Get Found with Sequential Call Forwarding

Sequential Call Forwarding
Sequential Call Forwarding

Get Found with Sequential Call Forwarding

If you’re like many business professionals, you’re rarely in one place day-in, day-out. While you likely carry a cell phone with you, you may not want to share your number with everyone for various reasons including keeping your cellular costs to a minimum. How do you limit calls to your cell phone yet stay readily accessible despite your mobile lifestyle? With sequential forwarding.

What is Sequential Forwarding?

Sequential forwarding is a type of call forwarding service that forwards your calls to a series of ring-to numbers in a sequence set by you. If a call is unanswered at the first ring-to number, sequential call forwarding will then route it to the next number in the list. If that number goes unanswered, the call will be routed to the next number, and so on.

For example, if you’re a real estate agent, you may work out of your main office, a branch office, and your home office during the week. In addition, you likely spend a fair amount of time showing clients houses, going on caravan, and attending various business networking events. While you could set your calls to forward to your cell phone whenever you leave your main office, it’s silly (and expensive) to receive cellular calls when you’re sitting at a desk with a landline. Likewise, you may not want to receive cellular calls when you’re grocery shopping or enjoying family time.

By using sequential forwarding, you can set up a ring-to sequence that reflects your most common locations. For instance, you could set your main office number as your primary number followed by your branch office number, home office number, and finally your cell phone. Whenever someone calls your main office number and it goes unanswered, your branch office number will ring. Not at your branch office? Sequential forwarding will try your home office? If the call still goes unanswered, it will try to reach you at your cell phone. Alternately, you could set a voicemail number as your last ring-to number.

How Many Sequential Numbers Can You Have?

Most sequential call forwarding service providers limit the number of ring-to numbers you can have in a sequence to a handful. This is primarily a practical consideration as each ring-to number must be allowed to ring a few times before the call forwards to the next one. If you have too many ring-to numbers in the sequence, your callers may hang up before you’re finally reached.

Sequential Forwarding Considerations

Keep the caller in mind as well as your ability to answer the phone promptly when setting up your sequence. In general, you can specify the number of rings or number of seconds before sequential forwarding will move to the next number.

Finally, consider how each ring-to number is currently set up to handle non-answered calls. For example, if the second number in your sequence is set up to send calls to voicemail after five seconds but your sequential forwarding sequence is set up to forward calls after ten, the call will be sent to voicemail before sequential forwarding has a chance to send it to the next number in the sequence.

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How an International Call Forwarding Number Can Benefit U.S. based Business Professionals

Call Forwarding for Business Professionals
Call Forwarding for Business Professionals

How an International Call Forwarding Number Can Benefit US-based Business Professionals

As a US-based business professional, you likely spend most of your time doing business with other US-based business owners, customers, and partners. Your standard toll free and local phone numbers work fine, allowing you to speak with people from coast-to-coast with minimal costs. However, today’s business world has become increasingly global – and US-based toll free numbers do not work for international callers who need to speak with you. While you could publish your main local phone number, callers from around the world may be uncomfortable dialing it.

Cost concerns and the fact that your number looks odd compared to the phone numbers that they’re accustomed to seeing in their own countries are major obstacles. Fortunately, international call forwarding is a viable and affordable solution to this problem.

International call forwarding works much like an 800 number. 800 numbers essentially forward calls from callers across the United States to your “ring to” number. Callers do not incur costs when they dial toll free numbers; the 800 number’s account holder pays the associated costs and fees.

With international call forwarding, you order a toll free (in a country you require) phone number that is specific to the country where your callers are located. Once you have an international call forwarding number, you then assign a ring-to number to it. Once set up, callers dial a phone number that’s local to their country and the phone rings in the United States at the number you’ve designated.

Why go through the trouble of setting up an international call forwarding number for callers in a different country? For starters, you can expand your service area to include other countries. An international call forwarding number is a low-cost way to establish a local presence in countries outside of the United States. For example, if you want to sell products to customers in Spain, you could advertise your Spanish international call forwarding number throughout Spain. Locals would assume that they’re calling an office in Spain.

International call forwarding numbers are also extremely portable. If you travel frequently and would like to receive phone calls while you’re traveling, you could change the ring-to number of your international call forwarding numbers to ring-to a phone at your current location.

Other useful features include time-of-day routing and local ring tones. Time-of-day routing allows you to change the destination number based on the time the call comes in while local ring tones add to the “local” flavor of the call.

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The Advantages of Toll-Free Call Divert

Toll-Free call divert
Toll-Free call divert

The Advantages of Toll-Free Call Divert

Toll free phone numbers aren’t just for huge corporations. In fact, many solo business professionals and entrepreneurs have toll free phone numbers. However, unlike large corporations with massive telecom budgets, independent professionals don’t necessarily have the resources to man their phone numbers when they’re away from the office. Toll free call divert is the answer.

What is Toll Free Call Divert?

