What Is Business Call Forwarding & How Do You Set It Up?

November 27, 2023 9 min read

Jeremiah Zerby

Jeremiah Zerby

business call forwarding

Call forwarding lets businesses grab opportunities from the moment they “ring.”

Imagine you’re a traveling salesperson. Always on the move, meeting clients day in and day out. If a client calls your office number, you can’t let them land on voicemail or drop the call. 

Your response is crucial for the relationship you have with them. Call forwarding features help you answer incoming calls and ensure they reach the right person or device.

Whether in a car or a coffee shop, you can rest assured that business calls are answered.

What Is Business Call Forwarding?

Business call forwarding transfers incoming calls to another local number or mobile app. Multiple call forwarding rules work together and can be combined to route calls efficiently and accurately. 

The destination can be a Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) number, a landline or a telephone number, a mobile phone, a virtual phone system, an international number, or an auto attendant. Call forwarding makes calls follow you wherever you go. 

In a VoIP system, call management is instantaneous, preventing customers from facing any delays. When a customer calls your toll-free or VoIP number, the communications platform receives the call, checks the forwarding rules, and directs the call accordingly. 

Cloud-based phone services respect your preferences in deciding who should get the call when the original number is busy, offline, or in typical situations where your team members can’t answer.

How it differs from traditional call forwarding

VoIP-based call forwarding differs significantly from the traditional call forwarding options. Opting for the former gives you ample flexibility, features, and customization capability. 

Traditional call-forwarding systems might shy away from meeting your company’s needs, but a VoIP service doesn’t.

Here’s how VoIP stands against traditional call forwarding: 

The traditional call forwarding service lets the client know that a call is being forwarded. A study by Zendesk in 2020 found that call transfers between departments irritate seven out of 10 customers. 

Business VoIP providers such as Nextiva help you avoid delivering such experiences to customers by making call transfers quick and easy. 

Business call forwarding software screenshot - Nextiva

How Business Call Forwarding Works

Business call forwarding works through a three-step process to ensure you answer important calls:

For a larger scale application, such as in a call center, inbound calls can be routed based on the virtual phone number dialed, auto attendant selections, and call center agent skillsets. Calls are often dropped back into the call queue when call center agents are unavailable.

Common Business Call Forwarding Rules

Cases for forwarding calls can be different for large and small businesses.

Some might pair it with call routing, queuing, or interactive voice response (IVR), while others use call forwarding to redirect calls when they’re on vacation and go out of the office. 

The rules below help you configure call forwarding settings based on your preferences. 

Call forward always

You can set this rule to automatically forward all incoming calls to another device or number. The rule typically helps when you go out of the office for a longer duration, say a vacation. 

With VoIP set to “Call forward always,” you can take business calls on a cell phone.

Choose a designated number and let your VoIP service provider take care of the rest. Some systems notify the original number when they forward the call. You can view these notifications on the VoIP interface. 

💡Did you know? Nextiva’s VoIP lets you forward calls for a user, group, or an auto attendant. And it’s easy to set up — see for yourself

Call forward selective

Based on set rules, you can selectively route individual calls to a particular number.

Suppose you’re leaving the office for a few days but want to make sure you get calls from your key customers. Add their number to VoIP and forward their calls to your mobile. 

With Nextiva’s VoIP call forwarding, you can get a ringback reminder whenever it forwards the call. It helps you hold onto potentially valuable opportunities while keeping your fear of missing out (FOMO) in check. 

Here’s how Nextiva helps you forward calls from selective customers. 

Call forward when busy 

If you’re busy on another call or simply taking some downtime, this rule helps redirect calls to another number and even a voicemail box. It’s super helpful when you have disabled call waiting or the business phone system is napping on the do not disturb (DND) mode. 

With a VoIP service, the callers won’t get the busy signal as the system quickly redirects them to another suitable device, be it iPhone, Android, or any other device.

Business call forwarding when the line is busy.

Call forward when unanswered

You can configure the VoIP service provider to forward calls to another number when not answered within a set number of rings. It helps prevent callers from landing on voicemail and connects them with another person.

Unanswered calls can easily contribute to a poor experience for the caller. Around 67% of customers drop calls in frustration when they can’t reach the support team. 

