Cookie Preference Centre

Your Privacy
Strictly Necessary Cookies
Performance Cookies
Functional Cookies
Targeting Cookies

Your Privacy

When you visit any web site, it may store or retrieve information on your browser, mostly in the form of cookies. This information might be about you, your preferences, your device or used to make the site work as you expect it to. The information does not usually identify you directly, but it can give you a more personalized web experience. You can choose not to allow some types of cookies. Click on the different category headings to find out more and change our default settings. However, you should know that blocking some types of cookies may impact your experience on the site and the services we are able to offer.

Strictly Necessary Cookies

These cookies are necessary for the website to function and cannot be switched off in our systems. They are usually only set in response to actions made by you which amount to a request for services, such as setting your privacy preferences, logging in or filling in forms. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site may not work then.

Cookies used

Performance Cookies

These cookies allow us to count visits and traffic sources, so we can measure and improve the performance of our site. They help us know which pages are the most and least popular and see how visitors move around the site. All information these cookies collect is aggregated and therefore anonymous. If you do not allow these cookies, we will not know when you have visited our site.

Cookies used

Google Analytics

Functional Cookies

These cookies allow the provision of enhance functionality and personalization, such as videos and live chats. They may be set by us or by third party providers whose services we have added to our pages. If you do not allow these cookies, then some or all of these functionalities may not function properly.

Cookies used




Targeting Cookies

These cookies are set through our site by our advertising partners. They may be used by those companies to build a profile of your interests and show you relevant ads on other sites. They work by uniquely identifying your browser and device. If you do not allow these cookies, you will not experience our targeted advertising across different websites.

Cookies used


This site uses cookies and other tracking technologies to assist with navigation and your ability to provide feedback, analyse your use of our products and services, assist with our promotional and marketing efforts, and provide content from third parties


Here are some suggested Connections for you! - Log in to start networking.

Sefanaia Silimaibau
Supervisor Quality Assurance & Trainer
Alison Turner
Digital Marketing Strategist
Sarah Brady
Customer Experience Specialist
Tracy Trew
Head of Customer Experience

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.

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

2023 Buyers Guide Translation Services

101 translations

Since 2002 101translations has been providing fast, reliable and cost-effective language translation services for a wide range of industries, including major players in the contact centre market. Our professionals have experience with the translation of materials such as training videos and interactive courses, conversation transcripts, legal documentation, websites, and much more.

We work into every language in the world, from Abkhazian to Zulu.

OpsTel Services

Platform Data Transformation
OpsTel is proud to provide our clients with a software automation service that is used to aid in the transition from one platform to another utilizing both speed and accuracy. Whether it is going from premises to premises, premises to cloud, premises to private cloud or even a hybrid deployment; OpsTel has the ability to help cut your transition time so you can focus your efforts on remaining architecture priorities.

We’ve observed conversions as high as 85% - in as little time as 30-minutes - with remaining client specific complex integrations being done by employees or professional services of your choice leveraging our Platform Data Transformation™ solution.

Features include:

(read more)

Tru29 Outsource Solutions Inc.

Back Office Solutions
Although the customer-facing type of tasks is essential to good customer experience, tasks being done in the background is as important.

Tru29 has been providing this type of outsourcing solutions to various businesses across the globe so you can be assured of a reliable and experienced workforce.

View more from Conversational

Recent Blog Posts:
Companies Known for the Worst Customer ServiceFebruary 23, 2018
Glossary of Virtual Receptionist TermsFebruary 21, 2018
Leaving a Lasting Impression with CustomersNovember 29, 2017
Why You Should Stop Answering Your Business PhoneNovember 13, 2017
Customer Service Phone Call vs Email: What’s Preferred?November 9, 2017
3 Surprising Things Virtual Assistants Can DoNovember 7, 2017

About us - in 60 seconds!

Newsletter Registration

Please check to agree to be placed on the eNewsletter mailing list.

Latest Americas Newsletter
both ids empty
session userid =
session UserTempID =
session adminlevel =
session blnTempHelpChatShow =
session cookie set = True
session page-view-total = 1
session page-view-total = 1
applicaiton blnAwardsClosed = True
session blnCompletedAwardInterestPopup = False
session blnCheckNewsletterInterestPopup =
session blnCompletedNewsletterInterestPopup =