Warm vs. cold call transfers: Understanding the difference



#GoToGetsIT: This article is part of an ongoing series from GoTo’s thought leaders on the frontlines: Our Solutions Consultants deeply understand our customers’ unique challenges and connect the right solutions to meet their goals using GoTo technology. Here, they share their industry knowledge on what it takes to help businesses everywhere thrive in a remote or hybrid world.  

We all have the experience of calling a business and being transferred from one person (e.g., a receptionist) to another (e.g., a technician.) But not all call transfers are equal. When handled appropriately, they can enhance the customer experience. If not, they could negatively impact your brand image.

Let's look at what call transfers entail, the two types of call transfers, and when to use which method.

First thing first: What is a call transfer?

Call transferring is a phone feature that routes an ongoing call to another recipient or destination, such as voicemail. Users can connect and redirect an incoming call to another person or extension without disconnecting it.

How do call transfers work?

With GoTo Connect, you can transfer a call from your desk phone, softphone on a computer, or mobile app on a smartphone. The feature also works outside your company phone system, allowing employees to transfer calls to any external number.

Warm transfers vs. cold transfers

There are two types of call transfers: warm (or attended) transfers and cold (or blind) transfers.

When warm transferring a caller, you'd introduce the caller and provide the context to the person to whom you're transferring the call. On the other hand, a cold transfer involves routing a call directly to another person without introducing the caller or providing any background information. 

The decision to use a warm or cold transfer depends on the situation and the desired outcome. 

When to use a warm transfer

A warm transfer typically provides a better customer experience. The caller doesn't have to repeat themselves, and the process ensures they speak with the right team member who can help. Use this option when a caller needs assistance with a complex issue that requires expert support. 

Warm transfers are most appropriate for escalation calls, emotional situations, and conversations around sensitive subject matters. They're also helpful for building customer relationships by delivering a personalized experience, which often results in faster resolution.

Let us consider an example where a customer calls in with a product issue. The customer explains the issue to the agent, but after learning more, the agent needs to transfer their question to a specialist. With a warm transfer, the agent can give their colleague a quick briefing on what has been discussed. So, when the customer gets transferred, they are seamlessly able to pick up where the last call left off.

When to use a cold transfer

A cold transfer is appropriate when the caller requests to speak with a specific person or department. You can connect them with the right team member quickly for a streamlined experience. It's also suitable for handling urgent or time-sensitive calls.

Cold transferring a call can also be a better option if a contact center faces a surge and agents must resolve the calls within a specific period. They offer the fastest way to get customers to the right team members who can help. 

While less personal, cold transfer can sometimes be the more efficient way to handle communications. Maintain an excellent customer experience by telling the caller they're being transferred and why. Also, provide them with a call-back number in case there's an interruption or the call gets disconnected.

Let us consider an example when a cold transfer makes sense. If a customer calls in with an urgent request, or they are trying to reach a different department, you can help them quickly with a cold transfer. They immediately get routed to the person that can help them — minimizing unnecessary conversation along the way.

Improve the customer experience with the right call-transferring method

To choose the appropriate call-transferring method, consider the purpose of the call and your company's relationship with the caller. For example, a cold transfer may suffice if a call is urgent or the issue is straightforward. However, a warm transfer may yield better outcomes if the caller requires more extensive support. 

Additionally, establish guidelines on how team members should handle call transfers. Clear expectations help empower employees to make the right decisions and deliver a consistent customer experience.

Support the right process and decisions with the right technology. GoTo Connect offers warm and cold transfer features, plus 100+ advanced functionalities, to provide an all-in-one communications solution. Learn more about our hosted VoIP platform to see how we can help you deliver a top-notch customer experience.

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