Transfers, Forwards, and Call Parking, Oh My!

difference between transfers and forwardsEvery industry is plagued with some of the same types of problems. For many technologies, one of those problems is the proliferation of wonky, confusing jargon, and the telecom industry is certainly no exception. With such an advanced set of features and functions increasingly available to employees through the advances in the telecom engineering infrastructure, surely there will be some terms and phrases that are a little more hardcore than the average person is able to comprehend. This doesn’t have to be the case. However, because it’s not an uncommon issue, today we wanted to take a moment to review the differences between two commonly confused terms that aren’t interchangeable and represent distinctly different functions for a telephone system. Specifically, today we’re discussing the difference between transfers and forwards in relation to our award-winning Dash Plans.

Difference Between Transfers and Forwards: Transfers

Call transfers are unique in that they can only occur once a call has been connected. Transferring calls refers to the moment when an employee is on a call, and the caller on the other end needs to speak with another employee. That can be for any one of a variety of issues, but the specific definitive facet of what makes a transfer unique to a forward is that it’s always an on-going call. You can actually execute an Advanced Transfer from your Dash VoIP plan in a variety of ways. One of the most popular, and possibly the fastest, methods is to use the transfer Feature Codes directly from your dial pad. However you choose to send a caller to a different member of your team or to a different department, when you are sending caller to continue a conversation with someone else inside your organization, you know you’re transferring them.

Difference Between Transfers and Forwards: Forwarding

Call forwarding is a similar, though entirely different function in telephony. One of the first things to consider when you want to know the difference between transfers and forwards is when the call is received. Like we just discussed, the transfer is when you transition a conversation from one employee to another after the conversation has begun. A forward is different because it can occur either during the conversation using a Feature Code, or more commonly, it is a directive that occurs before a call is answered. Call forwarding is when a caller dials a number but the conversation is sent to a different 10-digit number. This may sound deceptive or confusing, but it’s actually both common and wildly helpful for thousands of businesses. One of the most popular ways to utilize call forwarding is the Follow Me Calling feature on Dash. This is when an employee knows he or she will be moving around in and out of their office throughout the day but still needs to be taking calls. By entering a series of telephone numbers to all of the different devices that employee could be reached at, the Follow Me Calling feature will ring them (either concurrently or in succession per the employee’s preference) until the caller reaches their desired party or the call is sent to voicemail. This is just one of a variety of forwarding methods, but again, the key differentiator is that forwarding can, and often does, occur before a call is answered.

Difference Between Transfers and Forwards: The Grey Area

A variety of of call forwards and call transfers are always included for free into every Dash Account, and they are useful for an ever increasing number of scenarios. There exists, however, two other areas that are similar to, though wholly different from, both transferring and forwarding. First is VirtualPBX Valet Call Parking which is a technique used to put a call on hold in a place where anyone in the organization can answer it. There is also the much larger category of call routing that encompasses a massive amount of variables involved in routing callers to individuals or departments as part of a complex network of extensions at the point of reception. The possible routing options are so vast that it warrants its own blog later, but they can be either automated by factors predetermined by the company being contacted or they can be prompted by a caller inputting information from his or her dial pad.

While the difference between transfers and forwards can seem nuanced at first, as you can see, it refers to a distinctly different set of functions for a hosted business telephone system. You can call it jargon if you want, but no matter how you label it, if you ever need help working through the features of a Dash plan, you can rest assured we’ll be there to help you through the process. In fact, we’re here 24/7/365 for you on both our Customer Support channels and on social media as well. Plus, because there seems to be an entirely different set of nomenclature for both Twitter and Facebook, you can rest assured we’ll be able to help decode your message there, too.

The All New Move Feature Gives You Unprecedented Mobility

Move Feature on DashWe often discuss how Dash Plans were designed to boost simplicity for all employees, regardless of their job function. Fortunately, our intention of democratizing the abilities of a true telephone engineer’s function by enabling everyone to harness the power of cloud-based business telephone systems is being realized for thousands of workers every day. But Dash is more than simply just a manageable interface for a complex technology. We’ve added so much more to the platform that enhances usability even further inspired by the real-life needs of our customers as they share feature requests and beta program feedback on our public facing VirtualPBX Product Roadmap. One of the newest additions to the Dash feature lineup that has come from exactly that process is the inclusion of our all-new Move Feature to our popular list of Feature Codes for intra-call management.

