Call Patching vs. Call Transfer

Virtual Receptionist Call Transfer

If you’ve worked with or researched phone answering services, you’ve likely come across the terms “call patching” and “call transfers.” These two services are sometimes confused for being the same thing since they are quite similar. However, there are several key differences as well. We’ll start off by explaining what call patching and call transfers are, and then outline the similarities and differences between the two:

What is call patching?

Call patching is when a live agent connects a business owner or professional with a caller who just left a message. For example, let’s imagine that a patient calls a doctor’s office. The call is answered by an operator who takes a message, which is then passed along to the doctor. If the doctor asks to be connected to the caller, this is a patch.

Back in the days before caller ID, call patching was very common. Operators managed a switchboard, and doctors were patched to patients on the line. Call transfers are more prevalent today, but patching is still common in certain industries including healthcare, legal, and real estate.

What are call transfers?

Call transfers occur when someone calls a business and asks to be transferred to a specific person, department, or extension. The virtual receptionist who answered the phone then transfers them without any further questions. It’s really that simple! Call transfers are common in a variety of industries, including education, hospitality, accounting, and much more.

Call patching and call transfers: similar, but a little different

Now that you understand exactly what call patching and calls transfers are, allow us to explain what the two have in common, as well as how they are different. Let’s start with the similarities:

  • Both connect callers with the business representative that they’re looking to speak with
  • Both protocols can be chosen by Answering Service Care clients during setup. Our live agents can take detailed messages, patch calls, transfer calls, or a combination of all of the above. With a variety of virtual receptionist and live answering service options available, we’re here to do whatever generates the most success for your business.

Now, for the differences between call patching and call transfers:

  • The main difference between call patching and call transfers is that they move in different directions. Transfers connect callers to the business representative, while patching connects the representative to the caller. Think of call patching as a reverse transfer.

  • Call transfers offer more seamless service. We like to refer to it as “one call resolution.” When someone calls your business and wants to speak to someone, they are quickly transferred. There is more back and forth in a call patch, and it takes more time.

  • Call transfers are usually cheaper than call patching. Once the business representative is connected with the caller, they are no longer charged. Since the patching process typically results in more time spent on the answering service line, it often costs more.

  • Call transfers are part of Answering Service Care’s virtual receptionist services- the highest level of service that we provide. Our virtual receptionist services cost more, but also offer the best experience possible for your callers. Call patching is part of our more general live answering services, which are easier on your budget while still offering an array of valuable features.

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