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Cold Transfer vs. Warm Transfer: 3 Minute Guide in Video Format

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Priya Naha
Senior Writer:
green tickDate: June 7, 2024

Customers and call transfers between agents are a never-ending affair. However, not all call transfers are seamless. 68% of customers get annoyed when their call is transferred between different departments.

So, it is essential to talk and learn about the cold transfer vs. warm transfer debate!

While a warm transfer involves greeting the customer, putting them on hold, and informing the other agent about the transfer, a cold transfer involves the direct transfer of a caller to another person without informing either of the parties involved.

Let’s gain an in-depth understanding of call transfers.

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Balance efficiency with customer satisfaction when choosing between cold and warm transfers. Use cold transfers for quick resolutions in urgent situations or heavy workload periods. Opt for warm transfers to personalize interactions, improve customer experience, and handle complex issues effectively. Tailor your approach based on customer needs and agent availability. 

What Is A Call Transfer?

Call transfer is the transfer of a live phone call from one agent to another. In most cases, the other agent is the appropriate person to answer the customer’s query. Call transfers are also known as call forwarding.

How Does Call Transfer Work?

With CallHippo, agents can easily reroute calls from a stationary desk phone, a telephony system, or a smartphone app. This feature also enables team transfers to assigned extension numbers. If a caller unintentionally reaches an inappropriate division, the agent can quickly transfer the call to the proper department.

Types of Call Transfers

Call transfers are of two types:

  1. Cold transfer
  2. Warm transfer

types of call transfer

What is a Cold Transfer?

A cold transfer occurs when an agent transfers a call to another team member without briefing them on the details. It is also known as a blind transfer. The process often starts through an automatic call distribution service.

Most of the time, the cold call transfer process does not begin with human interactions. Instead, the incoming calls are automatically transferred after callers interact with an IVR system or auto-attendant. Cold transfer does not always create a relevant customer experience. It requires customers to repeat information to different agents, which frustrates them.

But, there are some cases where cold transfers are the best option. Let’s take a look.

Benefits of Cold Transfer

There are multiple benefits of cold transfer. Let’s take a look at some of them.

Benefits of Cold Transfer

1. Saves Time

Cold transfers are preferred mainly by call center agents because they are quick to initiate. Virtual receptionists and agents can transfer calls to the appropriate agent with a cold transfer.

For example, if a customer calls for a query but does not get to the right person, the call center software operator can quickly cold transfer the call to an appropriate team member.

2. Facilitates Immediate Response

90% of consumers rate an immediate response as essential when they have a customer service question. Similarly, HubSpot also states that 83% of consumers rate an immediate response as crucial when they have a sales or marketing question.

Consumers are impatient and want relevant information immediately. And, it is possible through cold transfers. If a caller reaches a different department, with the cold transfer option, the agent routes calls to the correct department without delay.

3. Streamlines Heavy Workload Situations

Shearer states that cold transfer options are mainly used during the “all hands on deck” situation. It means to be in a position where every available person is needed.

When a contact center experiences a sudden call inflow, and the agents try to serve all the customers by a specific deadline, blind transfers are the most rapid way to transfer them to an agent with relevant knowledge.

4. Switches Calls To The Right Departments

As already mentioned, customers often call the wrong department to get relevant information. Blind transfers are the best option for associates and receptionist service agents facing such a situation.

Cold transferring a call to the right person helps the caller get relevant information and improves agents’ productivity.

When Should You Use Cold Transfers?

Cold transfers must be sparingly used when handling customer calls. If you suddenly cold transfer a call, it can get frustrating, and customers may feel their issue is not being taken seriously. However, there are various situations in which it becomes necessary to cold transfer a call for prompt and effective action.

Let’s look at a few instances where cold transfers can do your job.

When Should You Use Cold Transfers

1. Not Within the Scope of An Agent’s Expertise

A cold transfer is helpful when the customer’s issue is outside the scope of the agent’s expertise, and no other representative is immediately available to assist the customer.

If the caller has a technical issue with a product and the agent is not trained in technical support, a cold transfer to the technical support team can be considered the best course of action.

2. Escalation to Higher Authority

A cold transfer is helpful during an emergency when an agent needs to escalate the customer’s issue to a higher level of authority, like a manager. In such situations, the agent can explain to the customer that they are transferring the call to a higher authority who can address the issue more effectively.

3. Abusive Customer Behavior

There are cases when the customer is abusive towards an agent, and the agent feels unsafe or uncomfortable. In such situations, a cold transfer may be necessary to protect the agent. It is a delicate situation. The agents must maintain a professional demeanor and resolve the customer’s issue. But, a cold transfer is crucial if things go out of hand.

Cold Transfer Examples

Example 1

One of the best examples of cold transfers is when someone wants to shift a call from one department to another without announcing it.

Say you’re Amanda in sales, and you answer one user who is looking for assistance with an auditing issue. He doesn’t want you—he wants the finance team. And you, Amanda, in sales, want your line freed up for incoming active calls.

Once you realize where the customer wants to go, you can route the call to the correct department.

Example 2

Cold transfers are beneficial when the caller doesn’t need long, detailed discussions or is not interested in the background information or a specific person.

If an agent answers a call and the caller has a billing issue, the agent or virtual receptionist can forward calls as such straightaway to the available billing agent.

Example 3

A blind transfer is also beneficial when your team is out of the office.

You can set up an IVR to route customers’ phone calls to specific phone numbers so that their messages land in the voice mailbox or straight to an emergency number.

Now that we have a fair idea about cold transfers let us delve deeper to understand warm transfers.

What Is A Warm Transfer?