The Move Feature & Dash Feature Codes Explained

Feature Codes are a clever way to execute some of the Dash interface functions directly from your telephone dial pad. Though the Dash interface has won all manner of industry accolades for its groundbreaking simplicity and usability, there are times when inputting a quick command on the phone itself is faster and more convenient. With that in mind, we’ve spent a fair amount of time promoting Dash Feature Codes to our users and their adoption of them has skyrocketed. During this increase in their popularity, however, we’ve been fortunate to receive some useful feedback from some of our power users that sparked an idea for an inclusion to the existing family of codes. Specifically, the Move Feature is one that enables live calls to be sent to and from different devices with just quick touch of the dial pad. Unlike call transfers that are to totally different users or extensions, however, the Move Feature is a way to transition your own conversation between your own devices without interruption. Say you are on a call at your desk that is running long and rather than end it because you need to walk over to another appointment, you can simply press “6683” on your desktop phone and then the call will begin ringing on your mobile device. Once you answer there, the call is automatically transferred to your smartphone and disconnected from your desktop one. Alternatively, you could be on a call on your way into the office on your smartphone and, upon arrival, you need to save the battery on your handheld so you again enter “6683” and then answer the ring that is sent to your desktop phone. It’s as simple as that. Plus, because this is a feature on Dash, it comes to you with the same limitless customization that you’ve come to expect from all of our cloud-based communications. That means that assigning the devices and that work best for you (or for each separate employee) is simple and personal so that everyone has the device sequence that works best for him or herself.

Move Feature Now, New Feature Next

Adding types of functions like the Move Feature isn’t easy, or else everyone would already be able to do it on their existing phone system. But because we’ve got one of the best and most experienced engineering teams in the industry behind us, we can take ideas from the suggestion phase to shipping them to users faster and more effectively than most. With that in mind, what would you like to see added next? While we can’t promise that every feature suggestion will make it to market or will skip to the front of the schedule (we have to draw line somewhere, after all), we’d be thrilled ot hear what you’d like to see added to your phone system. Participating in the discussion on our VirtualPBX Product Roadmap is free and takes nothing more than an idea, so give it a shot if there’s something you’d like to see included moving forward. We’d love to hear from you. If not, you can still always join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook and let us know about your first time using the Move Feature and how you felt about it. We’re looking forward to hearing from you soon and in the meanwhile, enjoy the all new Move Feature and all of the existing Dash Feature Codes!

Feature Codes for Business Phones, Because Life’s Too Short for User Manuals

Feature CodesOver 20 years ago, we started a business with a simple idea; Let businesses harness the power of the cloud for their communications. Of course, there was a lot yet to learn about the technology behind VoIP that was, for many people, still really quite new. But the idea behind that was simple, and sure enough, it turned out to be really quite popular, too! Fast forward a couple of decades and the power of the cloud has been almost infinitely expandable into newer and better business communications platforms. When we set out a few years ago to change the way people interact with their hosted business phones by revolutionizing the design and interface of their VoIP portal, we were motivated by one thing- simplicity. Dash business phone plans accomplish that with ease, and the user-friendly design of the Dash portal democratizes cloud communications like nothing before it. Now you don’t need to an engineer to use your telephone because, come on, it’s a telephone. We didn’t think it should be too difficult. But now, we want to remind you of one of the less glitzy but equally important features of Dash that make it so simple to use, specifically, Feature Codes.

Feature Codes for Dash

We built Dash to be as easy to navigate as your own office space. With well-designed menus that offer logical and intuitive pathways to managing your phone system with ease, we’re confident you won’t find a more user-friendly system out there. But what if you don’t even want to log into Dash to manage calls and features? We get it, sometimes life is really too short to be fiddling around with anything other than the conversation in front of you. For those times, it’s useful to know which Feature Codes to use to get the job done right from your phone. That’s right, as long as your VoIP desktop phone is provisioned for your VirtualPBX Dash Plan, which, assuming you’re using Dash, is guaranteed, you can complete a variety of functions right from your dial pad. Want to forward a call? Just pressing “*72” makes that no problem! Sending a caller to voicemail? You can “**” them right there in a jiffy! In fact, you can complete such an array of functions with Feature Codes that you could even consider jotting them down so you can remember them all. Wait, it turns out we’ve already done that for you here with our Dash Feature Codes cheat sheet. No matter how you remember them, though, it’s a great idea to familiarize yourself with this additional way to streamline your business communications.

What Other Features or Feature Codes Would You Like?

We’re constantly reviewing feature suggestions and trying out our latest beta programs with our customers. If you’d like to contribute to the discussion, too, we’d love to have you. You can add any thoughts you have, sign up for beta programs, or simply just see what we have in the works for new products and features by reviewing our VirtualPBX Product Roadmap on Trello. This is your one-stop shop for all of your VirtualPBX future projects information, and we’re always happy to discuss your thoughts there. Of course, for some of you, you may want to reach out using social media instead, so we’re always around on Twitter and Facebook, too. No matter how you do it, though, we’d be happy to help you save time be it with Feature Codes or another useful VoIP feature. All you have to do is ask!

