Author’s Bio: Tom Senkus is a telecom writer that shares his knowledge of the latest advances in cloud-based communications to help make businesses more competitive in the global marketplace. For more information about his published work and his list of writing services for forward-thinking businesses, visit www.tomsenkuswriter.com
Is your organization looking to expand its operations worldwide? If so, you may be wondering how to process inbound calls to make your organization more effective and seamlessly integrate new customers into your business. In this article, we will cover a variety of ways to forward incoming calls internationally, especially if you volunteer abroad. First, let’s cover how call forwarding with virtual phone numbers works.
How Call Forwarding Works
Call Forwarding is a relatively simple concept. When a call is made to a virtual phone number, the call is rerouted through the cloud and redirected to another destination phone number. In its most basic usage, calls using VoIP and other cloud-based technologies are already forwarding calls through the Internet and reproducing conversations in real-time. However, with other call forwarding technologies (see below), there can be a multitude of ways to redirect calls.
Forwarding Calls Internationally with Virtual Phone Numbers
What makes this all possible is the advent of virtual phone numbers. Available from a variety of service providers, virtual phone numbers serve as a type of overlay to normal telecommunication. This is best illustrated as an example:
Suppose you have a business based in Canada, but you’d like to access markets in the United Arab Emirates. By using a United Arab Emirates virtual phone number, calls made to this number by Emirati residents will be forwarded to your destination phone number in Canada. This means that your business is able to sidestep a number of obstacles that would normally make forwarding the call difficult or impossible, including:
- Long distance fees
- Service blockages
- Financial restrictions of potential customers
- Preferences of customers to deal only with domestic businesses
So, now that you understand how call forwarding works, let’s take a look at some more intricate ways to forward calls to enhance your business model.
Time of Day Routing
As a popular add-on available from many service providers, time of day routing enables you to forward incoming calls to different destination phone numbers based on the time of day that calls are placed. For calls that occur outside of regular operating business hours, time of day routing can forward calls to international locations that are in more favorable time zones. Similarly, you can forward calls to an automated voicemail, or even establish a PBX (Private Branch Exchange) directory to enable customers to forward their calls to the extension they need.
Also, for entrepreneurs that want to set definitive hours to establish a work-life balance, time of day routing is essential. It ensures that calls made to your personal phone number are rerouted without interrupting your personal life.
Because your organization will experience varying levels of call volume throughout the day, having the ability to forward calls to other departments that can process the incoming call is vital to ensure the best customer service. Using a virtual phone number add-on called “failover forwarding,” phone calls will first ring the initial virtual phone number that the caller dialed. If the call isn’t answered in an appropriate time frame, the call will then forward to the next available phone number on the list (and so on). This enables calls to be eventually answered by one of your available staff members or voicemails as needed.
Virtual phone numbers are available in a wide variety of types, each with their own functionality and usage. And one of the most popular types of virtual phone numbers are toll free numbers. While they work within domestic markets and for domestic callers, international callers face a number of obstacles, including long-distance fees and service blockages by calling outside of their network – which defeats the purpose of offering toll free calling.
However, ITFS numbers present a call forwarding solution. Short for International Toll Free Service numbers, ITFS number enable toll free calling for international callers while the call is forwarded to another country. Best of all, ITFS numbers feature the same number prefix that international callers recognize, aiding your company’s localization efforts.