Call diversion is a telecommunications feature that allows a phone service subscriber to redirect, or divert, their incoming calls to another phone number or voicemail. With toll free call divert, this concept applies to a toll free phone number. By default, toll free numbers are already diverted to a designated “ring to” number. Taking that one step further with toll free call divert, the subscriber can change this ring to number as needed.

For example, if you have a toll free number that rings to your home office, you could use toll free call divert to redirect your calls to your mobile phone number whenever you travel on business. The advantages to using toll free call divert are plentiful and include the following:

  • Increased flexibility – Instead of missing calls while you’re away, you can divert them to an alternate number. Similarly, you could use toll free call divert to route calls to voicemail when you absolutely cannot be interrupted.
  • Reduced costs – If you normally use an answering service or hire someone to answer your toll free phone number when you’re traveling on business, you could reduce or eliminate these costs by diverting your calls to your mobile phone or a phone at your current location.
  • Portability – Toll free numbers are among the most portable numbers available due to call divert features. Whether need to divert calls temporarily while on a trip or permanently due to an office move, you can easily do so by changing the ring to number.

How to Divert Toll Free Calls

The specific steps vary based on your toll free call divert plan. For example, some plans allow you to divert calls by entering a code on the phone followed by the new ring to number. Plans with online account management dashboards usually have easy-to-follow prompts, enabling you to quickly change the ring to number online.

Toll free call divert is an easy-to-use feature that can reduce your costs while allowing greater flexibility and portability.

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Rollover Minutes and Call Forwarding Plans

Virtual Number - Rollover Minutes
Virtual Number – Rollover Minutes

Rollover Minutes and Call Forwarding Plans

Thinking about ordering a local, toll free, or international call forwarding plan? If so, one of the options you may want to consider is whether or not the call forwarding plan includes rollover minutes. A rollover minutes option, if available, can provide you with even more flexibility.

What are Rollover Minutes?

You’re likely familiar with the rollover minutes concept thanks to similar offers on long distance and cell phones. Many calling plans, including domestic and international call forwarding plans, are offered in packages where you pay for a pre-determined amount of minutes each month. If you exceed that value, you must pay for the additional minutes you use, often at a slightly higher rate than your bundled minutes. If you do not use up all of your minutes, you generally lose them.

How Not Having Rollover Minutes Costs You Money

For example, let’s say that you have a call forwarding plan with 900 minutes per month. In January, you only use 500 of those minutes. You will have paid for 900 minutes but only used 500 of them. In essences, you’ve overpaid for your usage. Now let’s see what happens in February when you use 1200 minutes. 900 of those minutes will have been included in your call forwarding plan, but you will need to pay for 300 additional minutes at a slightly higher per minute rate.

In this example, not only did you overpay for minutes in January, you had to buy additional minutes in February. If you had a rollover plan, you would have been able to save those unused minutes from January and used them in February. Not only would you be money ahead, you’d still have rollover minutes left to use in March, April, or several months from now. Minutes from each month that you are under your allotment would rollover, allowing you greater flexibility over your call forwarding usage.

Is Adding Rollover Minutes to a Call Forwarding Plan Financially Smart?

Adding rollover minutes to your international call forwarding plan is typically optional and offered for a small monthly fee which could be anywhere from $5 a month to $15 or more per month depending on your plan. In order to determine whether or not this option makes sense for you, you’ll need to examine your usage patterns and do the math.

For example, does your usage fluctuate from month to month or is it fairly stable? If you routinely use just under 200 minutes each month, then AI Telephone’s “Preferred” plan (222 minutes) with no rollover minutes might be suitable.

On the other hand, if your usage goes up and down dramatically each month, being able to “bank” your unused minutes makes a great deal of sense. Once you decide that the rollover option is a possible fit, look at the per month rate for the feature. Will you get more value out of using banked minutes than the fee or does it make more sense to forfeit your unused minutes and pay for overages? Do the math based on your anticipated usage. You’ll likely find that opting for rollover minutes is the financially smarter choice.

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Using White and Black Lists with Your Local and Global Virtual Numbers

Selective Call blocking
Selective Call Blocking

Create White and Black Lists for Your Virtual Phone Number

When calls are forwarded to your global virtual numbers, costs accrue by the minute with rates varying by country. What happens if someone calls your virtual number from an expensive country? What about calls from other countries that are wrong numbers? Unfortunately, unwanted calls can and do occur no matter what type of call forwarding plan you have. Fortunately, you can use white and black lists to allow and block access. Here’s a quick look.

Using White Lists enable Selective Call Blocking

White lists are lists of phone numbers or area codes that you want to reach your virtual number at all times. For example, if you establish a global virtual number in Italy so that your Italian grandmother can dial a local number and reach you no matter where in the world you are, you could place your grandmother’s Italian phone number in your white list and set up your account to block all other calls. This prevents you from being charged for misdialed calls made to your global virtual number yet it allows your grandmother to reach you.

