This is an additional post in a series of hosted VoIP feature spotlights. Parking calls and paging are additional features provided by most hosted VoIP service providers. The utilization of a park feature is necessitated by the fact that with VoIP service there are no more “lines” in play as there are with traditional analog phone systems. Thus, when calls come in, they terminate to the phone that answers the call. To move those calls to another employee, they must be transferred to that employee’s extension or into a park feature.
Park features allow calls to be transferred to park, and then picked up by any other phone on the system. Typically, this involves a park extension (or multiple extensions), and the pick-up routine involves a code, such as putting a * in front of the extension number and dialing it to pick it up. Some VoIP phones, such as the Cisco 500 series, allow for “line appearances”. Depending upon your provider and the phone line-up, they may be able to program a line appearance to provide visibility to calls occupying a park extension, as well as allowing for a one button park pick-up.
It may sound a little confusing. Read my previous post on why there are no more lines with VoIP for more background, but good hosted VoIP service providers can listen to your call flow patterns, recommend whether a park feature is right for your organization, and set it up in a way that is easy to use.
Paging options vary widely between VoIP phones and providers, but it is possible with many VoIP systems to page to the phones. This can be set up to not receive a page when that phone is currently in use, which is commonplace in most deployments. Most VoIP providers can also provide an interface to an overhead paging system, but be sure to alert them to this requirement before you purchase the phone system.
About the author: Mark Greim is the Vice President of Sales and Marketing at sipVine, a provider of a variety of digital phone solutions and services. Mark has extensive experience working for start-up or entrepreneurial organizations and a passion for affordable, reliable, and purposeful technology solutions in those environments.