Business Call Forwarding with Find Me Follow Me

Are you an entrepreneur running a small operation and are trying to keep your costs down? Is your small company comprised of a team of mobile and remote workers? Do you travel regularly for your job? Is there really no need for any outbound calls to be made by you or your employees? If you answered "yes" to even one of these questions, then you can no doubt benefit from business call forwarding services, also frequently referred to as find me follow me solutions.

Find Me Follow Me

What is Calling Forwarding for Businesses?

Call forwarding is pretty much what it sounds like. Incoming phone calls to your primary number are forwarded, at your discretion, to other devices or are intercepted by a virtual receptionist. This means that you do not have to be in any specific location to receive the call. Yes, you can achieve this with a cell phone but when you don’t want to give your personal cell phone number out to customers, that still leaves you with a problem.

With call forwarding, you can select one phone number to give associates, clients and anyone else calling your business. This makes life easy for them as they don’t have to sift through multiple numbers for you or try to remember where you are on any particular day. On your end, you don’t have to worry about missing calls as they will always be routed to you.

How to Forward Calls with Find Me Follow Me

While typical Business VoIP service plans include this as a feature, there are dedicated services that offer only this functionality at a much lower cost. Here is a break down of how this works and why it is a very compelling option for business phone service:

  • Find Me Feature

    Inbound calls are routed to a specific pre-determined number, such as your cell phone number. These calls will always ring to that number on that device. For this reason, having calls forwarded to a mobile phone is best, as for most people, that is the phone via which you are most frequently able to be reached.

  • Follow Me Feature

    Inbound calls can be routed to multiple pre-determined numbers until you are located. This can happen by having calls forwarded to one device at a time (sequential ring) or by having calls forwarded to all other devices at the same time (simultaneous ring).

    For example, if the sequential approach is selected, a forwarded call may ring to your desk phone first. If this is not answered, it can ring to another office location. If that is not answered, it can ring to your Smartphone. If you are unable to answer at any location, your caller will be prompted to leave a voice message.

    If the simultaneous approach is selected, a forwarded call will ring to all of your alternate devices at the same time. Again, if you are unable to answer any of the calls, the caller can leave a voicemail.

  • Auto-Attendant Feature

    Instead of having calls ring various phones at the same time or in order, the auto-attendant feature can be used to immediately answer every call and provide information to the caller. For example, the virtual receptionist will typically provide you with a menu of options to choose from. For example, dial 1 for sales, dial 2 for support, etc. This feature is incredibly popular as it creates a professional, big company perception no matter how small your business is. Your callers will be impressed to say the least.

    An auto-attendant is typically included with a find me follow me type service as it works in conjunction with enabling callers to reach you. While it is definitely not necessary it can help cut down on calls coming directly to your cell phone, in addition to making sure callers reach the right party.

  • Simple yet Effective Service

    To summarize how this call forwarding service works, all you have to do is configure the existing phone numbers that you want the callers to be forwarded to when someone calls your main business phone number. This business number is provided as part of the service or you can use an existing number if desired. You would then choose if you want all the numbers to ring at one time or in a specific order. If you decide to use an auto-attendant, you simply record a few messages then program the system to take a specific action on a specific key selection.

    No new hardware is required and you don't have to pay a monthly fee for every extension (or device) you decide to add. Do note that you will not be able to make outbound calls while your incoming minutes will be subject to the quanitity that is included with the plan that you select.

How to Get This Service

Call forwarding is a feature included in more overarching business phone services, including VoIP plans. There are several providers that offer this functionality. One of the big differences between the available options is the number of extensions included with each plan. With these services an extension is an internal number that allows call forwarding, voicemail and message delivery settings. Some providers such as eVoice also include what they refer to as unlimited virtual extensions. With these there is no voicemail option and calls can only be forwarded to an unlimited number of different devices.

Some plans offer one phone number with several or even unlimited extensions. Other plans offer more phone numbers but with fewer extensions. You can generally use your existing phone number or select a new local or toll-free number.

