Using a VoIP provider like OnSIP opens up a plethora of phone-related features that go far beyond your regular old phone system. If you’re new to VoIP, then you probably feel as though you’re up to your eyeballs in unfamiliar terminology. We bet “call parking” is one of them.
Call Parking: A Better Way to Go on Hold
In a nutshell, call parking is a method of putting someone on hold in the cloud so anyone in your organization can take the call. (The traditional way of putting a call on hold meant the call was tied to a hard line—the same phone that answered it.) Once it’s parked, you’re free to make and receive calls without worrying about the person on the other line.
When you park a call, the call gets punted to your company’s cloud and is assigned its own extension. (Think of “the cloud” as a private parking lot for your office only, and only those with access to the parking lot—i.e., employees in your company—can find the parking space holding the call.) Anyone with the extension can pick up the call, and nobody has to remember everyone else’s extension: no botched transfers, no accidental hang-ups, no waiting forever to talk to someone.
Here’s a real-life example of how call parking works: Say someone calls you and needs to talk to the manager. If the manager were at his desk, you would just transfer the call, but instead, he’s walking around somewhere in the store. Rather than running around trying to find him, you can park the call and announce over the intercom that the manager has a call at "x" extension.
The cloud phone system automatically assigns a 4-digit extension to the parked call. Thanks to the cloud, there’s theoretically no limit to the number of calls you can park. (More on this below.)
Now, this isn’t to say that the traditional transfer is dead and gone. If you already know who you should transfer the call to, then transfer away. If you’re not positive the person is at his desk, then do an attended transfer to check.
Why Use the Call Park Feature?
Call parking comes in handy when you know someone is away from her desk phone or if you just want the first available person to step in.
Maybe you don’t know the extension of the person who needs to hop on the call. Perhaps you need to get to someone on a different floor or in an office on the other side of the country. Regardless of the situation, by parking the call, the caller won’t get dropped or immediately pushed to voicemail if the person to whom you transferred him happens to be away from her desk.
Or maybe you need to escalate something to your boss, but she’s chatting in the hallway or getting some coffee. You can park the call and simply message her the extension to pick up at her earliest convenience.
Say the manager your caller’s trying to reach is out of the office, so naturally transferring to her desk phone would be useless. Park the call and allow the manager to call in from wherever she is, using whichever device she has on hand.
You can guess why call parking is profoundly useful in departments like sales or support —it probably doesn’t matter exactly who picks up the call, so the first available person can dial the parked extension.
What if the Call Is Parked Forever?
You can set your system to ring back the call after a predetermined period. That means that after "x" minutes, the system transfers the parked call back to the person who parked it in the first place. Some systems also have the option to send the parked call to voicemail at this point. Ideally, the call gets picked up, but in case it’s not, voicemail is a better option than leaving your caller on hold indefinitely.
Call Parking With OnSIP
Call parking is a standard feature these days, but every VoIP provider has its own touch with configuration. Some have limits on the number of calls that can be simultaneously parked (usually 50). Some have a set time limit on parked calls. Some only let a parked call go to voicemail or ring back when the time expires. With some, only system desk phones can answer, or you have to set up a separate call group, the members of which are the only people in the network who can access parked calls.
OnSIP’s per-user plan has unlimited call parking included, and it's available a la carte with the per-minute plan.
With OnSIP's call parking, you choose how long you want your call to wait in the parking lot and where if that time expires. It can go to voicemail, the attendant menu, an external cell phone not in the system, or ring back to the person who initially parked the call.
Learn more about OnSIP’s Parking Lot and how to customize your call park features in our Knowledgebase.