic dialers. Such dialers call customers on your team’s behalf and only connect to an agent if the receiver answers the call. This means that the dialer places multiple outbound calls within a short time frame. On top of that, a lot of these calls go unanswered, leading to a low connection rate. So, you can’t win either way.

4. Ask Customers to Save Your Number

Next, as you connect with customers and prospects, always start by introducing your business. This goes a long way in establishing it as a legit business. Then, go a step further and ask new and repeat customers to save your business number in their own contact lists. This way, they’ll know you’re calling and can answer unhindered.

It is also a good idea to advertise your phone numbers across marketing materials, both offline and online. Specifically, make sure your Google My Business account is up to date with your company information. Then, include your numbers on your website, email, ads, social media, and wherever else. This ensures your business is consistent and customers can recognize it.

5. Rotate the Numbers You Use

If you still cannot prevent phone numbers from being marked as spam, try rotating the numbers you use. High call volumes are another major reason why phone numbers get flagged. You may need additional outbound numbers for this, but it can help to rotate between multiple numbers to make daily calls. This step should be your last resort. Use this method only if your business really needs to make multiple calls a day; such as an appointment reminder or wake-up call service.

6. Regularly Check Your Numbers

Finally, check and test your numbers regularly. You can do this on your own or work with your VoIP provider. VoIP providers understand the importance of being able to connect with customers. To this effect, they usually run number testing on their end. Check with your provider to learn what they do and how they can help you prevent phone numbers from being marked as spam.

Global Call Forwarding Note on Compliance

We don’t support spammers and scammers at Global Call Forwarding. We use TrueCaller to test our numbers to ensure they are working effectively and within compliance. Want to learn more about how we can support your business? Speak with our telecom experts at +1 (561) 908-6171 or chat with us online! We’re here to help!

How to Set Up an Auto-Attendant?

Need a cost-effective way to manage your inbound call flow and fluctuating call volumes? Simply, set up an auto-attendant to effectively manage incoming calls.

In this article, we’ll walk you through how to set up an auto-attendant and why businesses need it.

What is an Auto-Attendant?

An auto-attendant is a cloud communication feature that automatically answers your inbound calls. It then gathers information from callers by providing them with a set of predetermined menu options and waiting for the caller’s input (on the keypad).

Based on their input, the auto-attendant routes callers to their desired department. In other words, this VoIP feature acts as a virtual receptionist or operator for your business and ensures callers arrive at the correct destination.

Example of an auto-attendant:

  • Caller dials your business phone number.
  • Auto-attendant answers the call and plays a preset greeting.
  • Then, it asks the caller to press 1 for English or press 2 for Spanish.
  • When the caller presses 1, it triggers English menu options.
  • When the caller presses 2, it triggers Spanish menu options.
  • If no option is selected, it repeats the message 5 times. After the 5th time, it ends the call.

Why Should Businesses Set Up An Auto-Attendant?

Many businesses set up auto-attendants to effectively control the way callers move through their phone system, manage fluctuating call volumes, and much more. Here are some reasons why businesses need this VoIP solution.

• Avoid missed calls as the auto-attendant immediately answers every inbound call, even during a volume surge. So, you can establish a reliable and consistent business phone system – allowing you to stay on top of incoming opportunities and sales.

• Customize menu options to align with your brand identity as well as customer needs using personalized greetings, menu prompts, messages, voicemails, and more.

• Save on costs associated with live receptionists, secretaries, and operators by automating call management.

• Improve caller experience by promptly answering calls and accurately routing callers to their desired destinations – decreasing wait and handling times.

• Increase accessibility using call forwarding and routing capabilities to provide 24/7 global customer support or after-hours services.

• Optimize team workloads since auto-attendant connects callers to the proper department or extension – minimizing the amount of irrelevant and repeat callers. This frees up your employees’ time, allowing them to focus on more complex tasks that require a human touch.

A diagram showing proper auto-attendant setup.