Some of the leading providers of business phone services offer some form of call forwarding service for smaller businesses. These include Grasshopper, eVoice, RingCentral, OneBox and Virtual PBX. Following is a quick comparison of how these competitors stack up against each other:

Plan Level 1:

Provider Price Phone #s Minutes
Grasshopper $12/mo 1 None
eVoice $12.99/mo 6 300
Ringcentral $12.99/mo 1 300
OneBox $49.95/mo 1 2,000
VirtualPBX $9.99/mo 2 300
Provider Add'l Minutes Extensions Add'l Extensions
Grasshopper 6¢/min Unlimited NA
eVoice 3.9¢/min 5 ?
Ringcentral 4.9¢/min 2 $2.99
OneBox 4.9¢/min 4 $11.95
VirtualPBX 4.9¢/min Unlimited NA

Plan Level 2:

Provider Price Phone #s Minutes
Grasshopper $24/mo 1 500
eVoice $29.99/mo 15 1,000
Ringcentral $19.99/mo 1 1,000
OneBox $79.95/mo 1 3,000
VirtualPBX $19.99/mo 2 1,000
Provider Add'l Minutes Extensions Add'l Extensions
Grasshopper 6¢/min Unlimited N/A
eVoice 3.9¢/min 5 ?
Ringcentral 4.4¢/min 5 $2.99
OneBox 3.9¢/min 10 $9.95
VirtualPBX 4.4¢/min Unlimited NA

Plan Level 3:

Provider Price Phone #s Minutes
Grasshopper $49/mo 2 2,000
eVoice $49.99/mo 30 2,000
Ringcentral $24.99/mo 1 2,000
OneBox $99.95/mo 1 4,000
VirtualPBX $24.99/mo 2 2,000
Provider Add'l Minutes Extensions Add'l Extensions
Grasshopper 6¢/min Unlimited NA
eVoice 3.9¢/min 10 ?
Ringcentral 3.9¢/min 10 $2.99
OneBox 3.9¢/min 15 $7.95
VirtualPBX 3.9¢/min Unlimited NA

Plan Level 4:

Provider Price Phone #s Minutes
Grasshopper $199/mo 3 10,000
eVoice $79.99/mo 45 4,000
OneBox $199.95/mo 1 12,000
Provider Add'l Minutes Extensions Add'l Extensions
Grasshopper 6¢/min Yes NA
eVoice 3.9¢/min Yes ?
OneBox 2.9¢/min Yes $5.95

Notable Ringcentral Features

  • Auto Receptionist
  • Answering Rules
  • Name directory
  • Call screening
  • Internet Fax
  • Visual Voicemail
  • Fax to email
  • Fax on demand
  • Hold Music
  • Call Recording

Notable eVoice Features

  • Auto attendant and receptionist
  • Voicemail transcription
  • Voicemail to text or email
  • Call routing
  • Call screening
  • Call transfer
  • Call blocking
  • Call announce
  • Dial-by-name directory
  • Conference calling
  • Caller ID
  • Inbound fax
  • Hold music

Notable Grasshopper Features

  • Custom greeting
  • Name directory
  • Unlimited call handling
  • Call screening
  • Virtual fax
  • Voicemail to email
  • Fax to email
  • Fax on demand
  • Hold music
  • Conference calling
  • Hours and directions

Notable OneBox Features

  • Extra extensions available from $5.95 to $11.95
  • 100 additional minutes with each additional extension
  • Faxing
  • Web conferencing ($199.95 plan)
  • Call recording ($199.95 plan)

Notable VirtualPBX Features

  • 100, 200 or 500 conference minutes
  • 10, 50 or 100 outbound fax pages
  • $4.99/mo metered VoIP line fee
  • Call recording
  • Dropbox integration
  • Hardware rental
  • Call logs
  • Mobile softphone compatibility

Looking at the above, RingCentral has the simplest and most affordable plan options in this category followed closely by VirtualPBX. While Grasshopper, eVoice and OneBox appear to target a broader range of customers with these specific offerings, RingCentral and VirtualPBX provide a clear upgrade path via a fully hosted Business VoIP solution.

The unlimited number of extensions offered by Grasshopper and Virtual PBX can be good for companies that utilize a larger phone tree setup versus multiple individual phone numbers. If, however, you want a greater number of unique phone numbers, eVoice could be your better bet.

Plans with unlimited extensions may sound great but be sure to understand your typical monthly call volume prior to choosing one of these solutions. Using a lot of extensions while not having enough minutes included will likely result in you getting hit with large overage fees.

Find Your Fit

Today’s options make it easy for you to find a business phone service with robust call forwarding and other features at the price you need. Take advantage of the opportunity to have your teams be more available to customers with this great feature and save on the cost of a regular full featured, hosted service.

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Author: Anthony

Published: by WhichVoIP


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