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Call Flow: It Matters More Than You Think

Believe it or not, call flow should be a large determining factor in the type of products and services you select for your business communications.  Not all products are created equal, and you may be missing a feature that's critical to how you handle calls if you aren't careful.

Call Flow Considerations

Live Answer

Many businesses still prefer to "live answer" their incoming calls, providing a more personal touch to their callers.  This is where a receptionist answers at a central phone, or many phones are programmed to ring incoming calls. Either of these methods ensure that a live representative of your company will answer the call.  In addition, many feature sets will allow these calls to be routed to mobile users as well. That way you will never miss a business call, even if you are out of the office.

Automated Attendant

For high volumes of incoming calls, or businesses than cannot dedicate staff to answering calls, an automated attendant may initially answer your incoming calls.  This method relies on your communication system to provide callers with prompts and allow them to select their call flow themselves.  While this is efficient and very commonplace nowadays, many callers still find it annoying.

Delivery of Calls

Once a call has been answered, it still needs to be delivered to the recipient.  How this is done could very well determine what products or services you need to put into place.  For instance, your receptionist may prefer to "park" calls - a common hold position that can be picked up from anywhere - and then announce the phones intercom or paging system. In that case, you want to make sure your telephone system supports Call Park.  It sounds silly, but not all systems do.  In addition, you want to make sure your system will let you perform an "all page" over the phone's speaker.  If not, you will need to install an external paging system.  These are just a few things you need to think for this one scenario.  Another call flow will have a totally different set of considerations.

Some other features that assist in the delivery of calls are:

  1. Call Transfer - Blind and Assisted

  2. Find Me / Follow Me or similar mobility solutions

  3. Off-premise Transfer

Call flow really needs to be the first thought when planning a communications upgrade or system replacement.  Newer systems are priced and configured by adding features or software licenses to provide functionality.  It's crucial to communicate your desired call flow so that you get the most out of an upgrade or replacement system.  The last thing you need is to realize you need to sink more money into a solution to make it work the way you wanted to in the first place.

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