How to Set Up an Auto-Attendant

Now that we’ve covered the basics, let’s get into how to set up an auto-attendant for your business in a few simple steps:

  1. Get a Phone Service
  2. Design Your Call Flow
  3. Upload Custom Messages and Add Destinations
  4. Equip Actions and Triggers
  5. Configure Routing and Forwarding Rules
  6. Test Your Auto-Attendant

1. Get a Phone Service

To set up an auto-attendant for your business, you first need to get a phone service. There are many different providers on the market, so make sure you research to find the best solution for your specific needs.

When choosing a phone service provider, it’s (of course) important to find one that offers the auto-attendant feature. But you should also consider:

  • How long they’ve been in the market
  • If their pricing points match your budget and if they have any setup or hidden fees
  • How quickly you can get set up
  • What other features they offer
  • How much uptime they guarantee and how reliable their service is.

After you find a provider, browse through their phone number inventory and select the phone number that best fits your communication needs. Then, sign up for the service and wait for your provider to activate it.

2. Design Your Call Flow

Next, develop your incoming call flow to visualize the way calls travel within your system. It’s important to take your time when outlining your call flow template, as a well-designed flow helps improve caller experience and increase efficiency.

Start by envisioning what you want to happen when a customer calls your business. And remember to focus your auto-attendant and call flows on the customer’s needs by factoring in recurring queries and key pain points. This way, callers can resolve their queries quickly and easily.

  • When designing your call flow, consider the following:
  • What greetings, messages, or prompts do you want the caller to hear?
  • What menu options do you want to offer them? Will you include self-service options?
  • Which departments and extensions will you include?
  • How will they move down the call flow and find the right person to speak with?
  • Are all of your menu options essential, and is there enough demand to include them?
  • What happens if someone is unavailable or if the caller contacts your business after-hours?

A chart showing how to set up an auto-attendant.

3. Upload Custom Messages and Add Destinations

Setting up an auto-attendant is even easier when you prepare the necessary materials beforehand. This includes uploading custom voice messages and adding your destinations – which you’ll configure in your provider’s control panel.

Begin with drafting and recording scripts for your business’ greetings, prompts, and voicemails. You can do this in-house or outsource this task to professional services. Record these messages using a recording software or directly through your provider’s control panel. If you don’t want to record them in-house, you can buy recordings from audio providers. Once you have your recordings, upload these custom messages to your auto-attendant interface.

Next, it’s time to add all the destinations you plan to include when setting up your auto-attendant. You can add single phone numbers or create ring groups for different departments. And you can even add email addresses to forward faxes and voicemails.

4. Equip Actions and Triggers

Once you’ve planned and prepared the necessary materials, you’re ready to set up your call flow in the control panel. The auto-attendant’s available capabilities and action options will depend on what your provider offers.

We offer many actions and triggers that help you quickly build simple to complex call flows. These options include:

  • Announcement – to play a message or greeting
  • Phone Call – to direct the call to a specific destination, individual, or department
  • Voicemail – to forward calls to your voicemail
  • Fax – to send incoming faxes to your email
  • Go To – to redirect callers to a previous destination in your auto-attendant’s call flow, such as the main menu
  • User Menu / User Input – to create a menu with voice messages and menu options for callers select
  • Routing Actions – to route calls to alternate destinations depending on time of day or caller ID.

A screenshot of how to set up an auto attendant from our control panel.

Each action and trigger comes with additional options, allowing you to configure further pathways. You can choose how basic or complex you want to go with an auto-attendant. And set up simple or multi-level auto-attendant phone menus, based on your requirements.

To avoid confusion or misconfiguration, remember to use the call flow you developed earlier to guide you through each step. This will help keep you focused on setting up an efficient auto-attendant that addresses the customer’s needs.

5. Configure Routing and Forwarding Rules

When equipping actions and triggers, you also have the option to configure routing and forwarding rules for your business. Customize these rules and apply them to your entire business or specific departments and individuals. Different routing and forwarding options enable your business to remain accessible to customers after-hours or provide 24/7 customer support.

Let’s take a look at different routing options Global Call Forwarding offers:

• Time-based Routing – direct calls to different destinations during a certain time of the day or period of time. (Used for: special holiday routing, after-hours services, and 24/7 support)

• Location-based / Caller ID Routing – route calls based on the incoming caller ID or location. (Used for: global customer support and connecting distributed teams)

• Failover Forwarding – to forward unanswered calls to an alternate destination. (Used for: backup support and building your system’s redundancy)

In addition to these, you can also set up other routing rules such as holiday routing, sequential forwarding, simultaneous ringing, etc. While you can easily configure these through the control panel, our tech support team is happy to help get you set up.

