A robust phone system is the key requirement of every business in today’s time. Whether it’s a small business with fewer employees or a big enterprise, every business needs a phone system that meets its communication requirements. For businesses with a growing number of employees, the need for phone systems also increases. Every new employee requires a unique phone number and ways to connect with their colleagues in other departments or offices. Business phone systems allow employees to stay connected with each other, with the management, and with the customer.
To facilitate better connectivity and faster connection to each other, businesses, the large enterprises must make use of phone extensions. With a phone extension, businesses not only allow their employees to connect with each other as and when required but also provide an opportunity to their customers to reach the person or department they want to connect with, quickly and efficiently. Besides, phone extensions in a business system allow organizations to buy fewer lines than the number of employees they have. They can share a few external lines through extensions.
About phone extensions
Extensions are short numbers assigned by businesses to an individual employee, a department, a team, or a division of the business. It is an internal code that allows users to connect with their colleagues quickly and efficiently. Even the customers can easily reach an agent or department they want to talk to. Due to this reason, this feature is also known as extension dialing. Both the internal and external callers can use the same extension numbers in different ways. For instance, the employees working in the same office can call each other by just dialing the extension number like ‘102’, instead of dialing the full business number. The external callers, on the other hand, can dial the extension number by adding it to the main business number to reach a particular agent or department.
How to use phone extensions?
In the traditional business phone systems, extension numbers were usually consisting of 4 digits such as 1001 or 2145, and so on. There is no possibility of adding a longer or shorter extension in the analog phone systems. However, with the help of a hosted phone service system, users can get a 3 or 5-digit extension dialing. They can even provide a 1 digit or 2-digit extension number to their employees as per their requirement. Big enterprises can also allow different teams and departments to have their own extensions so that colleagues working in a different team or department can easily contact each other.
As far as the working system of extensions is concerned, they work in combination with the auto-attendant feature for business phone lines. The auto-attendant feature plays an important role when a caller doesn’t know the extension number of a person or department he/she wants to reach. The auto-attendant feature allows the callers to select the department or division and accordingly it forwards the call to the correct extension.
With a virtual phone system, extensions are not limited by geographical locations. It means that businesses can have different branches of their company in different locations without having to assign another physical extension to an employee to call other employees within the company. Since the company is operating from a single phone system, their employees just have to dial the extension number in order to reach each other even if they are not physically present in the same area.
How are extensions different from virtual numbers?
It is vital to note that extensions work quite similarly to virtual numbers as they both forward calls to other endpoints. Both extensions and virtual numbers can be termed as virtual as they are not linked to a particular location or zip code. So, how are they different from each other? Well, both extensions and virtual numbers are different in the following ways:
- Extensions are often shorter numbers as compared to virtual numbers.
- A virtual number is generally associated with the IP address of a specific device including a cell phone, a desk phone, and a computer. On the other hand, an extension is not associated with a particular device or its IP address.
- When a caller makes a call using a virtual number, the call will be forwarded to the device attached to that IP address. On the other hand, extension is a part of the VoIP phone system itself.
- The charges for creating and using a virtual number are usually defined in the contract with the VoIP service provider. Extensions on the other hand are usually free. However, there may be a limit on the maximum number of extensions a company can have.
How to add users and extensions to a VoIP phone system?
It is quite simple to add a new user or extension to a VoIP phone system. You just have to log into the online dashboard and select the ‘add a new user’ option. When adding a new user or employee, you can also allot a particular extension to them. If you already have employees and user accounts but need to add an extension, you can edit the existing user and add the specific extension as per your requirement.
It is also easier to delete an extension or remove a user completely from the VoIP phone system. If an employee leaves the company or a business no longer requires some extensions, they can simply delete them.
In all, a modern phone extension system can do much more than just forwarding calls and sharing external lines. If you are still using traditional extensions, just try using the modern extension feature. You will surely like the results.