A modern, business phone solution delivers high-quality connectivity between your professionals and your customers without the inconvenience and overhead of traditional phone systems. A cloud-based solution uses voice-over-IP (VoIP) and can provide unlimited phone extensions, helping callers reach the right resources quickly and with minimal hassle.
For many business owners, asking how to add an extension to a phone number may simply never have occurred until now. Others may only think of an extension as leading to a specific desk or person and are unaware of more powerful phone extension examples.
Let’s start with the basics
Before addressing how extensions work on phone numbers, let’s tee up just what phone extensions add to your user experience.
Flexibility – Callers can reach your professionals with dial-by-name or dial-by-number ease. Recorded messages can be customized based on both caller and extension.
Scalability – When you have unlimited extensions, your imagination can run free! Get granular about marketing campaign results by assigning unique extensions to targeted audiences, making ROI analysis easy. Or add extensions that reach groups of subject matter experts based on caller needs.
Ease of use – With a drag-and-drop editor, your administrators don’t need to be coders in order to have complete and sophisticated control over each extension.
What is a phone extension?
Some things haven’t changed about the meaning of a phone extension: it’s still a short code entered by a caller after connecting with your main number. In the traditional land line world, a phone extension represented a physical destination, typically in an office. It could lead to a specific desk phone, fax machine, or computer providing an automated attendant.
With cloud-based solutions, phone extensions can be answered from anywhere, and on any device. There’s no need to lay down additional wiring or upgrade on-premise equipment to add more sophisticated links between your callers and professionals.
The difference between virtual numbers and extensions
An extension provides your callers with options and flexibility after dialing in to the main 10-digit phone number you’ve provided as your primary point of contact. Extensions let you take callers on a journey after reaching you on a number that may dominate an ad campaign, Contact form, or business card.
A virtual number is an alternative 10-digit number created to reach your business. It isn’t associated with a specific desk or location, and can be forwarded to any person or extension, with or without an attendant greeting or IVR choice. So virtual numbers and extensions can support each other, but work in slightly different ways and support different goals.
Understanding the types of extensions
These extensions come with full mix-and-match freedom: there’s no need to build an elaborate contact center map before you begin.
Direct extensions – The most basic, old-school type of extension simply takes a caller to a specific system user. The extension can be designated to ring their primary or secondary line.
Call queues – This extension puts the caller into a holding pattern, waiting to be picked up by a pool of agents based on the rules you specify behind the scenes and the agents connected and available to the pool at any given time.
Ring groups – A ring group extension rings the phones (extensions or external phone numbers) of many users at once, without a wait in a call queue.
Virtual fax – This extension invites the caller to send a document via fax. The resulting image is delivered as an email attachment to the inbox you specify.
Shared voicemail – The caller is immediately invited to leave a message, which can be picked up by a pool of multiple users. This feature can be combined with a user’s personal voicemail attached to their regular extension.
Conference bridges – Instant audio conferencing between up to 20 users. Host and/or participant PINs can be created to provide secure access control via conference bridging.
Dial plans – A dial plan extension provides the most customization and control. Using a drag-and-drop editor, you can create custom caller destinations based on incoming caller ID, user availability, additional input given to a virtual attendant, and more.
How to add an extension for a new user
If someone has recently joined your organization and needs an extension, just follow these easy steps.
- Sign in to the admin portal.
- From the Extensions Overview, select Add Extension.
- Choose the type of extension you need. Most new users will start with a direct extension, which automatically creates a voicemail box for the new user.
- Complete the form and save.
- Give the user their extension and encourage them to customize their greeting and voicemail settings!
The ongoing benefits of extensions
- Each type of extension can be created, modified, or deleted on the fly as your needs change.
- Callers can bypass attendants and greetings once they learn the extensions that matter to them.
- Better navigation and easier access to your professionals translates to better customer experience.
- As your comfort with the solution grows, dial plan editors can give your phone system an even more polished feel.
Learn more about how unlimited phone extensions can help your organization.