6. Test Your Auto-Attendant

After you finish configuring and setting up your auto-attendant, make sure to test your pathways. This way, you know that every action, trigger, and option works how you want them too. Evaluate your auto-attendant for unnecessary complexities and dead ends by going through each option and collecting feedback from customers.

Set Up Auto-Attendant with Global Call Forwarding

You can get our auto-attendant software, when you purchase any of our phone number plans. This means you’re not paying additional fees to use this communication feature. Then, you can set up an auto-attendant through our online control panel and modify it at any time.

Still need help with auto-attendant setup? Check out our step-by-step guide or call us at +1 (561) 908-6171. We’re here to help, 24/7!

What’s the Difference Between Cold vs Warm Transfer?

Call transfer is a cloud telephony feature that lets you place a call on hold and immediately transfer it to another department, agent, or call center.

In other words, you connect a phone call from one user (original receiver) to another (the desired department or employee).

Now, there are a few different ways you can transfer calls — manually, automatically, via a receptionist, and so on.

In this article, we will look specifically at cold and warm transfers.

Types of Call Transfers: Cold vs Warm Transfers

Call transfers are an important part of any business communication system. It enables your employees to send callers to the right person efficiently and accurately — without the caller having to hang up and call again.

There are many reasons why you may need to transfer calls, such as:

  • When callers arrive at the wrong department
  • If they need additional help or services
  • To collaborate with another expert or colleague
  • To address regional or culture-specific needs (language, location, time zone, etc.)

By connecting callers with the right department or agent faster, you can provide more responsive support and a better caller experience.

What is a Warm Call Transfer?

A warm call transfer – live transfer or attended transfer – is the process of one employee answering the call and transferring it to a different employee.

The first employee (who most likely is a receptionist) also passes on any relevant information beforehand. This means that the next employee is up to speed and the caller doesn’t have to repeat themselves.

An example of a warm call transfer (attended transfer).

Example of warm transfer:

  1. An existing customer calls your business looking for a specific query (US billing).
  2. Your receptionist screens the call by answering it and identifying the customer’s needs.
  3. The receptionist then puts the caller on hold and determines the best employee to help the customer (customer service or accountant in charge of US billing).
  4. After iterating the query to the employee, the receptionist transfers the call to that employee.

Benefits of warm call transfers:

  • Transfers are personalized to every caller’s needs
  • Agents are better prepared to help customers
  • Callers don’t have to repeat their request

What is a Cold Call Transfer?

A cold call transfer – automated transfer or unattended transfer – is the process of a call being transferred to another agent without a receptionist or live agent speaking with them first.

In this case, the automated IVR or auto-attendant answers the call. This cloud telephony feature presents the caller with a set of menu options (through pre-recorded messages) or the opportunity to enter an extension. The caller selects an option or inputs an extension, upon which they are automatically transferred to their desired destination. In this option, the end agent is not briefed on the call.

An example of a cold call transfer (blind transfer).

Example of cold transfer:

  1. An existing customer from Mexico calls your main business phone number looking for a specific query.
  2. Your auto-attendant automatically transfers the caller to your South American customer support center.

Another example of a cold transfer with an IVR:

  1. An existing customer calls your main business phone number looking for a specific query.
  2. Your IVR answers the call, greets the customer, plays an announcement (if needed), and presents the caller with menu options – such as Press 1 for English, Press 2 for Spanish.
  3. Depending on the caller’s input, the IVR transfers the call to the appropriate agent OR presents the next set of menu options – such as Press 1 for Customer Support, Press 2 for Account Activation, Press 3 for Billing.
  4. Then, based on caller input, the IVR transfers the caller to the next available agent in the selected department.

Benefits of cold call transfers:

  • Quick, automatic, and accurate transfers
  • Can handle multi-level transfers
  • Round-the-clock and after-hours support
  • Offers self-service options

How to Transfer Calls

Most phone service providers will offer this ability – both cold and warm transfers – with their phone service. So, check with your existing provider. If you can’t transfer calls the way you want, you can always look for a VoIP provider who offers it along with other cloud calling features.