Free Fax Cover Sheet Download For Electronic Fax

Getting the most out of your complete hosted business communications system is more than having the advanced features and reliable service that comes with an industry-leading 99.999% operational uptime. It’s also presenting yourself to prospective clients and business partners in the best way possible, too. We help out customers accomplish that in many ways with features that create the polished and professional gloss of established organizations, even if they’re operating out of their own garage. And for the record, as an organization that began out of a basement and had to upgrade to a garage, we have nothing but love for our scrappy start-up roots. But for many entrepreneurs, navigating some of the traditional business communications methods can get a bit confusing if they haven’t relied on them in the past. Specifically, faxing protocol is a topic we get lots of questions on because some folks don’t know they need a fax cover sheet much less what should go on it. That’s why we’ve built a free fax cover sheet download and a free fax cover sheet template for you to access right here. With the electronic fax feature included with every Dash Basic, Pro, and Unlimited account, this fax cover sheet download available means you’ve got the last piece of the faxing puzzle in place.

free fax cover sheet

Free Fax Cover Sheet

free fax cover sheet template

Free Fax Cover Sheet Template

Use the Free Fax Cover Sheet As-Is or Customize the Free Fax Cover Sheet Template to Your Liking

Use the Free Fax Cover Sheet

  1. This free fax cover sheet is ready to go! To save it to your computer, click “File”, select “Download as”, then select PDF Document (.pdf).
  2. For each fax you send, you may fill out the cover sheet using the PDF reader of your choice, like Adobe Acrobat or Preview for Mac.
  3. Then, either add this as the first page of whatever document you’re faxing via email attachment, or print it out and place it on the top of pages you’re faxing using conventional paper methods.

Customize the Free Fax Cover Sheet Template

  1. To begin customizing this free fax cover sheet template, click “File” and select “Make a copy…”
  2. Give your document a name, organize it in the folder of your choice, and optionally edit sharing settings.
  3. Now, you may edit your company name and address, add a logo, and make any additional customizations as you see fit.
  4. When you’re finished making changes, click “File”, select “Download as”, then select PDF Document (.pdf).
  5. For each fax you send, you may fill out the cover sheet using the PDF reader of your choice, like Adobe Acrobat or Preview for Mac.
  6. Then, either add this as the first page of whatever document you’re faxing via email attachment, or print it out and place it on the top of pages you’re faxing using conventional paper methods.

You can now use this free fax cover sheet template for faxing across any method available, be it our sleek e-faxing process that can be sent and received right from your email to even the older physical fax machines of yesteryear. The point is that using a fax cover sheet template allows you to adhere to customary faxing conventions that dictate transmissions to be sent with a cover sheet indicating the sender/recipient information, number of pages, and any other relevant information. You can opt to type all of this information in the comments section directly from your computer, or you can hand write it all in if you’re using an older fax machine, just remember to print legibly. Also, if you’re working off of your computer, you can opt to add your company logo as a header on the fax cover sheet as well, but that is not required.

Fax Cover Sheet Templates Are Just the Beginning

Now that you have your free fax cover sheet template ready to download and use at work, what else can we help you with? There’s a chance we have the guides and support to help you navigate the business communications waters already and all you need to do to find out is check with our award-winning Customer Support Team because they have access to dozens of online guides and resources. But, if what you need isn’t readily available, maybe we can get another free template download made for you! Simply reach out to Customer Support or let us know on Twitter or Facebook how we can help you out. We’re always open to new ideas and are happy to help. In the meanwhile, enjoy both the free fax cover sheet download and free fax cover sheet template download and happy faxing!

What’s the Difference Between ACD Queues and Hunt Groups?

Following our recent addition of the all new ACD Queues on Dash, we’ve been getting some increased interest in how businesses can benefit from them. In some cases, those companies have been waiting their entire existence for the sleek and reliable call management that comes from the all-new ACD Queues on Dash, but for others, there has always existed an even more appropriate solution. Ring Groups, also commonly called Hunt Groups, are an alternative option to using a full call queue system like the ACD Queues on Dash that offer plenty of similarities and advantages for the right business over their more enterprising big brother. What else makes them attractive to some businesses is that Ring Groups are already an included feature in all Dash Basic, Pro, and Unlimited Plans. To help companies decide which departmental queue system to use for their business, we have the following comparison of the difference between ACD Queues and Hunt Groups.

VirtualPBX Announces New Call Queues for Dash Business VoIP

What are ACD Queues and Hunt Groups?

