How do I direct my customers' phone calls to the correct location?
May 26, 2012 3:11 PM   Subscribe

My store has three locations. People often call the wrong location. Is there a low-cost way to transfer or forward a call to the correct location without forcing the customer to hang up and dial a new number?

-doesn't require us to change our phone number
-doesn't require a recurring charge (or requires a very low one)
posted by Night_owl to Computers & Internet (9 answers total)
Do you have any sort of a PBX system? This is baked-in functionality for most of them.
posted by chrisfromthelc at 3:22 PM on May 26, 2012 [2 favorites]

It's been a long time since I've used a landline, but there are phones like this that list "call transfer" as a feature - maybe someone at an office supply store might know if something like this will work for you?
posted by beyond_pink at 3:51 PM on May 26, 2012

Can you just set up something where you have people choose a location, press 1 for main st, press 2 for second st location, or press 3 for third st location?
posted by belau at 3:53 PM on May 26, 2012

I don't know if this is a universal solution (may work different with your phone company), but I use the three-way calling feature all the time to deal with this sort of thing.

1. Get call that should have gone to another number.
2. Ask party to hold while I transfer the call.
3. Flash the hook to put them on hold and get a dial tone.
4. Dial correct number.
5. Flash the hook again while the other number is ringing to bring the caller into the three-way call.
6. Hang up, turning the three-way call into a two-way call between the caller and the correct number.
posted by radwolf76 at 5:53 PM on May 26, 2012 [4 favorites]

Check with your phone company before trying any tactic, because it varies sometimes. You may also need newer phones, or you may need to find out what your phone is set up to do (the click-to-transfer thing is common but not the only way, and a surprising number of consumer-grade phones have a special transfer button.)

Be aware that when you transfer the call, you may take on the cost of the rest of the call - our city's 311 system was set up by AT&T such that when they transfer calls, the remainder of the call is billed as a 1-800 call (to us) even when the original caller used a local line and called our local number (which costs us just one small charge per call.) It quite seriously ate up a TON of money as a proportion of the call budget, because we only really transferred things like extremely complex utilities questions. I believe we may have had to get the utilities department to help pay for the service to cover that cost, and we don't normally ask for that kind of thing unless it's really worth it.

You shouldn't need to change your phone number, but depending on your account type, there is a non-zero chance that you'll have to change your account number. I've seen that happen twice now, directly connected to (larger scale than this) account feature changes.
posted by SMPA at 7:50 PM on May 26, 2012

Best answer: I am sure you have thought about this but tackle the actual problem first.

Figure out why people call the wrong stores. Eliminate or minimize the causes. Only then would I proceed to cosmetic solutions.
posted by arhammer at 12:48 AM on May 27, 2012

If you're already paying for a phone line, you'd probably want to look into replacing that with a VoIP system (Voice over Internet Protocol). They almost always cost less than what you'd be paying for your landline, you can set up multiple numbers with any kind of call forwarding/tracking variation you can think of - plus a thousand more uses you never thought you'd need. Google search for a business phone systems company in your area, or ask around among other business owners for a good suggestion.
posted by Detuned Radio at 1:07 AM on May 27, 2012

This is probably a bit (lot) overkill, but how about running your own PBX phone system? Some shared hosting providers offer software like OpenVBX as quick install. The software should be able to do what you want and more. The shared hosting should not cost too terribly much (you may already have a website and a server already). A quick google brought me to this page (a bit out of date) but still should give an idea of what can be done.
posted by v1sual.3rr0r at 2:18 AM on May 27, 2012

My apologies. I did not realize running that service required an additional fee on the back end.
posted by v1sual.3rr0r at 2:21 AM on May 27, 2012

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