Providers like Global Call Forwarding include Attended Call Transfer and Advanced IVR with our phone number plans. Once subscribed to our service, you can use our IVR manager to set up automatic transfers or use our Softphone to transfer calls within your network.

A screenshot that shows how warm transfer works.

See how easy it is to transfer calls with the GCF softphone.

Want to see it in action and decide between cold vs warm transfer for your business phone system? Our telecom experts are here to help! Request a demo or sign up for a free trial.

What is Hosted IVR?

Need an automated voice response to answer incoming calls and help callers reach the right agent? A hosted IVR can help your business manage incoming calls more effectively so that your teams can provide service without any interruptions. Learn more about how this feature works and where to get it!

Understand Hosted Interactive Voice Response Solutions

Interactive voice response (IVR) systems are often offered as part of a business phone service or cloud telephony package. As such, you will use no-code IVR software to create and manage call flows through an online portal.

This cloud telephony feature is also called cloud IVR or advanced IVR.

What is Hosted IVR?

Hosted IVR is a cloud-based automated voice response system that answers and interacts with callers to route them to the right department or agent.

Cloud phone service providers offer this feature so that users can manage incoming call flows and effectively distribute inbound calls among different agents, departments, locations, and ring groups.

An example of hosted IVR:

Upon receiving an incoming call, the automated voice response answers it and interacts with the caller. It tries to find out why the caller is calling by offering a series of preset menu options, such as “Press 1 for X, Press 2 for Y.”

Then, based on caller input, the hosted IVR automatically routes the caller to the requested destination. All of this takes place without the help of an operator or receptionist.

How Does an Automated Voice Response System Work?

Hosted IVR is a cloud communication solution. In other words, it is a service that works over the internet and is hosted by a provider. So, to use it, you will first need to get the service from a cloud phone provider.

Once you have access to the feature, you will log in to your phone service account and use an IVR manager or call flow designer to create your hosted IVR system.

Through this interface, you can add your custom call flows and routing rules through (commonly offered) trigger actions such as:

  • Add a phone menu – different options you want to provide to callers
  • Forward call to – phone number, ring group, voicemail
  • Record voice messages – instructions, navigation, company info
  • Add ring groups and call groups – different departments, locations, remote teams
  • Play an announcement – new company policy, updated hours
  • Route calls – time-based, location-based, caller ID-based, custom routing rules.

Move these triggers around to create a custom flow for your incoming calls.

Need an example? Watch how Global Call Forwarding customers can create call flows in our IVR manager.

A diagram showing hosted IVR.

What are the Advantages of Cloud IVR?

The main benefit of using a hosted IVR service is how it helps a business offer better customer service. You can design optimized call flows that distribute calls effectively and ensure callers receive support quickly.

Here are the top reasons why businesses use IVR:

  • Easy to set up and manage
  • Customizable options with multiple triggers and actions
  • Automate inbound call processes
  • Support fluctuating call volumes
  • Reduce the number of missed or abandoned calls
  • Set up phone menus and create call flows specific to your business
  • Balance team workloads and increase productivity
  • Set up advanced routing and failover strategies
  • Offer after-hours support and self-service options
  • Reduce wait times and improve overall caller experience

How Much Does Hosted IVR Cost?

The cost of an IVR depends on a few different factors, such as:

  • Nature of charge: Included with your phone service vs charged separately.
  • Deployment: Built and managed on-premise vs hosted by a cloud provider.
  • Number of business lines: Multiplied by the number of business phone lines you want an IVR for.
  • Setup and configuration: Easy-to-design, low-code software vs complicated software that needs paid training.
  • Cost of voice recordings: Free recordings done on your own vs buying recordings through online audio services.

Based on how you manage your service and set it up, you can expect anything from $7.95-100/month.