Your customers feel more supported when you consciously try to avoid such an experience. 

Here’s an example of setting this rule on Nextiva’s VoIP. It forwards calls after three rings.

Forward business calls automatically after three rings.

🗒 Case Study: Discover how 88.7 The Bridge leveraged Nextiva to step up call forwarding and streamline their communications management. 

“Before our phone numbers were even ported, we were able to forward our calls to temporary numbers provided by Nextiva so we could start using our new system and features right away.”

Kim Willey
Business Development, The Bridge

Call forward when unreachable

There are things beyond your control. What would you do if your entire support or success system shuts down due to an outage? 

You can forward calls to other numbers if the original numbers go offline. This helps you deliver support consistently, even in testing circumstances. 

If your network is unreachable, receive calls on a different number, such as a cell phone.

Location forwarding

When outages happen over a location, it becomes tricky to redirect customers in the same geography. With location forwarding, you can configure VoIP to divert all calls within an area to devices in other offices with a different local area code. 

What Are the Business Benefits of Call Forwarding?

Call forwarding helps maximize productivity, especially when companies adopt a hybrid work environment. It leaves no space to let a call slip through.

Below are some other notable benefits it offers to businesses. 

💡Case Study: EagleRider uses Nextiva to deliver excellent customer service. The software helps EagleRider forward calls to their team in Las Vegas if the original number goes offline or doesn’t answer. 

VoIP Features That Enhance Call Forwarding

Communication management requires more capabilities and functionalities to create a seamless internal workflow. These features come in handy while streamlining a company’s overall business communication management. 

Top VoIP Features for Businesses

Simultaneous ringing

Simultaneous ringing increases a customer-facing team’s chances of picking up the call. Every registered device rings at the same time when people call. Remember, it’s not just the office phone; it’s every device you have set up. 

With simultaneous ringing, there’s a higher chance of you quickly picking up the call from one of the registered devices. For example, your agents can choose whether to pick up a call on the desk phone or the mobile. 

Voicemail to email transcription

VoIP service providers convert voicemail messages to text while sending them to email inboxes. It helps recordkeeping and lets the team quickly scan the voicemail content without listening to complete audio. It saves time. Teams can invest the saved time in activities that further enhance their support quality.

Moreover, a sharable voicemail content helps teams coordinate and collaborate better. This keeps the context consistent even when more than one person engages with the customer. 

Advanced call routing

Advanced call routing directs calls to people more capable of addressing a particular customer inquiry. You can adjust call routing rules based on factors such as a caller ID or time of the day. 

However, the availability of a capable support specialist can vary. It would help if you leveraged the call forwarding technique to redirect calls to another specialist.

Nextiva’s VoIP lets you create more complex call flow paths to manage every call efficiently. 

Call queues

Every customer-facing team engages its customers differently. The VoIP software adds incoming calls to the queue when everyone is occupied. It delivers customizable hold music or messages, encouraging callers to remain patient.

Combine call queuing with call forwarding to route calls to the next available representative who can effectively cater to customers’ needs and use cases.

Interactive voice response (IVR) systems

An IVR system lets callers self-select the department or service they need. You can couple this with call forwarding to route callers to the business line or the personal phone line most suitable for their unique needs. It doesn’t require manual intervention. 

The system automatically sends the caller to the person who would be able to support them, creating an excellent experience for them. 

Interactive Voice Response (IVR) Diagram

Start Forwarding Business Calls Today

Call forwarding keeps your business running even when your team isn’t. Its flexibility works around your business and customer needs, so you never miss a beat.

Nextiva is a top-rated business phone system for a reason. It offers advanced features such as call routing, call recording, call queues, and IVR. It’s easy to set up and use, making it a popular choice for over 150,000 companies

You’re fully supported from the moment you start using Nextiva. Business call forwarding is a breeze, and you can change it anytime.

💪 Upgrade to the best phone service for your business. See how your team works smarter using Nextiva. Get your free, no-obligation quote today.

Jeremiah Zerby


Jeremiah Zerby

Jeremiah Zerby is a marketing specialist at Nextiva. He spent three years on the front lines of technical support, troubleshooting internet and VoIP topics. He moved forward into the technical writing and content creation space. He’s helped set up hundreds of businesses and advised thousands of people with their cloud communications.

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