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How to Forward Your Calls to an Answering Service
Aaron Boatin

By: Aaron Boatin on April 11th, 2024

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How to Forward Your Calls to an Answering Service

Customer Service | How Answering Services Work

This blog was originally published on 3/24/23 and has been updated for relevance.

If you’re looking to forward calls from your device to an answering service but feel lost - that’s okay! It can seem confusing as you read about what kinds of call forwarding options are out there.

As an answering service company that’s helped many people set up call forwarding on their device, believe us when we say setting up call forwarding is fairly straightforward. In this blog, we’re going to show you what the main options of call forwarding are. Then, we’ll send you off with a few links if you’re looking to set it up on your own or with your answering service.

So, let’s take a look at the 4 types of ways you can forward your calls to an answering service:

  1. Basic Call Forwarding
  2. Call Forward No Answer
  3. Busy Call Forwarding
  4. VOIP Call Forwarding

Now, let’s dive into how they work, and we’ll see which one is right for you.


Basic Call Forwarding

Basic call forwarding allows you to turn on and off call forwarding using a special activation and deactivation code. Unfortunately, phone companies can’t seem to agree on a common code system so it’s important to check with your phone company on what the call forwarding codes are for your phone service.

While many are different, there are still common call forwarding examples we can look at. A common activation code is *72 which you would enter followed by the 10-digit number you want to forward to.

You’ll either hear a confirmation tone indicating call forwarding is set or a ringing. If you hear it ringing, make sure to wait until the line is answered either by a person or a voicemail greeting.

To deactivate it, a common deactivation code is *73. Hit that on the dialpad and you would have turned call forwarding off.

Pros of Basic Call Forwarding

You send all your calls to the “destination” phone number on the first ring. And if you receive multiple calls at once, they’ll all go to the “destination”.

Cons of Basic Call Forwarding

You’ll always have to remember to turn call forwarding on and off. If you don’t, your callers will not be served and will be stuck with a ringing tone on their end.



Call Forwarding No Answer

Call forwarding no answer means the calls coming into your business get forwarded when there is no answer.

But, what does “no answer” mean?

Pretty much, if after a set of rings (which you decide) the call is still not picked up, the call is then forwarded to the “destination”.

So let’s say you set the amount of rings to 3 and turn on call forwarding no answer. Now, someone calls into your business, ringing the phone, but no one picks up because you’re at a meeting. One ring…two rings…three rings - then immediately the call is forwarded to the “destination”.

Pros Of Call Forwarding No Answer

This call forwarding option is on by default - 24/7 - because you’ve set the amount of rings before it gets forwarded. So, you won’t have to worry about whether or not call forwarding is on if you’re out of the office or if you’re just busy!.

Cons Of Call Forwarding No Answer:

If you set the call forwarding to kick in after a high number of rings, the caller experience may not be great. Set it to too few rings, and you would have to rush to your phone every single time to answer the calls or risk paying more every month to your answering service for taking the calls.

Let’s say you set the amount of rings to 4 rings. A call coming in is then forwarded to the answering service and they answer on the second ring. The caller has experienced 6 rings. To most answering services, answering under 4 rings is desirable. This may make your company’s customer service look poor.



Busy Call Forwarding

Busy call forwarding means that the calls from your business get forwarded to the “destination” if your phone lines are busy. So, if you’re on a call and someone else calls in, they don’t hear the ‘busy signal’ and have their call forwarded immediately to the “destination”.

Pros Of Busy Call Forwarding:

Your callers don’t hear the ‘busy signal’ if your phone lines are engaged. They receive continuous support from your business and are more likely to be satisfied with their customer experience.

Cons Of Busy Call Forwarding:

Unless you want to be the one to answer all your phone calls, there really isn’t a drawback!

Pro Tip:

Remember to verify what the actual codes are to activate and deactivate call forwarding features as they vary by telephone service provider.


VOIP Call Forwarding

If you use a VOIP or cloud based phone system, chances are you'll have more call forwarding options. Many phone companies today allow you to call forward based on a schedule.

For example, you can set the schedule to be Monday through Friday, during business hours, where the calls would be sent to your office. Then, during after hours, or over the weekend, calls coming into your business are automatically forwarded to your “destination” of choice - usually an answering service.  

Pros of VOIP Call Forwarding

Extremely convenient if you abide by the schedule you set.

Cons of VOIP Call Forwarding

If there’s an anomaly in the schedule like holidays, weather events, or power outages, you’ll have to manually call forward your phones.

Pro Tip:

When transferring calls from a VOIP service, set the transfer to 'blind transfer'. When phones are set to 'supervised transfer', the phone call can be sent back from the answering service and to your phone system's voicemail.

Instructions For Forwarding Calls on Your Device

Here are call forwarding instructions to most of the major CLEC and VOIP telephone providers. If you don't see instructions for your phone company, contact us and we will update our list to include your provider along with instructions on how to call forward using it.

Aircall Call Forwarding

AT&T Call Forwarding

AT&T Wireless Call Forwarding

Cincinnati Bell Call Forwarding

Comcast Xfinity Call Forwarding

Consolidated Communications Call Forwarding

Cox Call Forwarding

Dialpad Call Forwarding

8x8 Call Forwarding

Frontier Call Forwarding

Google Fi Call Forwarding

Grasshopper Call Forwarding 

Intermedia Call Forwarding

GoToConnect Call Forwarding

Lumen (formerly Centurylink and Level3) Call Forwarding

Nextiva Call Forwarding

Ooma Call Forwarding

Ring Central Call Forwarding

Spectrum Business Call Forwarding

Spectrum Mobile Call Forwarding

T-Mobile Call Forwarding

US Cellular Call Forwarding

Verizon Fios Call Forwarding

Verizon Wireless Call Forwarding

Vonage Call Forwarding

Windstream Call Forwarding

Xfinity Mobile Call Forwarding

Xtream Mediacom Call Forwarding

So, these are the major mobile carriers that offer call forwarding. And now that you know about the types of call forwarding let’s look at whether forwarding your business’ calls is the right thing to do.


Should You Set Up Call Forwarding?

Now that you know what the call forwarding options are out there, we hope you don’t feel worried about setting it up on your own.

However, constantly forwarding calls to your cell phone can feel like a never-ending cycle, blurring the line between work and personal time. Not only can it disrupt your work-life balance, but also limit your focus on strategic tasks that require your undivided attention. So, it’s important to remember that utilizing the kind of call forwarding that saves you time for your business is the right choice.

But, if you think that the ordeal of call forwarding is too much for you, you may want to consider a 24/7 answering service. An answering service can liberate you from this cycle of forwarding calls, ensuring that your calls are professionally handled 24/7 while you regain control over your time.

Now, you may be wondering “What are the best answering services available today?”.

Or, you may want to know "How does call forwarding actually work?"

If you’re curious about the Ambs’ difference, visit our telephone answering services page to see if we can help you free up your time with our award-winning answering service.


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About Aaron Boatin