An example of how much IVR costs with Global Call Forwarding:

Global Call Forwarding IVR Costs
Nature of Charge Included with your phone number plan; no additional charge Starts at $7.95/month
Deployment Hosted by us Free
Number of business lines Included with your phone number plan; no additional charge Depends on the price and amount of phone numbers
Setup and configuration Low-code software is easy to manage; set up on your own or request assistance for free Free
Cost of voice recordings Record on your own or as priced by professional services, including add-ons like music, fast delivery, etc. Free OR as low as $50 per 75 words or $20 for 10 seconds

How Do You Build an IVR System?

So, where can you get hosted IVR and how do you get set up?

First, find a cloud phone service provider if you don’t already have one. Look for a provider that offers IVR as part of their feature set.

Global Call Forwarding offers hosted IVR with all of our virtual phone number plans. Get a new business phone number with us or port your existing number.

Then, you can use their IVR editor to design your IVR as needed.

Log in to your control panel to use our Call Flow Builder to build out your IVR system. Our 24/7 tech support is available to help you create an automated system that works best for your business communication needs. Test and update your call flows as required.

Advanced IVR Solutions with Cloud Calling

Get advanced cloud IVR with Global Call Forwarding and build a phone system that supports your business’ call volume. Improve caller experience by efficiently distributing calls and providing service when your customers need you most.

Call us at +1 (561) 908-6171 or sign up online!

What is Cloud Communications?

Looking for ways to upgrade and expand your business communication system while improving caller experience? Cloud communication services bring greater flexibility, scalability, and functionality to existing systems. This makes them easy to adapt and use. And, it’s a cost-effective way to reinvent the way your business communicates.

What is Cloud Communication?

Cloud communication refers to the ability to communicate using internet-based tools and services. And a cloud telephony provider is a company that offers cloud-based communication services such as Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), video conferencing, instant messaging, and more.

Examples of cloud communication platforms include Global Call Forwarding, Skype, Google Hangouts, 3CX, and more. These platforms allow users to communicate in real-time using either text, audio, or video – all through the internet.

A diagram showing the different types of cloud communications.

How Does it Work?

Cloud communication enables the virtual sharing of information and data between two or more parties. In most cases, data may be stored on physical servers while the service itself is hosted and managed by a cloud provider.

As mentioned above, this can be done in a number of ways. With cloud communication services, you can make and receive calls, send texts and emails, conference via video, or store data.

VoIP and Virtual Phone Numbers

One of the most common cloud communication tools is voice over IP or VoIP phone services. VoIP uses the internet (instead of traditional PSTN lines) to transmit calls from one endpoint to another. By using the internet, calls travel faster and at a higher quality, making them a preferred option for business communication.

Virtual phone numbers are often used in conjunction with a cloud-based phone system. Unlike a traditional landline phone number, you can use a virtual number with any device that has an internet connection. And you can get a variety of business phone numbers (including local, international, and toll-free numbers) from different countries worldwide.

Together, these make a versatile option for businesses that have employees working remotely or who need to be able to easily connect with customers and clients around the world. Additionally, businesses in new markets can use virtual phone numbers to create a local presence.

Benefits of Using a Cloud Provider for Business Communication

There are many benefits to using cloud communication, but some of the most notable include advanced features, increased flexibility, scalability, and cost savings. Let’s take a closer look:

1. Advanced Features

Cloud communication services come with a variety of advanced features — from automatically routing calls across multiple locations to screen sharing for video conferences.

All of these features help teams communicate effectively with other employees as well as customers. Check out all the business calling features Global Call Forwarding offers.

2. Increased Flexibility

One of the biggest benefits of cloud communication is that it allows businesses to be more flexible in how they communicate. This is because there are no physical limitations on where communication takes place. With VoIP, for example, calls can be made from anywhere with an internet connection. This means that employees can work from home, on the road, or even from a different country and stay connected with colleagues.

3. Scalability

Another major benefit of cloud communication is that it’s highly scalable. This means that it easily scales up or down to meet the changing needs of a business. For example, if a company is expanding and needs more employees, it can add more users to its VoIP system. On the other hand, if a business is downsizing, it can remove lines from its VoIP system to save on costs.

4. Cost Savings

Finally, cloud communication can also help businesses save money. This is because many of the tools and services used for cloud communication are subscription-based, so businesses only have to pay for what they use. Additionally, since cloud communication isn’t restricted to one location, companies can avoid the costs associated with long-distance calls.

