Advantages & Disadvantages of Call Forwarding

by Stephanie Faris ; Updated October 22, 2018
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Thanks to cellphones, you no longer have to sit in one place to take phone calls. You can move from your home to the office to your morning business meeting without missing a single call. However, if you have dedicated landlines in each of those places, you may still have to worry about missing calls, especially if you don’t have a phone system that rings to multiple lines at once. In those cases, you’ll need to use a feature known as call forwarding to send calls to your cellphone. While there are plenty of advantages to call forwarding, there are also a few disadvantages.

What Is Call Forwarding?

Call forwarding is a feature included in many phone plans today. With just the press of a button or a tap on a smartphone screen, you can send all incoming calls to a designated phone. Call forwarding remains in place until you disable it, which means you can send all of your calls to a different number for weeks if you’re working from home or traveling, for example.

At one time, call forwarding was an extra feature on basic landlines, but today, it comes standard on every phone plan. Generally, you enable call forwarding on a landline by entering 72 and then the 10-digit number of the phone to which you want to send your calls. Remain on the line until either a person or voicemail picks up at the other end. If neither of those things is possible and the forwarding phone just rings, simply hang up and perform the 72 process again. As long as you finish the second try within two minutes, call forwarding will be activated even without someone picking up on the other end. To deactivate call forwarding, you’ll enter *73.

Call Forwarding for Smartphones

There are a couple of reasons you may want to forward calls from your smartphone to a landline. It could be that you’re at home or in the office and you want to save your phone’s battery, or maybe you have a limited number of call minutes each month. You may be expecting an important call and you know reception is better on your landline phone. Whatever the reason, most smartphone operating systems have call forwarding built in.

If you’re on an Android device, open the phone app and press the three-dot menu button. Click on Settings and then Call Settings. From there, you can simply press Call Forwarding, choose your preferences and input the destination number. For iOS users, go to Settings and click on Phone and then Call Forwarding. Toggle the switch to the right and input the destination number. When you click the link to go back, you’ll see that call forwarding is turned on and your destination number is listed.

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Advantages of Call Forwarding

The biggest benefit of call forwarding is the most obvious: It allows you to be mobile. You no longer have to sit at your desk waiting for that important call. You can head out to your afternoon meeting or rush to your child’s soccer practice without missing anything. Businesses as a whole benefit from this feature since they can ensure someone is always available to take a client’s calls. If a trusted worker is on vacation, that person’s phone can be forwarded to a coworker who can handle calls in his absence.

For smaller businesses and startups, call forwarding can create the appearance of a large corporation with multiple workers. Businesses can set up a phone tree with incoming calls directed to an employee’s landline or desk phone. You may only have a few employees, but prospective and current clients won’t be aware of it. If you add remote employees and contractors, you can similarly forward calls from your on-site phone system to their own cellphones and home landlines.

Disadvantages of Call Forwarding

Unfortunately, there are a few negatives associated with call forwarding. These are worth considering before you choose to use the feature for your business. The biggest negative is that you’ll inevitably forget to disable the feature, resulting in you missing calls by having them ring somewhere else. You may also find that having your work calls forwarded to your cellphone causes a major inconvenience if, say, you’re trying to enjoy family time. You can silence your phone, but if you’re forwarding calls to avoid customers being sent to voicemail, this will defeat the purpose.

The good news is that many of today’s phone systems make it easy for you to disable call forwarding even if you aren’t in front of the forwarded phone. Even if you forget to turn off call forwarding before you leave on vacation or start a holiday weekend, you can disable it remotely. Some phone systems also allow you to set custom rules that forward your business’s lines to specific numbers during predetermined time frames.

Call Forwarding for Google Voice

One popular use of call forwarding is with free cloud-based services like Google Voice. These services issue a phone number that you can use as a dedicated line. Your Google Voice number is tied to phone numbers you designate, which makes it perfect for running a business off your personal cellphone. You won’t have to give that number out, but calls will still come to you.

One of the benefits of Google Voice is the ability to forward incoming calls to multiple phones at once. If you add a few employees as your business grows, this means you can make sure you always have someone available when a call comes in. This is also ideal if you’re providing customer service and aren’t yet ready for a full call center. If a Google Voice call rolls over to voicemail, you’ll be able to both listen to the message and read a transcript of it, which will be delivered to the email address associated with the number.

Ring Everywhere Features

Google Voice isn’t the only cloud-based system that will ring to multiple phone lines at once. One of the biggest advantages of VoIP, in fact, is a feature called “simultaneous ring.” With simultaneous ring, all incoming calls to a designated line can be set to ring in more than one place. You could, for instance, have calls to your desk phone also ring your home office phone and your smartphone. You’ll then have the option to pick up whichever of the designated phones is most convenient for you at the time the call arrives.

As with call forwarding, though, simultaneous ring can have its negatives. You may find that you forget to disable the feature and you’re getting calls after hours. Your VoIP provider should have a feature that lets you set up a schedule for incoming calls, directing them to go where they need to go.

Text Message Forwarding

Depending on the capabilities of the phones you’re using, you may also be able to forward your text messages. If you have an iPhone and a Mac computer, for instance, you can receive texts on both your phone and your computer at the same time. When you respond on either device, the message history will appear in both places. This means that if you’re in the middle of a text stream on your computer and you need to leave for lunch, you can take the conversation on the go with you.

If you have SMS on your office’s VoIP service, you may be able to forward those messages from one device to another. Alternatively, you may find that your VoIP provider offers an app through which you can communicate, whether you’re on a computer or mobile device. This will allow you to use text messaging to communicate with coworkers and clients without using your personal cellphone.

About the Author

Stephanie Faris is a novelist and business writer whose work has appeared on numerous small business blogs, including Zappos, GoDaddy, 99Designs, and the Intuit Small Business Blog. She worked for the State of Tennessee for 19 years, the latter six of which were spent as a supervisor. She has written about business for entrepreneurs and marketing firms since 2011.

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