Technology & Roadmap

Call Forwarding vs Call Transfer (Definition, Types and Use Cases)

  • May 20, 2020
  • 2 mins read

Business call centres are designed to handle the complex needs of customer communication. To handle the high-volume calls, they come with advanced features for effective call management – IVR, parallel routing, analytics, tracking and much more. Some of the most valuable features that call centres offer are call forwarding and call transfers. They may sound the same, but there’s a difference between these two and each solves a different problem. In this post, we’ll explain how the two are different.

What is a Call Transfer?

A call transfer happens when a call is transferred from one agent to another after speaking to the caller first. This means that an agent first speaks to the customer and after speaking to the customer, the call is transferred to another agent/department.

When are Call Transfers used?

Call transfers are typically used when a customer calls a business phone for a query. After speaking to the customer, the agent realizes that another agent or department can deal with this query better. The call is then transferred to the corresponding phone extension/number.

The transfer can occur in two ways –

Cold Transfer: Agent A directly transfers the call to agent B without speaking to agent B first. This is helpful when the call volumes are high.

Warm Transfer: Agent A puts the customer on hold and then calls up agent B to brief them about the customer’s requirements. After giving agent B context, agent A transfers the call to them. This way, the customer doesn’t have to repeat themselves again and agent B is able to handle the call more efficiently.

What is Call Forwarding?

A call forward means diverting a call from one number to another directly, without the occurrence of any conversation. The caller may not even notice that the call is being forwarded to another number.

When is Call Forwarding used?

Call forwarding is used both by businesses and consumers. A consumer may use it to forward important calls to another, more accessible number/device. This is done to avoid missing any important calls.

Businesses use call forwarding for many reasons:

1. To maintain a single publicized number as the primary point of contact. They may get thousands of calls to this number per day and all of these are forwarded to one or more call centres.

2. To ensure that no calls are missed in case an agent is unavailable, or if the phone lines are busy.

3. To avoid missed calls due to insufficient network coverage.

Businesses can forward calls in multiple ways:

1. Forward a call to all the agents: When an agent picks up, other agents’ phones stop ringing. This helps improve response times.

2. Forward it to an available agent: The software checks how many calls each agent has taken so far and distributes the calls among agents such that the number is even.

3. Location-based call forwarding: Businesses usually publicise only one number to their customers irrespective of the location of the customer. However, when a customer calls up the said number, the call is routed to the nearest call centre within that state/region based on the location of the caller.


Both call transfers and call forwarding are important features of any business telephone setup. Each plays a pivotal role in helping customers connect with a business to get their issues/queries resolved as soon as possible. If you’re just figuring out the differences between features and need help setting up your business phone system, you can reach us here to book a consultation slot.

Manisha Mishra

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