To begin outlining the difference between ACD Queues and Hunt Groups, it’s best to make clear the basic function of each. Ultimately, businesses with a growing call volume found it was best to provide easy channels to drive inbound callers to the appropriate parties separated by their needs and the directed to the relevant departments. This is also where the term, “Departmental Queues,” comes from as queuing systems are generally divided along departmental and job-function lines. Early queuing systems provided by legacy telephone companies over copper wires required truly massive footprints to house expensive on-site hardware and were prohibitively costly for all but the wealthiest of businesses. As hosted telecom and VoIP platforms like the modern day Dash Plans began to replicate and improve on call queues, the technology began to become far more widely available to businesses. Along the way, though, and before products like the all-new ACD Queues on Dash were made available, there existed a clever alternative called Hunt Groups, or on Dash as they are still known, Ring Groups. Though the two technologies serve to answer the same general needs for businesses, they go about it differently and have their own strengths.

So What’s the Difference Between ACD Queues and Hunt Groups?

Ahh, yes, the million dollar question. Below we’ll address some of the key differentiations between Ring Groups and ACD Queues and then you should have the information you need to determine which technology is right for your business.

  • Complexity The core variation between the two technologies boils down to their vastly different complexity. Ultimately, Ring Groups are just a collection of extensions that a user selects to represent any given department or queue but remain static until the admin makes any changes. ACD Queues are dynamic lists of agents that can surge and act as backfill automatically per a predetermined hierarchy that admins can adjust as calls are being received. And because business can change on a dime, this means that ACD Queues are designed to react and adjust as call volumes spike proactively, and not necessarily require that an admin make those adjustments for the system.
  • Customization A simple Ring Group can be made as elaborate as the user wants, but the number of options on how to do that is relatively limited. If there is a small organization and everyone shares roughly the same tribal knowledge and autonomy to serve customers, then they all could really be included in each one of the department queues a caller can choose from. From larger organizations where the skills and knowledge base is far more specialized and segmented, the departmental (and therefore the queuing) divisions are much clearer. However, because some departments will have more insight into others than just their own, they can be assigned to serve as backups to any particular queues. For example, Accounts Payable can field calls for Accounts Receivable and vice versa and perhaps Sales will be able to pitch in if Marketing is swamped, as well.
  • Management From a people management standpoint, this is where ACD Queues are head and shoulders above Ring Groups. Admins can use any number of ranking systems to assign to their agents from how skilled they are, how tenured (meaning newer trainees can be given lighter call loads), and of course their skillsets or specialties. Also, ACD Queues allow for custom wrap-up times following calls for agents to properly annotate accounts and prepare for new calls along with a host of other options that all allow for equal and even call distribution among agents. Ring Groups do not have these advanced options available.
  • Distribution Combining all of the above comparisons leads to this next key differentiator. Whereas ACD Queues offer a multitude of options on how a queue’s traffic will be divided among that department’s agents, the same cannot be said for Ring Groups. Ring Groups, instead, simply ring all members of a group simultaneously until one of them answers the call. In a small office, this can be just a small consideration, but as organizations grow, they often find that the surgical assignment of individual calls to specific agents to be a more effective and efficient method of handling inbound callers.
  • Mobility One good thing about both systems is that, because they each operate on the award-winning cloud-based Dash platform, they each enjoy mobility benefits like no other system. All of the respective functions, reporting, analytics, and customizations for Ring Groups and ACD Queues can be accessed and managed from the palm of one’s hand anywhere there is a data or internet connection. This type of physical freedom has opened the doors to a new breed of call center that is completely decentralized and one that accommodates the popularization of the remote workforce.
  • Cost One of the other clear distinctions of Ring Groups and ACD Queues on Dash is the cost of each approach. Ring Groups are included in Dash Plans as just one of dozens of advanced features whereas ACD Queues are a premium feature not unlike Salesforce CRM or Webhooks Integrations that also come as an available option to businesses. Whichever direction a company chooses to go, however, it is abundantly clear that each of these options is wildly more flexible and affordable than anything offered by an on-site telephone option.

Get Started With Better Call Routing

Another similarity that both Ring Groups and ACD Queues on Dash have is that getting started with either is as simple as 1-2-3. In most cases, new users of Dash can be up and running and actually making and receiving phone calls in as little as 5 minutes. Simple head to the Dash Plans page, pick the one that works best for your budget, and you’re off and running. Also, we’re around 24/7 so you can always contact one of our expert Support Staff or even find on social media at our Twitter or Facebook accounts. No matter how you decide to reach out, though, we’ll be happy to help you answer any other questions you may have about the difference between ACD Queues and Hunt Groups, and which will be the right strategy for you and your business.

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