Call forwarding is a feature in modern telephony that allows you to transfer an incoming call to another phone or to another service. You can, for instance, choose to not answer a call and forward it to a colleague or to voicemail. It's one of the basic features in traditional PSTN telephony but has evolved into an interesting tool for individuals, and especially businesses, with VoIP systems. The call forwarding feature is also often called "call transfer."
Scenarios for Call Forwarding
To better understand call forwarding, what it can do, and how it can help you, let's consider some typical scenarios.
- You're moving out and leaving an empty home or office. At the same time, you don't want to miss any incoming calls on the home or office phone number. Your phone service provider can activate call forwarding on your line to your mobile number, so when the phone rings a certain number of times without an answer, the call is automatically transferred to your mobile phone. This way, you answer calls to your home or office number while not being there.
- You can do the same thing on a mobile phone or smartphone. If calls to a number are so important, forward them to a second phone in case there's no answer, and prevent a missed call. This happens often between spouses or business partners.
- Businesses can channel calls to the appropriate persons or departments through call forwarding based on the extensions dialed by the caller. This is often achieved through IVRs and PBX systems. Customers call the hotline, get informed by the IVR about the different options, which then dials the extension for the desired department, and the call goes there.
- You can use virtual numbers to hide your phone number in case you don't want certain people who have to call you to do so via your personal number. You can set up a virtual number that forwards calls to a private number. Then, you have people call the virtual number whenever they need you.
- Virtual numbers can also help save money on calls. If you make or receive a lot of calls to a remote or overseas area, the communication cost for you and your correspondents, who may be parents or friends back home, can be quite high. You can have a virtual number in that locality to which people call you. The call is transferred to you wherever you are and the callers pay local rates since they dialed a local number. This also works the other way round when you have to call very often to a locality where you have a local number.
- You can forward a call to several telephones if you want to choose where to answer the call from—your smartphone, home phone, computer, or tablet.
- You can also choose not to answer certain phone calls at all and have them directed to voicemail.
Services For Call Forwarding
iNum is a great international service for call forwarding. It makes the world seems like a local village and gives the user a worldwide presence. It's one of the most prominent services that offer virtual numbers.