When building call flows, it is easy to think of the everyday situations, like who is part of which hunt group or how the auto attendant buttons function. There are factors that tend to go unnoticed, and this article will discuss some of them.
Internal, Outbound, and Inbound
There are three directions in which call flow will move across your network. We can explore each one and offer advice on how to optimize their potential as well as highlight any gaps or potential missed opportunities that can be found. This part will focus on the Internal and Outbound call flow portions. A future article will discuss Inbound calls.
Internal Call Flow
Internal call flow represents calls started on your network and going to another point of your network, or calls originating outside of your network transferring within. One of the most important aspects of internal call flow is the extensions that are used to connect the internal callers. Larger extension numbers may be useful in cases where each digit means something, but smaller numbers are easier to remember. This will vary from enterprise to enterprise.
Matters to consider with in the internal call flow are internal music on hold, and any special provisions you may have for internal callers exclusively. You may not need to upload custom marketing messaging for internal callers, for example.
One important consideration is the process of transferring calls. Most systems permit you to warm transfer - to announce the caller before the other party takes over - as well as cold transfer - to just send a call over without permission. Each of these has its advantage and disadvantage.
In general a warm transfer can be used when the first party has information to relay about the call to the next party. If the only information to send to the next party is the fact that they have a call, a cold transfer is usually appropriate.
One final piece to consider for internal call flow is if any sort of zero-out is set on voicemails. This would allow a caller, instead of leaving a voicemail for the party they've reached, have the ability to transfer to someone else who may be able to assist them today. You never want to be a surprised if one of your internal extensions is on a zero-out list, so be forthright and let people know who they will be covering.
Outbound Call Flow
As the name implies outbound call flow refers to calls which originate on your network and terminate out of your network. One of the considerations with outbound call flow is how your Caller Line ID is presented to the party you are calling. Sending an anonymous or a blocked caller line ID won't go far to get others to want to pick up your call.
Most services will allow you to send out the personal color line ID as in username and direct inward dial phone number when you make outbound calls. You can present a group number and caller ID when you make those outbound calls. This could be the 800 number for your business, or the number that will get you to the customer service group of your business. You should become familiar with toll free numbers and virtual numbers to truly appreciate this possibility.
One other consideration for outbound calling is the dial pattern necessary to make those calls. In most you cast services you do not need to dial ‘9’ or any other digit to get an outside line. Because you could directly dial outside of your network you may need to include the area code of your destination number, otherwise known as 10-digit dialing. This is sometimes a learning point when a new system is installed. While it is generally recognized as favorable to reduce the need to dial a digit to enable outside number dialing, some business cultures resist the necessity of the 10-digit dialing.
The next part of this series will discuss the nuances of inbound calls, those calls that originate external to network and terminate inside.