Unlike cold transfer calls, a warm transfer call occurs when the associate receiving the call is fully aware of the customer’s details. It is also known as soft transfer and attended transfer.

In the warm transfer option, the live agent transfers the call to a new agent who already knows the caller’s details. So the customer doesn’t need to repeat himself.

The new team member will be able to greet the caller by name and work toward call resolutions immediately. With warm transfer calls, customers feel appreciated and valued. While warm transferring a caller, you can give a personal greeting rather than just a “Hello!”

During warm transfer calls, you must put the customer on hold for a few seconds. Don’t let them get bored. With on-hold music, you can keep your callers happy and engaged.

Benefits of Warm Transfer

The Benefits of Warm Transfer

1. Warm Transfers Notify the Agents

In attended transfers, the agent or virtual receptionist speaks to the team member before sending the call to the new agent. The desired extension the caller asks for is informed during the active call transfer.

During the process, the caller is put on hold, and the call center operator dials the desired extension. Such attended transfers help agents learn about the caller’s issue. Transferring calls needs tactics, and warm transfer offers it!

2. Improves Customer Experience

One of the primary goals of a contact center is customer satisfaction. Warm call transfer can quickly achieve this goal. It isn’t polite when somebody presses the call transfer button and leaves the conversation without giving you the necessary details.

A warm transfer removes all such worries. It allows the client to make an active call valuable by personally greeting them. Here, team members get the time and information they need to provide quality customer service that makes the customer feel valued.

3. Streamlines Agent’s Situation

As you already know, cold transfers don’t inform the agents. But the case is different with warm transfers. If one user gets connected to the agent, he can choose whether he has the time or not to answer the call or have it sent to voicemail.

When Should You Use Warm Transfers?

A warm transfer can be a valuable asset to improve customer satisfaction. Businesses can prove they are committed to providing personalized and efficient customer service by using them in the right situations. Let’s look at a few instances where warm transfers are helpful.

1. Handle Complex Issues

When a customer has a complex issue and the agent isn’t the right person to approach, a warm transfer can help. The warm transfer lets the agent connect the customer with the right representative.

Moreover, it gives the customer the impression that you care about their problems. While warm transferring, the original representative can explain the necessary context to the new agent, which helps the customer resolve the issue quickly.

2. Accidental Calls

A warm transfer can also help when the caller accidentally contacts the wrong department. The current agent handling the call can help the customer connect with the right department via warm transfer. It is helpful as the caller doesn’t have to repeat his issues to the new agent.

3. Connect To A Specific Department

A warm transfer is also helpful when a customer requests to speak with a specific representative or department. A warm transfer ensures that the customer is connected with the right person. It helps build customer loyalty and satisfaction. It also provides a personal touch to the customer service experience and is valuable in building customer relationships.

Warm Transfer Examples

Example 1

Suppose you are in support and get a call with a particular issue. Here’s how the call center agent may go down with the warm transfer:

To the customer: ” It would be better if you could talk to Maria, who is an expert in the subject. Let me transfer you.”

To your teammate: “Hey Maria, I’ve got John on the line here, and he’s having a problem with local promotion questions. I am transferring him to you now.”

Example 2

Imagine you have a phone call while heading to an important meeting. With warm transfers, you can pick up the phone without investing much time. You can directly tell the agent that you are not available.

Here’s how the conversation might go down:

“Hi Jane, I have got Joe on the line from CallHippo. Can I transfer him to you?”

“Sorry, Joanna. I have an urgent meeting. Can you please tell him to leave a message, and I’ll get back to him this evening? Thanks.”

When the caller gets transferred to the voicemail, he’s expecting it because he agreed to go to the voicemail. He knows his call is valued.

Example 3

If you are waiting for a call, a warm transfer can also help here. Suppose an agent initiates a warm transfer to you, saying Richie is on the line.

You’re waiting to hear from Richie A., but this is Richie B.- you can decide if you want to be a part of the call or not.

A heads up: Agents can initiate cold and warm transfers via a desk phone.

From the above analysis, you’ve understood the meaning of a warm transfer. But do you know how to do a warm transfer and a cold transfer?

How to Do a Cold (Blind) Transfer?

It’s not as tough as you think! With these steps, you can efficiently do a blind transfer.

While you are on an active incoming call on a mobile or desktop app, there’s no need to hold. You can just:

  • Tap on the transfer button.
  • Select the person’s name or type the name of the person you want to route the call to!

How to Do a Warm (Attended) Transfer?

You can do a warm transfer without leaving the platform, grabbing a different device, or downloading a third-party app.

While on the call, tap the name of the teammate you want to route the call to and directly message them. You can then fill them in on your active call.

Once you have passed on the information your colleague needs, you can tap the transfer button.

Warm Transfers vs. Cold Transfers: Which Is Better?

warm transfer vs cold transfer

The choice between cold transfer and warm transfer depends on the agents and the customers’ situation:

  • A warm call won’t help if your call center software agent is out of the office. Cold forwarding is the best option in such situations.
  • Cold forwarding will be rude if your customer has a specific issue and, without informing you, route the call to another person. A warm call is a better option in such situations.

 Improve Your Call Transfers with CallHippo

With CallHippo, transferring calls has become much more manageable. You can:

  • Transfer a call to any other colleague’s voicemail or extension.
  • Stay on the line until the person you transferred the call to answers it or hangs up after transferring the call.
  • Initiate a three-way conversation.

You can arrange a demo call with our expert today to learn more about our process.


Cold and warm transfer is a standard feature of modern telecommunications. Both of them are important for improved customer experience and agent productivity. However, before using them, it is crucial to understand how cold and warm transfers work, as explained above. Also, it’s worth trying CallHippo’s call transfer feature.

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