What Is Virtual Extension & Why You Need It For Your Business

Aug 5, 2021
Harris Malik
  • A virtual extension or hunt group is a feature in a phone system that distributes calls from a single phone number to a group of numbers in a company. 
  • Using a virtual extension helps businesses to strengthen communications with their customers and clients as it helps to decipher who the call is for and who the person on the other end should be talking to.

What Is A Virtual Extension?

Omni Hotline has a multitude of features that enables businesses to simplify and amplify phone calls. Among the many features, the virtual extension or hunting line feature is one of the most used by businesses as a great way to improve communications with their customers and clients.

Omni Hotline users can use the virtual extension feature to distribute calls from a single phone number to a group of numbers in their company. Take for example, when a customer calls your business hotline, it will route the call to a group of members so they can answer the call. People in a group are called members and they’re added by a domain administrator using the phone extension. For example, if you are part of the sales team within your company, you’d be added to the sales hunt group. 

Forward School uses Omni Hotlines’ virtual extension feature for their business to power their remote office landline, allowing their team to reach out to customers with a human touch while providing a quicker turnaround time in attending customer enquiries. As Forward School is a small business, the ability to provide each employee with a dedicated extension number is crucial as each member of the team wears multiple hats. 

With the use of virtual extensions, businesses such as the case of Forward School can gather and organise all their employee’s numbers under one single, official, landline number.

This can be shared with customers, removing the need to have a dedicated person or operator to transfer calls and spend a large amount of time in maintaining multiple employee numbers. Combining Omni Hotline’s Interactive Virtual Receptionist and the Virtual Extensions, it can also help to create the appearance of a larger and/or unified organisation. 

2 Ways You Can Use Virtual Extensions

Here is an example of how you can configure your business calls on Omni Hotline. Do note that this sample is for enterprise plans that have more extensions and are meant for bigger businesses. If you are a small and medium enterprise (SME) on our Basic and Plus plans you can look at the English Dept IVR as an example.

i. Ring Simultaneously: 

When a call comes in, all the numbers in the group will ring at the same time. The members of the group can pick up the call if they are available.  

For example: When a customer presses 1 after listening to the IVR, employees within the sales department highlighted in the red box under English Dept IVR will have their phones ringing simultaneously until one of them picks it up.

ii. Ring in Order:

The virtual extension sends a call to the first phone number on the list. If this line is busy or the phone goes unanswered, the call goes to the second phone number, and so on through the extension list.

For example: When a customer presses 2 after listening to the IVR, employees within the support department highlighted in the red box under English Dept IVR will have their phones ringing in order from the first phone and if nobody picks up the first phone, it will then ring the next phone in order until the call is picked up.

If calls go unanswered, customers will be redirected to leave a voicemail. Employees can log in and out of hunt groups or turn on ‘Do Not Disturb’ mode to prevent their phones from ringing when they’re not around to answer them.  

How To Setup Your Own Virtual Extensions on Omni Hotline

Setting up your virtual extensions is easy with Omni Hotline and comes with multiple features.

i. Creating Extensions

  1. Go to https://manage.omnihotline.my/ and click on the Extensions tab, select ‘Add New’.
  2. Select either Personal or Department extension. Personal extensions are for individual users who need access to the portal and mobile app, while Department extension groups several personal extensions and mobile numbers
  3. Fill in the user’s personal details such as name, email and mobile phone number. You can also set the extension number to allocate to the user, such as Extension 201.
  4. The user will then receive an email with an invite link to set their own password for the personal extension.
  5. Once you have several Personal Extensions created and would like to create a Department Extension, repeat steps 1 and 2. This time you’ll only need to enter the Department Extension name, e-mail address, and extension number for the department (optional). 

Note: Department extensions and personal extensions are both counted as (One) 1 extension. So for customers on the Basic plan, when you create 1 personal extension & 1 department extension, you have used up your maximum extensions of two for this plan.

We only recommend department extensions for larger enterprises — as it only serves as a grouping mechanism.

ii. Configuring Extensions

  1. From Extensions tab, select View Extensions. You will see a list of extensions created, both personal and department extensions.
  2. Click on the gear icon to configure each of the extensions’ settings
  3. Call routing - You can answer calls from Omni mobile app as well as your mobile number, office, or home number. Just list them and set them to either ring in order, or simultaneously. You can also set how many seconds each of them ring before moving to the next in the list (only applicable to In Order setting). If you are configuring a department extension, you can also list down other personal extensions that should be in this ring group.
  4. Incoming calls - You can also set the behaviour for incoming calls.
    i) If you set incoming Omni calls forward to your mobile number, you can differentiate personal calls and business calls by setting “Announce answer options when receiving a call”. This way, you will be given the option to answer the call, answer with audio recording, or send the caller to voicemail.
    ii) If you require records of customers’ names, you can set “Ask incoming caller to record their name”. This is especially useful when you’re waiting for an important call from a specific client.
  5. Notifications -  By default, you will receive email notifications for when your call recording is ready, or when you receive a voicemail. You can toggle this off or on at any time on an extension level.
  6. Voicemail - Omni also supports having your own unique Voicemail announcement per extension. Similar to IVR, you can use text-to-speech, record your own announcement, or upload an audio file.

For more information on this feature or to signup, visit https://omnihotline.my/