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Glossary of Virtual Receptionist Terms - Conversational - Blog

Glossary of Virtual Receptionist Terms

Whether you’re using a virtual receptionist or just learning more about the industry, it’s helpful to have a glossary of common virtual receptionist terms. Most terms are pretty self-explanatory, but understanding the nuances of call transfers and call forwarding can be a bit of a challenge.

Learn more about the industry to make the most of virtual receptionist (VR) services and more fully utilize the capabilities of your VR. Check out the glossary of virtual receptionist terms below!

Glossary of Virtual Receptionist Terms

Answering Rules

Answering rules are the user’s capability to set preferences for the way calls are answered and handled on their behalf by a virtual receptionist.

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Answering Service

An answering service is a company that provides a call answering service to business clients. The term answering service is sometimes used interchangeably with virtual receptionist. Answering services are sometimes staffed by live call answering specialists, but the term can also refer to automated call answering services.

Call Completion

Call completion is the status of a call that successfully went to voicemail, was transferred, queued, or handled in any way other than direct communication.

Call Forwarding

Call forwarding is the function that allows you to send phone calls to a different telephone number or voicemail box, just like email forwarding allows you to send emails that come to one address automatically to another. When a person’s cell phone rings in sync with their office phone, that’s call forwarding in action.

Call Hold

The call hold function refers to placing a call on hold without disconnecting the call. After the hold button is pressed, the caller hears silence, hold music, or recorded promotions (depending on what you’ve set up with your virtual receptionist provider). Once you’re ready to rejoin the call, press the hold button again to return.

Call Routing

Call routing is the act of directing phone calls to a certain number or extension based on standing answering rules (see above) set by your company.

Call Patching

see Call Transfer

Call Screening

Call screening allows you to choose whether or not to accept an incoming call. A virtual receptionist answers the call, gathers pertinent information from the caller, and presents you with that information before connecting you to the call. You can choose to take the call, reject the call entirely, have the receptionist take a message, or send the caller to voicemail. While caller ID can accurately identify the phone number of the person calling, it cannot reveal their intentions or the content of their inquiry like call screening can.

Call Transfer

Also known as Call Patching. A call transfer takes place when an incoming call is redirected to another phone number or extension. Call transfers are different from call forwarding because forwarding happens automatically when an incoming call is received and transfers are manually done upon receipt and answer of an incoming call.


Forwarding is a bit different from Call Forwarding. When an incoming call is received but goes unanswered for a period of time you pre-define (say, 3 rings), it will be redirected automatically to a telephone number you specify. This feature helps users ensure no calls are missed.

Hold Music

Hold music refers to music that is played for a caller when they are placed on hold. Hold music is usually a digital music file the virtual receptionist provider sets up on your behalf to play for callers on hold. You are able to choose the hold music you’d like with certain providers. Hold music is proven to be more pleasant for callers than silence.

Local Number

A local number is a telephone number that features region-specific digits that you select. A VoIP provider will usually provide a large list of possible local phone numbers for you to choose from. A local number becomes the official phone number for your business. Local numbers are available free with any plan from Conversational.

Toll-Free Number

A toll-free number is usually available for a small additional cost (at Conversational, it’s $9.95) and begins with a toll-free prefix like 800 or 855. Vanity numbers are toll-free numbers with letters replacing numbers, i.e. 1-800-FLOWERS

Virtual Office

A virtual office does not operate from a traditional, commercial office setting. A virtual office may use a virtual receptionist to create a sense of unity and centrality for the office, which may be dispersed across a city, country, or internationally. Virtual offices may have P.O. box addresses or use the home address of the owner and usually have local or toll-free telephone numbers to appear more professional.

Virtual Receptionist

A virtual receptionist is a call answering specialist who performs the same duties an on-site receptionist would while working from a different location and on a more flexible basis. Calls, appointments, and messages are handled remotely and delivered to the recipient in the manner they prefer - by phone, email, or text message. Virtual receptionists cost around $120-$400 per month depending on the provider you select. You can try a virtual receptionist free for 30 days by signing up for our free trial.