How to Upgrade Your Phone System to the Cloud?

Interested in upgrading your business communication to the cloud?

The first step in your transition to the cloud is selecting a cloud communications provider. There are many options available, so be sure to do your research to find one that best suits your needs.

For example, if you want to upgrade your business phone system, look for a VoIP provider or a video conferencing service that integrates into your existing system.

Shop around for prices and features, and pick a provider that meets your communication needs.

If you’re a growing business, be sure to look for a provider that can offer scalability and support your global expansion plans.

Then, set up your new service. Most cloud providers offer number porting or data importing services. This is where you bring a service or data from your older provider to the new one.

For example, you can port your phone number or import business contacts into your new service.

This makes the transition smoother with less downtime.

Cloud Telephony with Global Call Forwarding

Ready to take your business communications to the next level? We at Global Call Forwarding can help you build out your communication stack with advanced business calling functionality.

Call us at +1 (561) 908-6171 or chat with one of our cloud telephony specialists today!

What is a Phone Menu? (Benefits & How to Set Up)

Want to create a responsive and easy-to-navigate phone system? Start with your phone menu to improve caller experience. After all, that’s the first impression your business makes on a customer, and it is an opportunity to cultivate trust.

In this post, we’ll look at what a phone menu is and how you can create one within your interactive voice response system (IVR).

Using a Phone Menu for Small Business

Businesses use automated voice response systems such as IVRs to provide callers with information and then route them to the appropriate department or individual. To do this effectively, the IVR must present the caller with a phone menu.

What is a Phone Menu?

A phone menu is an automated voice greeting that offers menu options to callers through their dialpad and then routes them to their desired destination. Other names include phone tree, call flow, and IVR menu.

A phone menu can have multiple options such as:

  • Departments (sales, customer service)
  • Services (leave a voicemail, get information), and so on.

And, to provide these options, you can use any of the following actions:

  • Play an announcement or recorded message
  • Set up automated and/or attended call transfers
  • Set up call routing strategies
  • Send calls to voicemailSend faxes to emails, etc.

How to Get it?

To use and customize your business’ phone menu, you will need an IVR setup. Most VoIP providers offer IVR as part of their cloud telephony package.

Global Call Forwarding, for example, offers Advanced IVR along with each of our phone number plans. You can then use our Call Flow Designer (IVR Manager) to create custom call flows and phone menus.

Benefits of an IVR Menu

So, what can your business do with a customizable phone menu? Here are a few benefits of hosted IVR for any business:

  • Direct callers to the most appropriate departments
  • Manage and distribute calls effectively
  • Balance workload within the team and increase productivity
  • Manage fluctuating call volumes
  • Offer after-hours service with routing and voice messages
  • Remain accessible at all times
  • Improve caller experience and reduce abandoned calls

How to Set Up a Phone Menu?

Before you start setting up a phone menu, keep these things in mind:

  • Identify what callers need from your business when they call you
  • How you want to provide these services to them

If prospects and customers call for different reasons, then you will need to expand your IVR menu to assist different requests. And that will determine what you need from your phone service provider.

Now, let’s go over how to set up your IVR phone menu:

1. Choose a Business Phone Number or Line

First, if you have multiple business phone lines, choose the one you want to create a phone menu for. Additionally, you can assign multiple phone numbers to the same menu by simply forwarding incoming calls to the phone number with the IVR setup.

If you don’t already have a business phone number, you can get one quickly. Purchase one from a cloud telephony provider like Global Call Forwarding, or port your service to our network and add additional phone numbers.

2. Map Out Your Call Flow

It is not new information that customers can struggle with an IVR system. This is especially true with a phone menu that is poorly designed. It may include unnecessary options, too many options, and may still end up not helping the caller. Yet, IVRs can help so much. So, it is important to create an IVR that is customer-centric.

This means reimagining the customer experience when they call your business. Consider what happens when a call comes in: What do you want the caller to hear? What options do you want to offer them? Which departments and people will be included in the call flow? Are all of these essential and is there enough demand to include them? What happens if someone is unavailable? What options will you offer callers who cannot resolve their requests?

