Call Handling Rules: Controlling the Call-In Experience

Virtual Office “Types of Calls”

Just as important as Call Forwarding features, or Menu options, is the suite of critical settings calls “Call Handling Rules”. These “rules” (or settings) determine how callers will be dealt with, what they will hear, and when – basically what callers, most importantly sales prospects and existing customers, will experience when they call in to your main toll-free or local number.

With Virtual Office you are able to control their experience. gives you the ability to make it a pleasant, helpful and productive experience – rather than a disorganized, confusing and stressful one. A great way to NOT lose potential customers, or alienate existing customers!

There are several “types of calls” in your sales enhancement and customer retention arsenal:

Your All Calls (#1) feature type routes all inbound callers to your™ Virtual Office number, in line with the Option or Options you’ve set for yourself in the system.

Your Received From a Contact (#2) feature type routes calls from numbers stored in your™ Virtual Office Address Book. This enables you to pre-determine how you want to handle callers you are familiar with, that are stored in your address book – whether or not it’s a call you want to pick up, or not pick up and route to a specific alternate extension, or person – or simply send to Voicemail. More on Caller ID Routing here.

Your Received During Schedule (#3) feature type allows you to factor in a pre-made schedule when routing inbound calls.™ Virtual Office Schedules allow you to set actions for each phone number in your system based on the day and time a call is received.

For example, a call received during business hours between 9 am and 6 pm might hear your generic Main Greeting, and after business hours hear your standard After-Hours Greeting.

However, you may also want to schedule in an appropriate weekend greeting, to manage return-call expectations for sales prospects and existing customers, so callers will know they may not get a return call until Monday. As long as they know, they’ll be fine. But if they hear, “We’ll get right back to you within the hour!”… and two or three days later they get a call… Well, this might not sit well with some folks.

You might even want to include an “emergency” contact number in your alternate greetings. Naturally, this feature option becomes extremely important during holiday weekends, and throughout the major holidays.

Virtual Office: Call Handling Options

Call Handling Options are the options available to inbound callers. You determine the number your callers push to apply each of these option. This is where you really get to pre-determine the quality of your inbound callers’ experience when they call your business.

For example, you may set it up these options in the following manner –

Forwarding Calls:

You could use your Forward Call feature to send inbound callers to your cell phone, or an employee’s cell phone; or you may set it to bounce from phone number to phone number until they reach you, as with the wildly popular feature, Follow Me Calling.

The Queue – Follow-Me-Calling sub-feature:

Your Go to Queue feature actually places callers in line to be answered by one of your many “queue members” (employees assigned to answer these calls) for assistance.

The Queue feature vastly limits, if not eliminates, lost prospects and disgruntled customers in need of direct contact with someone at your business, who are weary of being on hold too long; or of going into Voicemail too many times. As we all know, this is a recipe for losing new customers or hot prospects.

This feature is absolutely critical for companies who’s very business model itself makes it essential to get prospects or leads on the phone quickly, or they jump off and call the nearest competitor!

Statistically, companies tend to experience far less complaints, and therefore fewer cancellations, when it’s easier for customers with issues to quickly get through to a technical or support person, to get the help they need to resolve the issue at hand.

For small companies like yours, like most customers, this can add up to dollars and cents saved rather than lost – by streamlining your communications processes like this, so you can generate new business smoothly, without technical issues, while maintaining good relations with a happy, well-served customers base. There’s no point in encouraging attrition, is there.
Moreover, sales closing rates tend to be much higher at companies that have rapid, easy phone access to Customer Support, Tech help; Sales reps, Reservations, or other appointment and sales related personnel. Menu:

Sending inbound callers to the Main Menu (“Go-To-Menu”) gives people specific numeric options to get them where they need to go in the system. Some folks make really unique use of the Menu, such as the following long-time customer, who owns and operates a highly successful ‘remote’ (in other words they travel to you) automobile dent repair company. Terrific concept, no? Voicemail Option

Your feature allows inbound callers to leave a message, easily and quickly. Another customer, a pilot who owns and runs a busy worldwide Aerial Photography business discusses his favorite Call Handling Options:

The remaining Call Handling Rules Options are self explanatory: Dial-by-name Directory, which lets your callers easily and rapidly dial the first or last name of the party they are trying to reach using their telephone keypad. Play Recording: lets callers listen to pre-made greetings. Disconnect: simply allows callers to disengage from the line.

It couldn’t be more simple – or more effective during busy work days.


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