A voicemail message can be left for a recipient who did not answer a call. Voicemail is an electronic means to send, receive, and store voice messages.

Voicemail to Email

Voicemail to Email refers to the ability to have voice messages quickly delivered to your email inbox as audio files.

Warm Transfer

A warm transfer refers to a transfer where the answering party (such as a virtual receptionist) collects pertinent information from a caller, delivers that information to the intended recipient, and if approved, transfers the caller to the recipient.

See anything missing from our glossary of virtual receptionist terms? Let us know by leaving a comment!


Publish Date: February 21, 2018

2022 Buyers Guide Recording

Premium Listing
Call Center Studio

Call Center Studio
Call Center Studio is the world’s first call center built on Google and is one of the most secure and stable systems with some of the industry’s best reporting. It is one of the most full-featured enterprise grade systems (with the most calling features, one of the best call distribution, outbound dialing features and integrations—including IVR, AI Speech Recognition, blended inbound/outbound calling and includes Google’s new Dialogflow and Speech API. Call Center Studio is the absolute easiest to use (with a 10 minute setup), and is the price performance leader with lower equipment cost and less setup time.


ASC Recording Insights and neo
ASC Recording Insights guarantees legally compliant recording and analysis of all communication channels in Microsoft Teams - including audio calls (internal and external calls), chat conversations and video meetings.

neo Recording, QM & Analytics address all enterprises with recording needs, especially contact centers. The content of communication becomes accessible and critical information and trends are revealed, providing real-time business intelligence for immediate management action.


Microsoft Teams Cloud Recording Service
Geomant offers a fully managed recording service for those organisations who need to address compliance or quality management while working on Teams. The Service utilises Verint’s market leading recording technology and is hosted by Geomant in Microsoft Azure. Our managed service approach is unique in that it allows organisations to benefit from advanced recording features, all while being free from any technical infrastructure or maintenance requirements that come with a traditional on-premises set up.

Lieber & Associates

Recording System Consulting
L&A provides vendor-independent consulting services to select, contract for, test, and implement contact center recording systems. The firm's consultants specialize in contact center I.T. and have several decades of experience each with all major and many smaller makers of phone and call recording systems.

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MiaRec's compliant, secure, and reliable Call Recording software is the foundation of our Customer & Workforce Engagement Platform.. MiaRec Call Recording seamlessly integrates with MiaRec Agent Evaluation & Scoring, Live Monitoring, Voice Analytics, Screen Capture, and Advanced Reporting to provide a comprehensive solution you can trust.


Numonix's IXCloud is one of the first fully managed compliance recording solutions for Microsoft Teams. IXCloud securely records, stores and analyzes interactions in the cloud without physical or virtual servers. As a fully managed Azure-based, Software-as-a-Service cloud interaction recording solution, IXCloud takes interaction capture into the future. It enables instant and elastic scalability to support business growth and provides the necessary tools to enhance business performance while maintaining compliance. IXCloud redefines versatility with its OpenAPI framework that enables application development. Companies and third-party developers benefit from IXCloud native capture technology, whether it be integrating with internal systems or building a third-party application.

Nuxiba Technologies

Enterprise recording management for storage, retrieval, playback, and monitoring communications throughout your contact center.

Record screen activity and calls across agent workstations, measure and monitor quality levels across all campaigns and analyze recordings to capture first-hand customer data and requirements.

Easly access all recordings and critical information to provide improved customer experience, sales, and productivity!


Oreka TR
Oreka TR total recorder includes all of the call recording capabilities you will need, at about half the cost of competing for call recorder solutions, including screen recording, mobile phone recording, live monitoring, on-demand recording, multi-tenancy, multi-site recording, audit trail, call exporting, retention management, auto-tagging (for speech analytics and phrase spotting) and so much more.

PCS Software

Call recording solution fully integrate to all main pbx solutions.

Teckinfo Solutions Pvt. Ltd.

InterDialog UCCS
InterDialog UCCS enables organizations to adhere to all compliances with its inbuilt call recording software and also has an option for screen recording. With centralized repository of all voice logs, its easy to maintain & retrieve all voice files and have a central control in case of multiple branches set up.

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