Start with a phone tree template and work your way from there. Here is an example:

1. The caller dials the number
2. Caller hears a welcome greeting. ▾ Caller immediately connects with a person (receptionist). ▾ All lines are busy ▾
3. The IVR menu offers options for caller input Caller connects with the receptionist or available agent. Caller needs to be transferred to the right person or department Callers questions are answered Caller is routed to voicemail
4. Caller chooses an option and the call is routed to the desired department or agent. Callers questions are answered Callers questions are answered End of call
5. Callers questions are answered End of call End of call
6. End of call

For more ideas, check out our call flow templates.

3. Create Menu Options

Once you have everything mapped out, start creating the menu options within an IVR manager.

Global Call Forwarding customers can drag and drop different triggers and actions according to your needs. You can also create ring groups with essential phone numbers and email addresses. And you can record or upload voice messages for different stages of the call flow.

A screenshot of phone tree menu options.

4. Set Routing and Forwarding Rules

With the menu options in place, you can decide how you want to route incoming calls. This depends on how your business operates and where your teams are located.

Here are a few popular routing strategies to consider:

  • Time-based – route calls to specific offices, lines, or employees based on the time of the call.
  • Location-based (caller ID routing) – route calls based on the caller’s location or caller ID.
  • Simultaneous ringing – route and ring calls on each device within a ring group.
  • Sequential forwarding – ring calls one after the other on devices within a ring group (provided the previous doesn’t answer).

With these custom rules, you can set up additional 24/7 service with Business hours and after-hours routing or a Follow-the-sun support model.

Still don’t know what the right routing strategy is for your business? Chat with our telecom experts. We can help you set up a call flow and IVR menu that works best for your business needs.

5. Test Your Phone Menu

Finally, test your menu to ensure everything works according to your plan. In fact, even after your phone menu is live, you may want to collect feedback from callers to understand how they interact with your IVR.

Getting IVR Support with Global Call Forwarding

Since our plans come with IVR, we’ve built an intuitive and easy-to-use call flow designer where users can customize and manage their call flows and menus. You can access this within your Control Panel and use our guides to build a phone menu that meets your customers’ needs. And if you need additional help, our tech support team is available 24/7!

Want to set up an advanced IVR system? Purchase a phone number or speak with one of our experts! Call us at +1 (561) 908-6171 or chat with us online.

What is Telephone Number Mapping (ENUM)?

A brief overview of telephone number mapping (ENUM), its connection to E.164, and how it fits within VoIP and SIP communication systems.

Understanding ENUM

Most 11-digit phone numbers are part of a global numbering plan specified by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) in Recommendation E.164.

ENUM stands for telephone number mapping. It unifies the international PSTN with internet addressing. And, it defines how to use the Domain Name System (DNS) to locate services associated with E.164 addresses. But what does this mean, and why is it relevant?

Let’s dive in!

What is Telephone Number Mapping?

Telephone number mapping is the process of pairing telephone numbers with internet identification and addresses. Specifically, ENUM (E.164 number to URI mapping) translates phone numbers into internet addresses (URL or IP address), allowing users to dial a phone number and reach a SIP or IP telephony destination.

A server supported by ENUM will search for the dialed phone number within the ENUM tree of the DNS. It does this to see if there is an alternate way to connect the call. If a SIP address exists for that number, the call routes via the internet or IP. Otherwise, it routes normally through the PSTN.

ENUM Registration & Rules

Users must register phone numbers for ENUM just like they would register for a domain. However, many VoIP providers offer to do this for free.

In most cases, you will need to complete the standardized ENUM request form, which is then registered with the International Telecommunication Union, Telecommunication Standardization Sector, and Telecommunication Standardization Bureau (ITU-T TSB). Once registered, the number is ready for international use.

You can then decide and choose rules for how calls should be routed. In fact, you can set up and define specific routes for several call types.

How Global Call Forwarding Can Help

Global Call Forwarding is a cloud telephony service provider. In other words, we help users make and receive calls through the internet and with cloud phone numbers.

You can use our service and Softphone to reach a SIP or IP destination, or to call another VoIP user through their SIP address.

We can provide consultations and solutions to help you with your business calling needs. Want to learn more about telephone number mapping? Call us at +1 (561) 908-6171 and to learn about our international voice service.