If you operate a local business and serve customers within just a few area codes, you could also use white lists to allow calls from within your designated area codes. This ensures that local callers can reach you while blocking access from callers that you cannot help. For example, if you operate a window washing service in Portland, Oregon, your website could attract potential window washing clients from Portland, Maine. If you receive an excessive amount of phone calls from Portland, Maine, or if you want to avoid that scenario altogether, use a white list to allow phone calls only from the area codes in which you do business.

Using Black Lists with Virtual Numbers

Black lists are the opposite of white lists, though they can be used to accomplish similar effects. Instead of creating lists that allow specific phone numbers or area codes to ring through to your global virtual numbers, you can use black lists to specifically block certain phone numbers or area codes. For example, if your business is constantly being contacted by a disreputable salesperson who won’t take no for an answer or take your number off the list, you could use the black list to block that salesperson’s known phone numbers. You could also escalate your complaint, but blacklisting calls may be faster and more effective.

Similarly, you could block calls from specific area codes. For example, if you have a toll free call forwarding number for the United States, but only serve customers in the continental United States, you could block calls from callers located in Hawaii and Alaska by blacklisting those area codes. You may also want to blacklist area codes such as 876 (Jamaica) that are linked to scams.

Whether to use white lists are black lists or a combination of the two is a personal decision based on how you use your global virtual numbers. It may be easier to whitelist the few area codes or callers that you want to hear from than it is to blacklist all the ones you don’t want to go through. On the other hand, if you only have a few undesirables, then it might be easier to blacklist those and let all other calls go through.

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Benefits of international call forwarding

For companies who want to expand their presence in different countries, it is important for them to have an international call forwarding service.

By providing a customer with a local number within his or her country, you will create a local phone presence and will allow your customers to interact with you easily.

After all, what consumer or future customer wants to buy from a company that requires making an ‘international call’ to ask a question or order a product?  That is why it is a superior sales strategy to offer potential or existing customers a ‘local’ access number in their country.  That local phone number will then redirect their call to you in ‘any’ country and to any type of phone, mobile or landline.

For example, your company could be located in Singapore but you have customers in the UK.  You can own a UK local number and the calls would be redirected to your phone in Singapore (or any country).

By having call forwarding through international toll free or local numbers for each country, you can easily create a local presence. Customers will also be happy to see a number which looks familiar to them, for example if you owned a UK virtual number the dialing syntax would be exactly the same as any other UK local number.

Using an international call forwarding facility does not require on your part to have a local office or local employees to take calls. What it requires is that all the calls are redirected to a number of your choice. This redirecting to a number can be in any form – a cell phone, voice mail, office phone or a call center even fax machine, VoIP or PBX.

Included with your call forwarding number will be a private online account login facility which allows you to change the ‘ring to’ number to which all calls are redirected in the event you need to change it.  For example, change it from a landline in the daytime to a mobile phone in the evening.  The changes occur in real-time.

The process is very simple – when a customer dials a local international virtual number, his call is automatically redirected to a number which you have designated to receive such calls.  The caller ID is also displayed and the caller can hear a local ring tone instead of a ring tone of the ‘ring to’ country.

But there are some complications also in this which you will have to overcome, such as linguistic and time differences. Your call center may be present on the other side of the world, receiving the calls at night at your ‘ring to’ number when it may be daytime on in the callers time zone. Also, calls could be handled by operators who speak different languages. Still, having an international virtual call forwarding number is much cheaper than maintaining a brick and mortar location in another country.

Virtual Numbers – Feature rich service to help you connect locally or Internationally

Whether you have your business or just want to stay in touch with your beloved ones you always need a medium through which you can contact them as and when you want. And there are mediums that we have in the present times that are helping people to take some time out of their busy work schedule to converse with people who matters to them.

If we talk about the past it was beyond imagination for people to even think of getting in touch with people who live far away. The reason was the cost and not enough resources that can provide people with mediums to carry out their conversation. Not only was it a problem for individuals but was a great task for businesses to cater to their clients sitting overseas.

But with the advent of technology many things have changed in the past decade or so. Communication mediums have changed and have gone through major transformations and have become much more advanced and providing people with a cost effective way to connect worldwide. If we talk about telecommunication it has prevailed deep into the life of people. The reason why more and more people are opting for it is the affordability and the services that they get. Services like Virtual numbers are enabling businesses to provide their clients with numbers through which they can call and enquire without being charged with premium international rates. This not only creates a sense in the mind of the clients that the business has a local presence but also help in better business-client association. These services have curbed the need for businesses to set-up their local offices in countries where they operates and have their clients.

For businesses it is very important for smooth proceeding of business operations to stay in touch with clients and giving direction to senior authorities. Not only businesses but individuals have found efficient mediums like conference calling that is helping them to stay in touch with their beloved ones whether they are holidaying or live far away.

It would not be wrong to say that these services have brought significant changes in the way people used to converse. With these services the world has become a small place where nobody is far away. Thanks to the telecommunication advancements that have brought revolution to our lives.